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Tax & Legal

Tax & Legal

British university college recognized as charitable foundation


An ancient english university college may meet the requirements of a charitable foundation under German law and be exempt from corporate income tax because of its non-profit status. In its decision the Supreme Tax Court also found that the legal structure of the college is equivalent to that of a German foundation within the meaning of Sec. 80 (1) of the German Civil Code. Continue reading

Assessing care and support needs on behalf of Medical Health Service not exempt from VAT


The Supreme Tax Court held that expert reports (appraisals) on the care and support needs of patients in order to determine the extent of their entitlement to medical care on behalf of the Medical Service of the Health Insurance (‚ÄúMDK‚ÄĚ) are not exempt from VAT under national law. A tax exemption under EU law is also not possible according to an earlier ECJ judgement pertaining to the case in dispute. Continue reading

Zero financing does not reduce tax basis for VAT


The payment for a sale of goods is not reduced in case of a 0% financing which was arranged and borne by the seller and which is handled through a bank. The basis of assessment for VAT purposes (tax basis) is still the purchase price agreed with the buyer, even if the invoice states that the seller grants a discount in the amount of the interest. Continue reading

No taxation of bogus income from a Ponzi scheme in the case of tax withheld by fraudster


In a recent ruling, the Supreme Tax Court held that the deemed settlement of final withholding tax under Section 43 (5) Sentence 1, Half-Sentence 1 Income Tax Act (ITA) also applies if the tax has been withheld by the debtor (payer) of the investment income, but not declared and paid over to the tax office. As a result, investment income from a fraudulent pyramid scheme is in principle no longer to be included in the income tax base. Continue reading

Unutilised maintenance expenses deductible under Para. 82b  of the Income Tax Implementation Regulations fully deductible upon death


The Supreme Tax Court decided that where a taxpayer decides to set off major maintenance expenses over a period of several years in accordance with Para. 82b  of the Income Tax Implementation Regulations (‚ÄúEStDV‚ÄĚ) but dies before the full amount has been deducted, that part of the maintenance expenses not yet set off can be deducted as a rental income expense in the year of assessment in which the death occurred. This finding is at variance with Income Tax Guideline No. 21.1 Para. 6 Sentences 2 and 3 Income Tax Guidelines 2012 (EStR 2012) Continue reading

Determination of the addressee of a tax audit notification order


In order to determine the content of an administrative act, the declared intention of the authority must be taken into account and not the literal meaning of the relevant wording; however, a notice clearly addressed to a specific addressee is not open to interpretation in this respect. This was decided by the Supreme Tax Court in a decision published on 8 April 2021. Continue reading

Taxation of employment income of executive directors and cross-border commuters


In two cases the Supreme Tax Court answered questions raised on the calculation of the ‚Äústay away‚ÄĚ days (non-return days) of cross-border commuters when returning to their domestic residence from a third-country business trip and of the allocation of  the right of taxation of the employment income of executive directors under the German / Swiss tax treaty. Continue reading

Tax loss of value of shares following the opening of insolvency proceedings


If the shareholder’s right of membership in a domestic stock corporation (AG) lapses because the AG is dissolved, wound up and deleted from the register as a result of insolvency, the shareholder incurs a taxable loss if he does not receive his contribution back in full or in part. If such shares are deleted from the shareholder’s securities account by the custodian bank before the AG is removed from the register, the loss will be considered to arise at the time of the deletion by the custodian bank. However, a loss cannot already be assumed to have arisen at the point when a distribution of assets can no longer be objectively expected as part of the final distribution of the assets of the AG or when the listing of the shares on the stock exchange is discontinued or their listing is revoked.  This was the judgment (VIII R 20/18) of the Supreme Tax Court on November 17 2020 and published on 11 March 2021. Continue reading