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Tax Law Definition
In general terms “tax law” deals with the laws and regulations covering the collection of funds by a public body for the purpose of raising revenue. In a broader sense, customs and compulsory measures imposed by governmental authorities in the process of levying taxes can be denoted as “tax law.” In Germany taxes are imposed by the federal state (for the benefit of the federal state and the 16 individual states) and to a certain extent by the numerous municipalities within the states. In an international context German tax rates are above average, leading to an aggregate rate of around 30 percent for corporations (before taxation of dividends) and up to 48 percent for individuals.
Tax lawyers deal with all kinds of tax-related matters, mainly with transactions and other legal issues from a tax law perspective, e.g. mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructurings, or fiscal disputes with the tax authorities in front of the fiscal courts. As the German tax system has become increasingly complex due to a steady growth in practical tax structuring, triggering frequent legislative amendments on a national level, many tax lawyers have over the years specialized in certain tax areas or industry sectors. This specialization normally pays off for the tax lawyer and for the client, as tax law is a rather error-prone area of the law where even minor details or adjustments to a structure can have a significant financial effect. At the same time it is important for a good tax lawyer to develop and maintain thorough basic knowledge in the various areas of national and international tax law to ensure that possible reciprocal tax effects that any given advice might have on the client have been considered.
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