Tax audit in companies: audit process step by step


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Many are trembling before a tax audit, but very few people know exactly how it works. Therefore, the process is explained step by step. Important with all this: Even tax auditors are only human.

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Reinhard Schinkel 58Is Reinhard Schinkel according to Handelsblatt one of Germany's best tax advisors and specialist author for tax law.

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Procedure of the control test Operation test step by step

The sequence of tests is as follows:

  • As a rule telephone voting
  • Examination arrangement with request of the electronic data
  • Send the data to CD
  • Start of examination (on check-out, the examiner will identify)
  • opening meeting
  • Actual examination by priority / investigation principle
  • final phase
  • closing meeting
  • audit report
  • Possible comments on the audit findings
  • Adoption of the amended tax assessments
  • Possible appeal
  • If the appeal is rejected, action before the Finanzgericht is possible (observe the legal period)

If no objection or complaint is made or the suspension of the execution is not granted, the additional taxes and ancillary benefits (interest) shall be paid after expiry of the legal period.

What Company are checked?

The companies to be tested, for which an operating test is possible, are classified into the size classes. These are:

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  • large companies
  • medium-sized enterprises
  • Small businesses and
  • micro-enterprises

The deadline, the relevant tax period and the characteristics for this classification are determined by the highest financial authorities of the Länder in consultation with the Federal Ministry of Finance.

How often is testing?

Statistically, depending on the operating mode, it is checked at certain intervals:

  • Large enterprises complete
  • Medium-sized enterprises all 10 years
  • Small businesses all 15 years
  • Micro-enterprises all 20 years

But even if the time is statistically close, it does not necessarily mean that a test takes place. At the same time, however, no company can be protected against a stubborn random selection!

Examiners are only human

The examiners are also human. The human aspect should never be overlooked in an exam.

So even if the carotid artery swells with fear or excitement, stay friendly, do not push the examiner off to the last basement dungeon and communicate at eye level!

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Only no side-effects

The copying should be done by your own staff. In this way, you can keep track of which relevant documents the examiner has already received and which key areas of focus could be identified.

Do not open any side warriors! If, for example, the auditor requests documents that are not considered to be relevant to tax law, they prefer to issue these documents as right and lead an emotional duel.

And besides, even examining these documents takes time. Time to be saved at another examination point by the examiner.

Delay money - pressure from the tax authorities

The delay money becomes an increasingly popular means of financial pressure by the financial authorities. The delays may be set if the taxpayer fails to present documents requested within a reasonable period, does not require information or does not provide the data access. The delay money can be between 2.500 and 250.000 €.

Once established and final, it has to be paid, regardless of whether the requested documents / information lead to a subsequent tax payment or afterwards the desired information has been provided.

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Preventive measures against the determination of the delay fee

One possibility, for example, is to request an exact description of the requested documents / information, if necessary to request an extension of the deadline and to raise justified objections against set deadlines.


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