Tax consultancy

Legal ways to optimize tax declarations are often buried deeply in the jungle of German tax legislation. Our clients expect us to find a way through the jungle for them.
We therefore handle all areas of German tax law in house. For international situations, we are familiar with the provisions of international tax law, and we can call on a solid network of cooperating consultants and on our HLB International Network.

Our priorities are:

Bookkeeping and accounting

We handle all standard fields of ongoing tax consultancy, such as:

  • Full service (bookkeeping and accounting, data entry, processing, and controls)
  • Partial service (supporting documents entered into IT systems)
  • Financial accounting
  • Cost accounting
  • Facility bookkeeping
  • Wage and salary accounts
  • Business economics assessments

Supported by experienced employees and the use of proven IT systems, these services constitute a valuable business outsourcing solution for you.

Inheritance tax and gift tax

We are your knowledgeable point of contact for all matters concerning inheritance tax, gift tax, and appraisal law, always in compliance with civil law and current commercial conditions.

Donations and successions should be properly and opportunely planned and managed.

From optimizing asset structures as part of an extensive succession consulting process to preparing succession or gift tax declarations, including the required asset appraisals, our spectrum of services covers this entire area.

Non-profit organization law

The non-profit sector has grown nationally and internationally in recent years. At the same time, regulation of non-profit organizations has increased. This has compelled many charitable organizations to adjust their structures.

Among the recent changes, tax regulations governing non-profit status in particular stand out, because filing errors can jeopardize non-profit status and back-taxes endangering the organization’s existence could be demanded.

In addition, errors in the daily operation of non-profit organizations or in reporting contracts can have damaging tax-related consequences.

Our extensive experience with non-profit organizations and with the current issues relating to them, as well as founding and restructuring, allows us to provide competent and far-sighted advice.

Real estate transfer tax

In addition to the transfer of domestic property to a new legal owner, real estate transfer tax also applies in certain cases to the transfer of business divisions. The resulting tax liabilities are often underestimated. Direct and indirect property transfers are therefore always a focus of financial administration.

In-depth knowledge regarding the application of property tax laws for restructures, administrative changes in property-owning private companies, property transfers in partnerships, etc. is vital to reducing or avoiding real estate transfer taxes.

Our consultancy provides:

Design of corporate and non-corporate structures with real estate transfer taxes in mind,

Assistance with reporting requirements related to real estate transfer tax issues,

Support for determining property values as the assessment base for real estate transfer taxes,

Accompaniment in tax audit, legal assistance, and dispute proceedings.

International tax law

In this era of globalization, medium-sized businesses generally operate across country borders and private individuals have more than just one residence or asset in Germany. This means that foreign laws may also apply to them in addition to German tax law.  A lack of knowledge can often result in double-taxation of income or assets.

We have extensive expertise with international tax law and, as a member of HLB International, nearly worldwide access to qualified foreign tax experts, who know the commercial conditions in the foreign country as well as the fine points of its local tax law.

Our services in international tax law include:

Taxation of cross-border activities (in- and outbound),

International tax structuring and optimization,

Transfer prices and extensions,

Add-back taxation for corporate groups in low-tax countries,

International employee taxation,

Taxation of successions and donations with international involvement,

Taxation of individuals and organizations operating outside of Germany.

Ongoing tax consultancy

In addition to our activities in special areas, we also offer general tax consultancy services, including:

  • Preparation of all types of tax declarations (for individuals and businesses),
    • Income tax declarations,
    • Business tax declarations,
    • Value-added tax declarations,
    • Corporate tax declarations,
    • Capital gains tax reporting,
    • Declarations of separate assessments,
  • Preparation of proposals for tax-related matters,
  • Legal assistance (both in and out of court),
  • Support during external tax audits,
  • Legal constitution and tax planning consultancy,
  • Consulting for general tax issues.
Succession consulting

Legal, comprehensive, and far-sighted control of asset and company succession is a significant and highly sensitive issue, of high importance not only to businesspeople but also to wealthy private individuals. When controlling successions in accordance with inheritance laws, in addition to the desire for optimized inheritance tax and income tax amounts, business law or family considerations often also need to be addressed.

In this area, in addition to years of experience, we also have extensive expertise and can provide customized advice to our clients regarding their succession planning and personal will preparation, in consideration of all applicable legal, tax-related, and personal aspects.

In the area of succession consulting, we also handle questions related to bequests, anticipated successions, or transferring assets to trusts, for example (family trust or non-profit foundation) as an instrument of succession.

Voluntary disclosures and corrected declarations

Tax declarations may need to be corrected not just because of non-taxes foreign earnings existing in Germany. There are also other cases in which tax-related requirements can knowingly or unknowingly not be met, because an item was incorrectly valued, for example.

With respect to succession, a corrected tax declaration can be required for a deceased person if such income was not reported in his or her tax declaration or a filing requirement was not met in some other way.

For administrative changes in joint-stock companies, there can also be questions regarding how to proceed if it is learned that the previous holder of a position in the company did not fully comply with the company’s tax requirements.

In such cases, the corrected declaration must be correct, complete, and reflect the discovery of the fact in order to avoid penalties. Under the new legislation, partial voluntary disclosures are no longer sufficient to avoid penalties. We accompany you in choosing the correct correction/voluntary declaration form and also in correctly valuing your revenues.

Tax planning

For tax planning consultancy we can use our interdisciplinary special knowledge in particular, together with our wealth of ideas and far-sighted approach.

The goal of tax planning is to find an economically feasible, practicable, and tax-optimized solution for the client’s specific case, in compliance with the applicable legal requirements. We are here to do that for you!

Obviously, our tax planning consultancy also addresses international structures and issues.

Fiscal penal law

Consulting and representation with respect to fiscal penal law focus primarily on avoiding damaging fiscal penal proceedings, whether through timely correction of erroneous tax declarations or through voluntary declarations. However, it also includes representation and consulting in the event of a fiscal penal proceeding that has already begun.

When providing representation in fiscal penal proceedings, first we determine the extent to which the blame for the tax underpayment is justified overall, according to formal and material law. Lack of knowledge about an item or circumstance can absolve the taxpayer of blame for the underpaid tax. If our investigation shows that the fiscal penal proceeding was validly initiated, we work together with the client to find ways to minimize the penalty.

Tax procedural law

Tax proceeding and procedural law is different from other types of proceeding and procedural law. It should be noted that procedural law regulations can often be overridden by material tax law and so limits can be set for fiscal demands.

We advise you in this area on how to change tax rulings, verify the legality of tax rulings currently in effect, and possibly allow for discontinued application of tax reducing circumstances. We also support you professionally in all fiscal court proceedings.

Value-added tax law

Value-added tax regulations are becoming increasingly complex, generating the need to monitor legislation changes, new court decisions, additional forms and reporting requirements, and increases in liability and fines.

In billing between companies, value-added tax generally should not constitute a financial burden. However, incorrect billing formats often lead to problems, because it may not be possible to make a correction with respect to the other party.

Small disparities in the legal configuration of contractual relations can have very different value-added tax consequences. In order to eliminate financial risks and also keep the company’s administrative load as low as possible, comprehensive consulting is essential.

Our spectrum of services in this regard includes:

  • Consulting for national and international value-added tax management issues (with the involvement of our foreign colleagues in the HLB Network if necessary),
  • Development of customized value-added tax risk management concepts,
  • Education of legal, purchasing, or sales department employees,
  • Consulting and support for compliance with reporting and declaration requirements, in Germany and elsewhere,
  • Representation in ongoing value-added tax reporting, legal dispute proceedings, and for audits.
Restructuring

Restructuring of companies and corporate groups can be based on legal, tax, or operating reasons. Causes can include operating requirements, cost and tax optimization, company successions, sale preparations, liability reduction, or crisis-avoidance strategies.

Issues related to restructuring and reorganization measures in particular require the skills of an interdisciplinary team of experienced attorneys, auditors, and tax advisors. We develop solutions tailored to our clients and accompany them through all phases of reorganization, including mergers, splits, spin-offs, changes in legal status, or transfers of individual assets.

Mergers and acquisitions

Acquisitions and sales of companies, branch locations, or holdings are major steps for mid-sized companies and can involve considerable commercial risk. Full accompaniment throughout company acquisitions and sales falls within the traditional priorities of the advisors at Westprüfung-Emde.

Professional support in all commercial, legal, and tax-related aspects of such transactions is our promise. We will be at your side from the signing of a non-disclosure agreement or letter of intent through due diligence and contract preparation to execution of the sale contract and company integration.

Business tax law

Companies as well as corporate groups are subject to specific tax law provisions and requirements, depending on their legal status, structure, and activities. Business tax law therefore involves nearly all types of taxes and is complex. Optimal tax advisement for businesses requires comprehensive knowledge of tax law, business acumen, and experience.

We advise our clients on all of their companies’ tax questions. In addition to ongoing tax consultancy, this includes support in discussions with financial management and also tax optimization of the company’s structure, significant business events, and special processes relevant to the company.

Excise tax law

We have consulting and representation experience with energy tax issues, including the requirements for energy and electricity tax exemption, and we also support you in the event of problems with local excise taxes.

Transfer pricing

Our internationally active clients are especially concerned with declaring transfer prices for international supply and service traffic between connected companies.  Service relationship configurations and the establishment of transfer prices between connected companies affect the tax ratio in the company group and are of particular interest to the competent financial authorities. Transfer prices and function shifts between internationally structured companies are therefore generally at the center of tax audits in all countries involved.

The choice of suitable transfer pricing methods and the establishment of a price that adequately reflects the risks and opportunities also contribute to the tax-related configuration and risk potential. In the event of disavowal in one country, it is often difficult in particular to avoid double-taxation later in another country. The thoughtless or ill-advised shift of business functions can also lead to significant tax effects.

With years of experience in international tax law, we support you in determining transfer prices and configuring function shifts according to tax-recognized methods, and in preparing the required contracts and corresponding documentation for your transfer reporting, in compliance with the strict tax requirements.

Through our membership in HLB International and our many personal contacts, we have nearly worldwide access to skilled foreign tax experts, with whom we can verify the acceptance of your transfer prices qualified for that country.