Tax advisor

As a tax advisor ( StB ) of the members of a liberal profession is called, which advises on tax and business issues. The authorization to practice the profession is bound in Germany and Austria to certain conditions.

  • 2.1 Activities of Tax Advisors
  • 2.2 Responsibility of the tax consultant
  • 2.3 attainment of professional competence 2.3.1 Full capacity
  • 2.3.2 Special trustworthiness
  • 2.3.3 Parent economic conditions
  • 2.3.4 pecuniary damage liability insurance
  • 2.3.5 Occupation seat
  • 2.3.6 training and practical subject-specific activity
  • 2.3.7 exam


The profession of tax advisers exerted freelance and therefore not subject to the provisions of the Commercial Code. In Germany the action and approval are clearly laid down in the Tax Consultancy Act and its implementing. Many consulting activities belong to the subject and tasks must be performed only by licensed tax consultants and a few other professionals. The professional body of accountants in Germany are the Chambers of Tax Consultants who join together under the umbrella of the Federal Chamber of Tax Consultants.

Field of activity

Tax professionals have the task of assistance in tax matters, representation in the fiscal court processes and to provide advice on business issues. The activity can be exercised independently or as an employee.

The duties of a tax consultant consist mainly in the anticipatory guidance for optimal control design, the creation of accounting, financial statements and tax declarations and the subsequent review of tax assessments and representation of clients in disputes with the IRS and before the Tax Court.

In detail the following tasks for a tax advisor are provided:

  • Accounting services for commercial clients
  • Management of records for freelance clients
  • Preparation of payroll and payroll for employers
  • Preparation of financial statements for reporting entity clients
  • Creation of the net income method for non- reporting entity clients
  • Preparation of tax returns in the corporate and private sectors
  • Representation before tax authorities, tax courts and in criminal tax matters and in administrative fines because of a tax offense
  • Advice in connection with tax Planning
  • Entrepreneurial and business management issues
  • Of corporate accounting and internal control system
  • Business start-up issues and remediation cases
  • Asset management and planning
  • Rating, assistance with bank negotiations

It is not permissible legal advice on other areas of law (conditional task of lawyers ) and the auditing of annual and consolidated financial statements (conditional task of the auditors).

The fees for the tax after the tax adviser remuneration Regulation ( StBVV; until 2012: Tax Consultant Fees Regulation) settled. Basis is usually the value of the item or the time factor. The tax advisor liable for the accuracy of tax in relation to the client and must for this purpose take out professional indemnity insurance.

The tax adviser must describe the activities not fully exert themselves, but the help of trained personnel ( tax consultant ) can operate. Condition is that the employee exclusively bound by instructions to operate under the technical supervision and responsibility of the professional tax adviser.

Conditions for the practice of the profession

The profession of tax consultant may exercise only those who are appointed by the appropriate Chamber of Tax Consultants as a tax consultant. Orders can be placed, who within the meaning of the Steuerberaterprüfung § 37 Tax Consultancy Act ( StBerG) has passed or been exempted from this test. For the order - in addition to passing the exam - the personal qualifications of the applicant ( eg minor economic conditions, no criminal conviction ) and a cover letter to a professional liability insurance proof. If the profession is exercised as an employee, the recording must be demonstrated in the liability insurance of the employer. The order is by giving them a certificate. For business-like assistance in tax matters in accordance. § 3 StBerG but also lawyers and accountants authorized to be without tax advisor must simultaneously.

Admission to Steuerberaterprüfung

Admission to Steuerberaterprüfung can generally be done in two ways:

The academic path a ( technical) education ( § 36 para 1 StBerG): Prerequisite is the successful completion of an economics or jurisprudential university studies. Subsequently, a practical activity must be presented in the field of tax law. The duration of this activity is dependent on the normal period of university degree. For at least four years ( eight semesters ) are two years are necessary in less than four years ( eight semesters ) must follow the study three years of practical work. It should be noted that a distinction between university and technical school is no longer made. It is solely the normal period of the course crucial. Courses at the vocational academy have a normal period of less than eight semesters. However, they are considered to study according to StBerG. The practical training after completion of studies is due to the short training period of at least three years.

The professional practical way through a commercial training ( § 36 para 2 StBerG ): After completing a business training and ten years of practical work in the field of tax law can also be made for admission to Steuerberaterprüfung. The rule is trained as / tax clerk. It should be noted that this period is reduced to seven years if the test is successfully passed to the audited financial accountant or tax specialist.

Finally, include officials of the higher service of financial management can be admitted to the examination. In this case, the duration of the practical activity for at least seven years after passing the career examination, however, it being noted that officials of the higher civil service of the tax administration is awarded the academic degree Diploma in Finance ( FH) after completing their education, which they regularly three years after may be admitted to the completion of the training Steuerberaterprüfung.

Responsible for the implementation of the tax consultant examination are the Chambers of Tax Consultants since 2009. The finance ministries of the countries that i D. R. have transferred competence to the regional tax offices as a means authorities, but are still responsible for the preparation of exams. Even with the decrease in oral examinations, the composition of audit committees remains unchanged, ie, the chairman of each committee continues to be a tax official.


The tax consultant exam is divided into a written part of three board work and an oral part. Audit are in accordance with § 37 para 3 StBerG:

  • Tax Procedural Law,
  • Taxes on income,
  • Review law, inheritance tax and estate tax,
  • Excise and transfer taxes, Main features of customs law
  • Commercial law and basic principles of the civil law, company law, insolvency law and the law of the European Community,
  • Business administration and accounting,
  • Economy,
  • Professional law.

The respective duration of the three supervisory work is at least four and at most six hours time ( § 18 para 1 DVStB ), which usually six -time hours are recognized. You are to write on three consecutive days. Been to the oral examination, as the second part of the tax consultant examination is admitted whose performance in the written exam with a minimum grade of 4.5 is evaluated ( § 25 para 2 DVStB ). On average over the past few years, this test was only about half of the tested candidates in writing.

The oral examination consists of a short lecture and six test sections. From the individual scores of each test sections of the oral total grade is calculated. The oral examination is about five hours at four candidates ( rule). The examination is taken before an examining committee consisting of six people. Members of the Commission, in addition to financial officials of the higher service also professionals with years of professional experience as well as professors or experts from the private sector that are active on a test relevant area.

The Steuerberaterprüfung has passed, who is from written and verbal score no worse than 4.15 on average. The benefits of written and oral exam are weighted equally.

A candidate may withdraw in accordance with § 21 DVStB until submission of the final exam of the test without the audit test shall be consumed. This allows the device under test, a failure of his examination attempt to go out of the way in a relatively poor self-assessment of its achievements to date services exam. The constitutionality of this prüflingsfreundlichen scheme is partly controversial.

Certain occupational groups (eg professors of tax law, experienced officials of the tax administration, former finance converters, etc. ) to free themselves from the audit are ( § 38 StBerG).


After passing the examination, the order is possible as a tax consultant. Only after ordering as a tax consultant you are authorized to use the professional title " tax consultant ".

The order is only permitted if you practice self-employment in the field of tax law (so-called conditional tasks) or in the fields of agreed activities.

However, the order depends on the individual's suitability ( § 40 SteuerberatungsG ), the order shall be refused if the applicant

  • Does not live in wider economic conditions;
  • Due to criminal court conviction, the ability to hold public office does not have;
  • For health reasons, not only is temporarily unable to properly exercise the profession of tax adviser;
  • Has behaved in such a way that the concern is well founded, he would not comply with the professional obligations as a tax consultant.

The order is also to fail,

  • When a decision has been issued under § 39a para 1 by the supreme Land authority responsible for financial management;
  • As long as the candidate carries out an activity which is incompatible with the profession (§ 57 para 4);
  • Unless there was the temporary cover note to the request to take out professional liability insurance or proof of co-insurance with an employer.

A job in the commercial sector, for example in an industrial company, with the profession of tax consultant compatible because the disqualification Counsel - Tax Consultants by § 58 sentence 2 No. 5a of 11 April 2008 announced Eighth Law amending the tax advisory law of April 8, 2008 (Federal Law Gazette I No. 14 /08, p 666) was repealed. According to the judgment of the Federal Finance dated 9 August 2011 ( document number VII R 2/11 ) of the General Counsel may determine the number and scope of its mandates free and may also act as after- tax advisor.

The order will be completed by the competent Chamber of Tax Consultants by giving them vocational certificate. Previously, the applicant must submit the assurance that he will fulfill the duties of an accountant conscientiously.

Professional cooperation

Instead of professional practice as an individual is the union of several tax accountants and the establishment of a corporation (in particular GmbH or corporation ) is permissible ( Tax Consultants ). But to do this Board and management and shareholders or associates must be majority accountant.

The merger of several tax advisors for advice, tax issues may further invest in the form of a

  • Firm as a civil-law
  • Partnership
  • Office Community
  • Limited partnership ( also a GmbH & Co. KG is possible)
  • General partnership take place.

Tax consultant can work together in this framework, with the so-called law firm capable professions (especially accountants and lawyers ). In Steuerberatungsgesellschaften the non-tax advisers may dominate the tax advisor neither at the level of the shareholders nor at the level of senior management.

Differentiation from similar professions

In addition to the tax advisors, the following professionals are empowered to tax law advice and the implementation of sub-tasks:

  • Tax agents
  • Lawyer; especially the lawyer specializing in tax law
  • Auditor and chartered accountant
  • Process agents according to § 157 para 1 StBerG
  • Lohnsteuerhilfe associations that offer members tax under its powers pursuant to § 4 No. 11 Steuerberatungsgesetz
  • Accounting assistants who, however, some limitations, may only make the financial accounting.

EU problems

Tax advisors from other EU countries are allowed their clients cross-border advice in Germany, if on a temporary basis, excluding fixed establishment happens ( regulated in vocational qualification Qualification Directive 2005/36/EC). In this case they must occur with their foreign Occupation, so that both the client and the financial management may realize that it is not about tax advisor with qualification under German law. Clients of accountants from other EU countries also bear the risk that their advisors may be rejected by the tax authorities due to lack of knowledge in German tax law. Consultants from other EU member states seeking a permanent establishment as a tax consultant in Germany are required to complete an aptitude test ( § 37a (2 ) Tax Law ), which represents a simplified tax consultant exam.

In part, the view is taken that the professional admission requirements are not compatible with EU law. Other EU Member States could ask for the opening of the German tax advisor market for its own citizens, even if it is different to no admission requirements are in the Member States and of course different national tax law applies. Against contact the German Chambers of Tax Consultants who act as interest groups of their members and thus also serve to control the administration of justice. They justify this with the lack of training of foreign consultants in German tax law.

Require particular accountant and accountant associations, certain activities that are currently subject to tax advisors, also open accountant professions. From the perspective of German accountant, a reverse discrimination arises from the fact that Austrian accountant on a temporary basis may provide activities relying on the Directive 2005/36/EC in Germany, may not provide the German accountants. Reverse discrimination is permissible under European law.

Further fields of activity of Tax Advisors

In addition to the self and not self-employed in the reservation tasks of the accountant can arrange the following activities with his profession:

  • Board activities
  • Receivership and liquidation
  • Administration of estates, executorship
  • Guardianship, care and fiduciary duties
  • Consultancy and rating advice.

Tax Advisor Directory

The Federal Chamber of Tax Consultants shall keep a public register of all accountants, which is available as a tax consultant search online on the internet. Furthermore, the magazine Focus Money performs an annual consult a tax advisor test.


The profession of tax consultant is a professional services and is therefore not subject to the provisions of the Commercial Code. The professional association of tax consultants in Austria the Chamber of Auditors. In order to be able to perform the activities of a tax consultant, it requires a professional examination.

The term Chartered Accountants in Austria comprises the following occupational groups:

  • Auditors
  • Tax consultant

Until 2005 there was also labeled " Sworn Auditors "; However, this permission could not be acquired in 1999; the existing accountant in 2005 explained by a transitional provision to auditors.

Furthermore, were so-called independent accountant members of the Chamber of Public Accountants. They exercised a public accounting profession, but were not allowed to use the title Chartered Accountants. However, the possibility of incorporating this profession ended June 30, 2008. Existing professional privileges as a self accountants may still be exercised, however, ended the membership of this group in the Chamber of Auditors, unless they have been approved for the tax consultant examination or a professional qualification in accordance with the new accounting Accounting Act ( BibuG ) acquired, after an appropriate transition period.

The rights and obligations of Chartered Accountants are the Federal Law on the Public Accounting Professions ( Public Accounting Profession Act - WTBG ) regulated.

Self-employed accountants may choose between membership in the Chamber of Auditors and the Chamber of Commerce and also change the membership. They are subject to the Balance Sheet Accounting Act of 2006 ( BibuG ).

Activities of Tax Advisors

This may Wirtschaftstreuhand Occupation Act ( WTBG ) governs what activities a tax advisor as part of his profession to exercise and what activities are subject to tax consultants (§ 3 WTBG ). This includes the following activities

  • Bookkeeping and payroll accounting
  • Preparation of financial statements
  • Preparation of tax returns
  • Representation in tax and tax proceedings before tax authorities
  • Other representation particularly in social
  • Consulting services business advice
  • Tax
  • Advisory services relating to the corporate accounting and consulting concerning the organization and establishment of the internal control system
  • Renovation advice, preparation of restructuring reports etc.
  • Advice in legal matters, as far as these with economic fiduciary activities directly arising

In addition to the "traditional" work of the tax adviser - tax advice and representation, and the preparation of financial statements and tax returns - delivers the business advice to clients lately more and more into the foreground.

Responsibility of a tax consultant

Accountants are committed to their activities;

  • Conscientious
  • Careful
  • Autonomously
  • Independent and
  • Discreet


As in Germany, the employment in another profession (eg in an industrial company ) compatible with the profession of tax consultant. There is only a duty to report the other activities of the Chamber of Public Accountants, which may prohibit that activity. Furthermore, existing limitations of employers to exercise the profession shall be observed.

Attainment of professional competence

In order to obtain the professional authority as a tax consultant, the Public Accounting Profession Act ( WTBG ) requires certain conditions. These are:

Full capacity

The act is to be derived from the provisions of the Civil Code ( Civil Code). Only persons who have full capacity to act, ie can entitle and oblige by its own actions, may pursue the profession of tax consultant.

Special trustworthiness

Tax advisor must be characterized by particular trustworthiness. This is in accordance with the provisions of the Public Accounting Profession Act ( WTBG ) do not apply where

  • A final conviction by a court for an offense committed with intent offense to more than one year imprisonment or
  • By a court for an offense committed with intent enrichment offense or
  • There is a financial penalty authority because of a deliberate financial crime,

Parent economic conditions

Tax consultant must have minor economic conditions. Such are not available when in the last 10 years over the assets

  • A bankruptcy or
  • Two balancing method opens or have been performed, or
  • A completed application has been rejected for lack of assets in bankruptcy

AND now not all liabilities have been settled.

Property damage liability insurance

Accountants are required to have a property damage liability insurance with coverage of at least EUR 250.000, - complete per insured event. Tax consultants who are solely dependent operates are exempt from the obligation to enter into a financial loss liability insurance.

Occupation seat

The profession seat is a solid device, which ensured by its personnel, material and functional equipment meeting the technical requirements of the tax consultant.

The profession seat must be located in an EU or EEA Member State and may also be the principal residence of a tax consultant. From professional from headquarters, the tax consultant in Austria may adopt.

Furthermore, it is possible that tax consultant - establish branches - in addition to their professional seat. The management of a branch shall be transferred to a person entitled who has his professional domicile in the state of the branch, in the branch office full time ( without any Wirtschaftstreuhänder activity on their own account ) is active and the corresponding exam (see below) for the force exerted at the branch activity possesses.

Education and practical subject-specific activity

For admission to the tax consultant examination is successfully completed once a relevant university or technical college degree and 3 years of practical experience as a professional associate at a chartered accountant ( accountant or accountants) or as an audit associate at a Revisionsverband condition. Alternatively, it is a self-employed accountant and an approval without study after at least 9 years of full-time activity. Various activities are entirely attributable to attract young or time on a self-employed accountant up to 1 1/2 years or up to 6 years.

Subject examination

The professional examination for tax advisers includes three written examination papers and an oral examination and is removed from the Chamber of Auditors.

The three written exams, each lasting six hours include the following audit subjects

  • Tax law Preparation of financial statements
  • Corporate and tax valuation and accounting rules
  • Tax income and income calculation
  • Constitution of tax declarations
  • Sales tax, transfer taxes and other fees
  • Business Administration Management accounting
  • Budgeting
  • Investment and Finance (including corporate rating )
  • Tax Management
  • Financial statement analysis
  • Broad business organization
  • General organizational structure of the IT
  • Reorganizations

The oral examination covers the following areas:

  • Professional Affairs (quality assurance and risk management)
  • Tax law (including tax procedure law)
  • Accountancy Accounting, payroll accounting
  • Financial statements, generally accepted principles of accounting, Outline Review
  • Financial statement analysis
  • Special balance sheets and consolidated financial reporting
  • Organization and application of computer
  • Business Administration Management accounting
  • Budgeting
  • Investment and Finance (including corporate rating )
  • Tax Management
  • Financial statement analysis
  • Broad business organization
  • General organizational structure of the IT
  • Theory of Law Civil law ( particularly: debt, property and inheritance )
  • Company law (especially partnerships, LLC and accounting rules )
  • Insolvency law, bills and checks right
  • Broad commercial law, labor law, social security law, civil procedures and litigation, proceedings before the independent administrative tribunals, data protection law
  • Principles of the constitutional, administrative and environmental law
  • Selected parts of EU law

Tax Consultants

In Austria, the profession of tax consultant may also be exercised within the framework of a partnership or corporation, but by the economic profession Act ( WTBG ) the exercise of the activity is connected in the context of a society with some restrictions. These are

The management and external representation must be made by person entitled and indeed mostly by professional owner of the respective profession. For tax consulting companies, therefore, this must be mainly tax advisor.


In Switzerland, there are no licensing restrictions for the profession of tax consultant. The job title in Switzerland is a "trustee ". The lack of access restriction (practically everyone can open an escrow office ) means that it colloquially called " field, forest and meadow trustee" are. Who wants to be safe and well advised, should consult definitely a trained and certified trustee.

Despite the lack of admission there are a number of training courses, which end with a state examination ( the higher professional examination ) and can be viewed as a " seal of quality":

  • Dipl. Treuhandexperte
  • Dipl. tax Expert
  • Dipl. auditors

In the field of auditing, there is however an admission restriction by the law of obligations which for some companies and operations require evaluation by a specially qualified auditor. This requirement is met only professionals with the federal diploma as a chartered accountant and certified. Fiduciary experts and tax professionals ( and other professionals ) with appropriate professional training.

On 1 January 2008, the new Auditor Oversight Act came into force, which regulates the admission of the internal auditor and auditors and the audit Mining Companies conclusion. The implementation is carried out by a state regulatory body.

As in other countries, a trustee is liable, checked or not, for the damage he caused.