Tax court proceedings; filing of an action with the tax court

In the case of disputes before the fiscal courts, the fiscal courts may be seised in the first instance.

Description

Citizens can bring actions before the tax courts against measures taken by the tax authorities in tax and customs matters. The statement of claim must identify the plaintiff, the defendant (e.g. the tax office), the subject matter of the claim, the tax office decision that is being challenged and the objection decision. The plaintiff must make it clear what decision he expects from the tax court. The statement of claim must be signed by the plaintiff's own hand. If the action is filed electronically, the corresponding document/file should be provided with a qualified electronic signature of the person responsible so that the written form (cf. section 126a of the German Civil Code) is preserved.

The court examines whether the plaintiff has fulfilled all formalities and whether his claim is justified. The court is not bound by what is submitted by the plaintiff or the tax office. Rather, it investigates all the facts of its own motion. The parties are granted the right to be heard. The plaintiff and the defendant tax office are given the opportunity to comment on all points that are to form the basis of the court's decision. If the plaintiff has complied with all formalities and the claim is justified, the court grants the claim.

Before the tax court, anyone can represent their case themselves. However, a lawyer, a tax advisor or an auditor may also be engaged.

Due to the two-tier court structure of the German fiscal jurisdiction, the only permissible legal remedy against the judgements of the fiscal court is an appeal to the Federal Fiscal Court.

Prerequisites

Before a lawsuit can be filed with the tax court, an objection must first be filed with the respective tax office against the served notice. Only after the objection has been rejected by the tax office can an action be filed.

Fees

  • The advance on costs

    The proceedings before the tax court are subject to a fee.

    The procedural fee becomes due when the action is filed - but not in the case of applications for interim relief. You will receive an invoice for costs shortly after the action has been filed. If the amount in dispute does not result directly from the statement of claim and its annexes or if the amount in dispute would fall below the minimum amount of € 1,500, this minimum amount in dispute will be taken as a basis. If the minimum amount in dispute is accepted, court fees of € 312 are to be paid provisionally.

    When the proceedings are concluded, the amount in dispute will be calculated by the clerk and a final bill of costs will be drawn up, taking into account the advance paid.

    It should be noted, however, that the minimum amount in dispute cannot be less than €1,500 (exceptions: Applications for provisional legal protection and actions in child benefit matters).

    The amount in dispute

    The amount of the court fees (and those of a legal representative) depends on the amount in dispute. This is usually the amount in dispute. If, for example, the lawsuit is about the recognition of income-related expenses in the amount of € 2,000, the individual income tax rate of the plaintiff is relevant. For an unmarried person with a taxable income of €40,000 in 2020, these additional income-related expenses mean a tax saving of over €700.

    The procedural fee

    The procedural fee at the tax court for the legal action is 4.0 times the rate of a simple value fee pursuant to Section 34 of the Court Costs Act. For proceedings of the provisional legal protection, in particular if the execution of a notice is to be prevented for the time being, the 2.0-fold rate of the simple value fee is to be charged.

    If the proceedings are not terminated by a judgment, but if the action or the application is withdrawn in due time, the procedural fee is reduced to 2.0 times (action proceedings) or 0.75 times (proceedings for provisional legal protection). However, this is only possible until the end of an oral hearing or, if no such hearing takes place, before the written judgment or the court order is handed over to the court registry. This also applies if the parties have reached an agreement during the proceedings and declare the main action to be settled.

    Expenses of the parties

    You can be reimbursed for your expenses incurred in pursuing the legal action if the court has so decided. If you win the case and the tax authority is ordered to bear the costs of the proceedings, you can claim reimbursement of these expenses, including the costs of an authorised representative in accordance with the Fees Ordinance. If a tax advisor or lawyer was also required for the preliminary proceedings, these costs are also reimbursable in accordance with the Fees Ordinance upon your application and the corresponding order of the court.

    However, the tax authority will not be reimbursed for its expenses - even if it wins.

    Legal aid

    If you are not in a position to bear the costs of proceedings, you can apply for legal aid. The tax court will grant this if the action has sufficient prospects of success and your income and assets do not exceed the statutory limits. In order to assess this, it is necessary for you to substantiate your claim and disclose your financial circumstances. You may also be allowed to pay the court costs in instalments.

Status: 23.09.2021

Responsible for editing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium der Finanzen und für Heimat

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