Appeals in Taxation Matters

Paying taxes is something everyone "hates" but paying too much taxes is something even more worse. This page will give you some hints on what to do when you believe the assessment is wrong.


My tax office seems to be a bit whacky! They gave me a totally wrong tax assessment. Can I appeal a tax assessment?

Yes. This must be done in writing and at least generally point out the reasons. Quickly consult your tax consulting professional. If you want to take the first step yourself, write a sentence like: “Hiermit lege ich Einspruch ein gegen den Bescheid vom [date]. Die Begründung des Widerspruchs bleibt einem gesonderten Schreiben vorbehalten, das ein von mir beauftragter Rechts­an­walt / Stuerberater einreichen wird. (I hereby object the decision of [date]. The reasons for this objection will be put forward by an attorney / tax consultant I will hire.)”. It is usually wise to hire an attorney to fight for your rights and interests against an administrative office.

You know this sound so nice about appealing a tax return. Since I'm not a German or European, I guess this will torpedeo my visa. Is this true?

No! Appealing your tax assessment will absolutely not touch your residential status because it is your right to believe that the fiscal administration erred. Whenever you exercise a right you are entitled to then you have no reason to be anxious. As Irina Zlotina, of, correctly describes during an interview of BAMIK's International Forum on Expat Tax 2012: "To appeal a tax assessment is no revolution!"

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How much time do I have to appeal for a correct assessment?

You have one month time to appeal the tax office’s decision (§355 AO) starting after receipt.

Gee, I got sick during the appellation period. Can I get some kind of grace?

Yes, there is a slim chance to receive such grace. Technically it is called, “Wiedereinsetzung in den vorherigen Stand (restitution into the previous status)”. This is provided in §110 AO. You will be entitled to such reinstatement when you were without fault hindered from keeping the objecction period. N.B. Do not treat it lightly! Come up with some kind of convincing proof like a physician’s letter. Sorry, but “wishful thinking” will not help at all. This argument ought to come from a professional!

After recovering, how much time do I have to apply for grace?

You have one month time after the reason for your hindrance ceases to contest the authority’s decision. When claiming grace, you have to show and prove that you were unable to punctually contest the tax assessment (§110 II AO). If you have been prevented for more than one year, then also you will forfeit this right (§110 III AO)!

Additional information