Dispute resolution

Germany Dispute Resolution Country Profile

 

 

last update 7 July 2011

 

Competent Authority For all MAPs concerning specific taxpayers and for all APAs:

Bundeszentralamt für Steuern / Federal Central Tax Office
Referat St III 1 / Division St III 1
An der Küppe 2
53225 Bonn
Germany

Tel.: +49-228-406 -2835
Fax.: +49-228-406 – 18 - 2835
EMail: Stephan.Schmitz@bzst.bund.de (please cc to vv_sv@bzst.bund.de)

With respect to mutual agreements of a general nature which concern or may concern a category of taxpayers, the Federal Ministry of Finance in Berlin is the Competent Authority. The Federal Central Tax Office (see above) can provide information on who to contact.

Organization 

Federal Central Tax Office (Division St III 1) is Competent Authority for all MAPs concerning specific taxpayers and for all APAs. The Federal Central Tax Office’s separate Federal Audit Department provides support for the auditing of large taxpayers.

Relationship with State (“Länder”) tax authorities: Due to domestic competence of State tax authorities for tax assessments, the German CA liaises closely with local tax authorities during MAP and APA. 

Scope of MAP & MAP APA 

Depending on specific tax convention. Generally, to resolve the situation of taxpayers subjected to taxation not in accordance with the relevant convention. This covers, in particular, relief of double taxation (including economic double taxation in transfer pricing cases) and issues of interpretation of tax treaties (where limited to specific cases).

Mutual agreements of a general nature which concern or may concern a category of taxpayers are possible but can only be concluded by the Federal Ministry of Finance (see “Competent Authority”, above). 

Domestic guidelines & administrative arrangements 

Federal Ministry of Finance circular of 13 July 2006 on international mutual agreement and arbitration procedures

Federal Ministry of Finance circular of 5 October 2006 on APA procedures

Section 175a of the Abgabenordnung (General Fiscal Code) allows the amendment of otherwise final tax assessments in order to implement MAP results. 

Time for filing

Many tax conventions contain specific time limits for submission of MAP applications (often 2 or 3 years). If the applicable tax convention does not specify a time limit for applications, the German Competent Authority will not initiate or consent to MAP if more than 4 years have expired between notification of the tax measure in question and the application, and no particular circumstances have precluded earlier application. 

Form of request 

In writing, either to local tax office or to the Competent Authority.

Documentation requirement

For MAPs: See paragraph 2.3.3 of the Federal Ministry of Finance circular of 13 July 2006 referenced above. Documentation required includes, in particular, detailed information on the facts and circumstances relevant to the case; copies of the relevant tax assessment notices and, where applicable, tax audit or investigation reports; information on any legal remedies pursued in either country.

For APAs: See paragraph 3.5 of the Federal Ministry of Finance circular of 5 October 2006 referenced above. Generally, very detailed and comprehensive documentation will be required for an APA procedure, including proposals with respect to critical assumptions. 

User fees

For MAPs: None.

For APAs: Section 178a of the Abgabenordnung (General Fiscal Code) prescribes fees that vary according to size of transactions covered and nature of request (initial APA procedure, renewal or change), fee for initial procedure is EUR 10000 or EUR 20000 depending on size of transactions covered.

Tax collection / penalty / interest

- Collection of assessed tax may be postponed until termination of a mutual agreement procedure or a legal remedy.

- Interests are charged only during suspension of tax collection and may be part and parcel of the MAP agreement settling the case. 

Other dispute resolution mechanisms

EU Arbitration Convention for transfer pricing cases within the European Union.

Specific arbitration mechanisms in some tax treaties. 

Government Website

www.bzst.de (for information on MAPs and APAs, choose first "Steuern International" and then "Verständigungs-/Schiedsverfahren” or "Advance Pricing Agreements" in menu on left side) 

 

 

 

 

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