What are the exams for income tax

Tax audit. What now?

A tax audit by the tax office worries many entrepreneurs, but also affected private individuals. Because depending on the result of the tax audit, there may be sensitive back payments. Therefore, thorough preparation for a possible or already registered one is worthwhile Tax auditto face the appointment calmly.

    1. What is the tax audit?
    2. When is there a tax audit?
    3. Signs of an upcoming tax audit
    4. What is being checked?
    5. Checklist for preparing for the tax audit
    6. Tax advice - what are the costs?

What is the tax audit?

Every company in Germany, but also the self-employed and freelancers, are obliged to provide the tax office with information about their income, their sales, their sales tax receipts and other acquisitions. The taxpayer or the company forwards the information to the tax office by means of the tax return for the various types of tax, such as income tax, sales tax or corporation tax. The taxpayers determine their taxable amounts themselves and submit them to the tax office.

The Tax audit - also known as a tax audit or field audit - is a review of the tax information provided. In this way, the tax auditor sent by the tax office determines whether companies submit their tax returns truthfully or whether there is illegal work, money laundering or tax evasion. In the course of a tax audit, the tax office checks whether the information in the tax return matches the figures from the accounting. In addition, the relevant documents are examined for their validity.

When is the tax audit likely?

Whether a company is checked or not is not decided by chance, luck or a certain cycle. Basically, three criteria are decisive for a tax audit:

Tax return credibility is in doubt

In order for a tax return to be classified as credible, the amounts stated in the tax return must be understandable and explainable.


If the income and expenses stated in the tax return deviate significantly from the amounts from previous financial years, then these deviations should be well explained. For this purpose, an enclosed justification can be submitted together with the tax return.

The overall impression is negative

The overall impression of the tax return should convince the clerk in the tax office that the company's bookkeeping is thorough and orderly. If the related documents are neatly sorted and clearly presented, then the clerk can assume that the regulations of proper bookkeeping in the company concerned are being adhered to. This supports the assumption that all figures are correct and that verification is not necessary.

Reasons for a tax audit - when is there a tax audit?

Companies are more likely to be audited if the following criteria are met:

Asset growth without corresponding sales

The business assets cannot normally increase without the corresponding sales. If it happens, for example, that money is invested in the company's assets that cannot be derived directly from the sales, then the tax office becomes suspicious.

Sales too low

But even in the opposite case, when the income cannot cover the normal cost of living, the tax office is puzzled. Checks can also be carried out here.

Fluctuating sales

If the sales of a company are subject to very large fluctuations for no apparent reason, this can also lead to the tax office checking the figures in the accounting.

Signs of an upcoming tax audit

One sign, one Tax audit suggests for a company in the next three years is the note "The decision is provisional according to ยง 164 AO" on the tax assessment. With the reservation, the tax office keeps the final recognition of the tax return and the validity of the associated tax assessment open. The note is a clear indication of an upcoming test.

Extension of the deadline for an announced tax audit

If a tax audit has been announced, you can obtain an extension of the deadline through your tax advisor. For this, the tax advisor submits an application to the responsible tax office. Of course, the request is not always granted.

Where should the tax audit take place?

Normally, the tax office carries out a tax audit in the company to be audited, but it may also make sense for the audit to take place in the offices of the tax advisor. In this case, the tax audit causes costs that you should calculate in advance. Because the tax advisor will have to be available for the tax auditor during the audit and will not provide his office free of charge. However, it also has some advantages. You do not have any lost work because your office is not occupied for the tax audit. In addition, you don't have to worry about one of your employees unwittingly revealing information to the tax auditor that he should have kept to himself.

Help, the tax auditor is coming - unannounced tax audits

Unfortunately, there are always unannounced tax audits. These are carried out if, for example, there is an acute suspicion of tax evasion or other tax offenses. In the event of an unannounced tax audit, a check is carried out to determine whether the invoices were submitted correctly and completely. If input tax has been claimed for fixed and current assets, the tax auditor will also check whether these assets really exist.

In any case, please call your tax advisor if a tax auditor rings the doorbell without prior notice and wants to see your documents. In particular, avoid engaging in private conversations with the tax auditor, as many auditors are specifically looking for clues. Perhaps you mention to your examiner that you often visit your family privately in Berlin. If tickets to Berlin that you have settled through the company then appear during the tax audit, it will be difficult for the auditor to believe that you were really in Berlin for business reasons.

Tax audit - what is audited?

As a rule, the tax office checks the information on tax returns from income tax, sales tax and corporation tax. When a tax audit is announced, the tax office informs the entrepreneur which types of tax it will investigate. Since tax audits are based on an occasion, the tax office will examine the relevant documents. In addition to many others, these primarily include:

Invoices and receipts

During the audit, the tax office will check the correctness of the bookkeeping. The core of accounting are the receipts that document income and expenses. In addition to the account documents and the cash book, this includes incoming and outgoing invoices. The receipts not only have to be available in full, but also created in accordance with the requirements of the GoB so that their legality is recognized by the tax office.

Cash register system and cash bookkeeping

The tax office pays particular attention to companies that have a cash desk. The Tax auditor will therefore examine the cash register system carefully and check the cash book.


The logbook must be kept completely and, above all, immediately after the journeys. If receipts are possible, they must also be available, such as a trip to the gas station. Only minor errors in the logbook can lead to the entire logbook not being recognized. The unfavorable 1% method must then be used instead of the costs actually incurred for business trips.

Small amount invoices

Small amount invoices may only be issued up to an amount of 250 euros (from 1.1.2018 and retrospectively for services from 1.1.2017). If the invoice amount is only a few cents higher, the invoice will not be recognized.

Investment deduction

If companies create a reserve for an investment deduction, the tax office will monitor this closely. This is because the investment deduction only applies to movable assets that are used at least 90% for operational purposes.

Employment contracts and pay slips

Employment contracts with relatives quickly lead the tax office to suspect abuse. But mini-job employment relationships are also checked to determine whether the employee has multiple employment relationships.

Tips for the tax audit

With a view to a review by the tax office, every accounting department should create its documents clean, tidy and complete and store them in a clear and comprehensible folder system. At the latest before an announced tax audit, you should subject your accounting documents to a careful review. These must be available in full and properly recorded. Compliance with the requirements of the principles of proper accounting is particularly important so that the tax auditor understands the relationships and facts straight away. This means that there are as few further questions as possible and the exam can be carried out and completed quickly.

Checklist for preparing for the tax audit

When checking the receipts in the accounting department, it is particularly important to ensure that the outgoing invoices are properly issued and that they meet all invoicing requirements. Supplier invoices must also be checked accordingly. All normal invoices and receipts must show VAT separately and indicate the type of tax applied. In addition, you should check the following items in the accounting:

Tax advice when - and what are the costs?

The tax advisor is skilled in the practical application of tax laws. The central service of the tax advisor lies in the preparation of tax returns in the various tax types. The tax advisor also offers solid support in keeping the bookkeeping. Companies that make use of the services of a tax advisor not only enjoy greater security that their tax return will be prepared in a legally secure manner. The tax advisor can also give helpful tips on how the company can save taxes. Because he not only knows the numerous tax laws, but also their loopholes, which invite legal tax savings. A tax advisor is therefore recommended for all companies that have a complex company structure and that generate high sales and correspondingly lead to high tax payments.

That costs a tax advisor

The costs for tax advisors are set out in the remuneration ordinance for tax advisors. For each service, a table in the Remuneration Ordinance contains the corresponding basic fee and an interval for a factor to be used. For his cost calculation, the tax advisor sets the factor individually and usually in the middle of the specified range.

Calculation example

For the income tax return, for example, the mean factor is 0.35. The basic fee for income of 30,000 euros is 796 euros in Table A of the regulation. The actual fee for the tax advisor is calculated using the formula: Basic fee x factor = costs for the tax advisor. Accordingly, the tax advisory costs for an income tax return with income of 30,000 euros are an average of 278.60 euros.