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Tax & Legal

Tax & Legal

Supermarket discount model “Membership” is subject to the standard tax rate VAT


In its judgment of 18 December 2019 (XI R 21/18) published on 22 May 2020, the Supreme Tax Court ruled that the granting of a right to purchase goods at a reduced price (in the form of a “membership”) constitutes an independent service for VAT purposes and not just a service ancillary to the subsequent sale of goods. Even if the supermarket sells goods that are subject to both the standard tax rate (19%) and the reduced tax rate (7%), the standard tax rate is to be applied to the membership fee. Continue reading

Government releases draft Corona – Tax Assistance Bill


At its meeting on 6 May 2020, the Federal Cabinet adopted the Corona Tax Assistance Bill, which – with the exception of editorial changes – essentially corresponds to the Federal Ministry of Finance’s original formulation. The only change worth noting here is an addition to the explanatory memorandum on the tax exemption on subventions by employers to reduced hours compensation payments and seasonal reduced hours compensation payments vis-à-vis corrections to salary withholding tax deducted prior to the Act taking effect. Continue reading

COVID 19: Summary of measures introduced to combat the effects of the coronavirus (COVID 19/SARS-CoV-2)


This article is intended to provide an overview of the current measures taken in connection with the spread of the coronavirus, particularly in tax law.

A: Material on tax measures in Germany;

B: Measures in other areas in Germany;

C: Measures at European level.

D: Measures worldwide Continue reading

Joint ministerial notice released introducing support measures against the impact of the Corona Virus


The Federal Ministry of Finance has agreed with the Federal Ministry of Economics (“the Ministries”) on a far-reaching bundle of measures to protect jobs and safeguard companies of all sizes and in all sectors. These measures include tax liquidity support for companies. The measures were set out in a notice released on 13 March 2020. Continue reading

Deductibility of double-household expenses incurred in advance


Expenses for an apartment are only deductible as double-household expenses incurred in advance if the taxpayer has made a conclusive decision to use the apartment in the future as part of a double-household deductible for tax purposes. Whether this is the case must be decided through an overall assessment of the objective circumstances of the individual case. Continue reading

Tax exemption for group restructurings under Section 6a Real Estate Transfer Act: Supreme Tax Court applies a broad interpretation.


The tax exemption from real estate transfer tax (RETT) in the event of restructuring within a group under Section 6a of the Real Estate Transfer Tax Act (RETTA) does not constitute State Aid prohibited by EU law. It can also apply to cases where a dependent company is merged with a controlling company. This was decided by the Supreme Tax Court in its ruling of 22 August 2019 – II R 18/19, published on 13 February 2020.  Continue reading

Supreme Tax Court discontinues proceedings with regard to the referral to the European Court of Justice on the State Aid character of tax privilege for public undertakings


The Supreme Tax Court had asked (decision of 13.03.2019 – I R 18/19) the European Court of Justice (ECJ) whether Article 107(1) Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) was to be interpreted as meaning that State Aid existed where, under the rules of a Member State, (permanent) losses – incurred by a company from an economic activity maintained without receiving sufficient remuneration to cover its costs – are in principle to be regarded as hidden dividend distributions and accordingly may not reduce the profit of the company, but, in the case of companies in which the majority of voting rights are held directly or indirectly by legal persons governed by public law, those legal consequences are not to be applied to permanent losses arising if such “public” corporations carry on the activities for reasons of transport, environmental, social, cultural, educational or health policy. Continue reading