Peter Scheller
Berater für Wirtschaftsprüfer, Rechtsanwälte, Steuer- und Unternehmensberater

„Wenn es knifflig wird.“


Kategorie Doing business in Germany

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From 1 January 2021 foreign employers are obliged to appoint an Authorised Representative when they employ staff who will be liable to German social security contributions. This obligation is applicable for employers who do not have a registered office in Germany.

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There are several important reporting obligations in Germany. Most of them have to be observed by both German citizens and expatriates who relocate to Germany. The obligations apply especially to persons who are shareholders of companies, or members of partnerships who have set up a business activity in Germany. Persons in this respect are considered as both individuals as well as corporations.

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Foreign business entities sometimes have to pay German Value Added Tax (VAT) even though they are not tax resident in Germany. This may be VAT on deliveries and services received in Germany which are shown on invoices of German suppliers or service providers or import-VAT. Because the regular VAT-rate of 19% is quite severe it is of importance to know how a foreign business entity can reclaim German VAT that has been paid.


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Self-employed people as well as employees may work some of the time or permanently from home. This raises the question of whether and when expenses for a home office are tax deductible in Germany and if so, what kind of expenses are valid.

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Germany is one of the biggest consumer markets in the world. Therefore it is of interest for foreign companies who want to sell products or services on the German market. Besides this German business entities are often a target of foreign business investors. In any case foreign companies and investors have to observe German tax regulations in order to avoid unnecessary risks.

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Starting a business in Germany requires various registration procedures. The same applies for fundamental changes in the entity’s legal structure or the liquidation of the entity or the termination of business activities.

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Germany has a few legal specifics which needs be taken into consideration by foreign investors and businesses who want to invest or start business activities in Germany. This article lines out only very basic principles which can be surprising for foreign investors and businesses.

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Germany is one of the biggest importing economies in the world. Producers and sellers from states such China, the USA and others often agree with their German customers the Incoterm DDP. This seems beneficial for German importers because they receive goods “on their doorstep”. All costs of transport, insurance and customs declarations have to be paid by the supplier. However, there are situations where this obvious benefit turns into a sour pill for German importers when they receive an unexpected tax bill from their local German tax office.

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Germany’s tax avoidance regulations

Germany’s tax avoidance regulations are far reaching and cover a lot of different situations. There are certain measures which are treated as a tax avoidance scheme although involved companies or individuals do not realise that their business activities may be …

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LLC – Limited Liability Company and German taxation

There are good reasons to form a LLC in the USA. It combines preferable characteristics such as a far-reaching legal flexibility of the corporate structure with a limited liability of its shareholders. Beside this the shareholders can choose whether the …

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Freelancer and the „false“ self-employed phenomenon

Some service industries employ freelancers rather than employees in order to carry out certain jobs. To work as a freelancer can be beneficial both for the freelancer and his/her customer. However, if the freelancer’s position is similar to the one of …

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Umzugskosten bei Arbeitnehmerentsendung nicht leichtfertig verschenken

Die Autoren Peter Scheller und Michael Dauer haben in der Zeitschrift Praxis Internationale Steuerberatung (PIStB 11/2017, S. 304) einen Artikel um Thema Umzugskosten bei Arbeitnehmerentsendung nicht leichtfertig verschenken – Teil 1: Werbungskosten veröffentlicht. Der 2. Teil zu den Bereichen Umsatzsteuer und …

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Termin: Umsatzsteuervergütung / VAT refund

Frist / Deadline Unternehmen, die sich die Umsatzsteuer eines anderen EU-Mitgliedstaates des Jahres 2016 vergüten lassen wollen, müssen dies bis zum 30. September 2017 tun! Business entities have to apply for a refund of VAT of another EU-member state 2016 by September …

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German social security rates 2017

In general expatriates moving to Germany are interested in their tax situation. For people with high income this is understandable. However, foreign employees and their employers should not ignore social security obligations in Germany. There are certain issues to be …

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German Taxation: Tax incentives to build new apartments

On 4 February 2016 Germany’s Federal Cabinet approved a draft bill on tax incentives for new apartments. The apartments must be rented out for residential purposes for at least 10 years. The residential buildings must be constructed between 1 Januar 2016 and 31 December …

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Keeping and storing accounting documents abroad
In 2009 Germany introduced the legal framework which allows German business entities to install its electronic bookkeeping abroad. This allows German companies and German subsidiaries of foreign business entities to outsource IT infrastructure, accounting and payroll processes abroad. Foreign service …

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German Business Tax

Germany imposes certain taxes on profits of domestic and foreign corporations with a tax representation in Germany. There are federal taxes such as corporation income tax (tax rate: 15%) and solidarity surplus charge (tax rate: 5,5% on corporation income tax …

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Assignment and social security

Employed individuals who work in Germany are subject to Germany’s social security systems. Self-employed persons are in general not liable to German social security contributions. There are certain exceptions from this general rule. The most important exception is the assignment of an employee. The …

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German social security for expatriates

In general expatriates moving to Germany are interested in their tax situation. For people with high income this is understandable. However, foreign employees and their employers should not ignore social security obligations in Germany. There are certain issues to be …

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Salary payments by third parties

Sometimes employees receive wage payments by third parties. This happens within company groups or through benefits granted by business partners.        This occurs, for example, in the following cases: discounts granted by business partners (for example: discounts on …

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Deductible relocation expenses in Germany

Employees can deduct relocation expenses from their taxable income if these costs are job or work-related. Alternatively, the employer may reimburse those expenses free of tax. If the employer does not reimburse all relocation expenses, the employee is entitled to …