GERMANY TAX GUIDE. International Business Publications, USA Washington, DC, USA - Germany

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1 GERMANY TAX GUIDE International Business Publications, USA Washington, DC, USA - Germany

2 -3- GERMANY TAX GLIDE TABLE OF CONTENTS IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR UNDERSTANDING GERMAN 10 STRATEGIC PROFILE 10 Geography 10 People 12 Government Economy 75 Communications 17 Transportation 17 Military 18 Transnational Issues 18 STRATEGIC INFORMATION FOR CONDUCTING BUSINESS 19 STATE AND CITIZENS 19 THE BASIC LAW 21 TAX SYSTEM IN GERMANY: BASIC INFORMATION 26 TYPES OF TAXES 26 Sources of Tax Law 27 Tax Administration Structure 28 INCOME TAXES AS APPLIED TO BUSINESS ENTITIES AND INDIVIDUALS 29 I. Corporations 29 The Calculation of Income - Profit Taxes Determination of the Taxable Base Determination of the Tax Base for the Trade Tax 33 D. The Applicable Tax Rates 34 Tax on the Sale of Real Estate (Grunderwerbsteuer) 36 E. Territorial Rules 36 II. Partnerships 39 OTHER ENTITIES, SUCH AS JOINT VENTURE ASSOCIATIONS AND FOUNDATIONS 40 VALUE ADDED TAX (VAT) 40 Exemption and Details 43 German Value Added Tax Refunds and Exemption 44 U.S. Enterprises 45 INDIVIDUALS 46 What Tax Returns Must Be Filed? 46 Filing Dates 46

3 -4- Calculation of Income Taxes 47 What Are the Applicable Rates? 48 TABLE 1.1 Income tax for single persons in steps of 10,000 DM. 49 TABLE 1.2 Income tax for married persons in steps of 20,000 DM 50 All Other Taxes, Contributions or Transfer Regimes 57 Other Matters 54 TAX TREATIES 55 TABLE 3 Withholding tax on certain payments made from Germany to foreign recipients according to German double taxation conventions with some selected states 56 U.S. CITIZENS WHO ARE CONSIDEREDJLESIDENTS OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY ;...".'. 58 General Filing Requirements: 58 Filing Deadline: 59 Filing Status: 59 Withholding Procedure: 59 Filing System: 59 State and Local Taxes: 59 Computation of Income: 60 Deductions: 60 Mortgage Interest, Depreciation: 60 US CITIZENS CONSIDERED NONRESIDENTS 61 Tax Liability in the United States 62 Social Security Contributions 62 TAX REFORM 65 CENTRAL ELEMENTS OF THE TAX REFORM Reduction of income tax rates 65 Reduction of corporation tax and a change in the system of taxing corporations and shareholders 65 How the tax relief is to be financed 67 Other measures to be highlighted. 67 OUTLOOK 67 Taking the reform of business taxation forward 67 CONCLUSION 68 GERMANY'S TAX REFORM: THE END OF THE "SOCIAL MARKET ECONOMY" 68 GERMANY'S ECOLOGICAL TAX REFORM 71 Generating Jobs Through Investment In Energy Efficiency 72 The Eco-Tax in European Context 73 PRACTICAL INFORMATION ON GERMAN TAXES 74 SURVEY OF GERMAN TAX LAWS 74 PRINCIPLES OF TAXATION IN GERMANY 74 Tax System 74 Rates of Tax 74 Tax Year 75 Returns 76 Assessment and objections 76 Withholding Taxes 76 Anti-avoidance 76

4 -5- INCOME TAXES 76 Capital Gains 76 Taxable Income 77 Taxation of Nonresidents 77 TAXATION OF COMPANIES 78 Basis of Charge 78 Rate of Tax 78 What is taxable 79 What is deductible? '. 79 Tax relief for capital expenditure.-. '. 79 Specific Items 79 Other taxes 80 TAXATION OF INDIVIDUALS 80 Basis of Charge 80 Self employment 82 Employment Income 83 Specific items 83 TAXATION OF PARTNERSHIPS 84 Corporate Income Tax (Korperschaftsteuer) 84 Basis of taxation 55 Partnership tax return 85 Solidarity Surcharge (Solidaritdtszuschlag) 86 Trade Tax (Gewerbesteuer) ". 86 Real Estate Tax (Grundsteuer) 86 Inheritance and Gift Tax for Germany nternal German Law (Erbschaft- und Schenkungsteuer) 86 INTERNATIONAL TAX MATTERS 91 DOUBLE TAX TREATIES 91 TAX CREDITS 91 OTHER TAXES 92 Inheritance and gift tax 92 Capital tax 93 Vehicle tax 93 Land acquisition tax 93 Land tax 93 Trade tax : 93 Church tax 94 TAX REFORMS 94 Tax Reform An Overview 94 Central elements of the Tax Reform Reduction of corporation tax and a change in the system of taxing corporations and shareholders 95 Reforms selectively benefiting unincorporated companies 95 How the tax relief is to be financed 96 Further reforms of corporate taxation 97 Other measures to be highlighted. 97 Conclusion 97

5 -6- SELECTED TAX RELATED LAWS, TREATIES AND REGULATIONS 99 THE CONVENTION BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF DOUBLE TAXATION AND THE PREVENTION OF FISCAL EVASION WITH RESPECT TO TAXES ON INCOME AND CAPITAL AND TO CERTAIN OTHER TAXES* 99 Article 1 Personal Scope 99 Article 2 Taxes Covered 99 Article 3 General Definitions 99 Article 4 Residence 700 Article 5 Permanent Establishment 707 Article 6 Income From Immovable (Real) Property 702 Article 7 Business Profits 702 Article 8 Shipping and Air Transport 703 Article 9 Associated Enterprises 703 Article 10 Dividends 704 Article 11 Interest 706 Article 12 Royalties 707 Article 13 Gains 70S Article 14 Independent Personal Services 709 Article 15 Dependent Personal Services 709 Article 16 Directors' Fees 709 Article 17 Artistes and Athletes 770 Article 18 Pensions, Annuities, Alimony, and Child Support '. 770 Article 19 Government Service; Social Security 777 Article 20 Visiting Professors and Teachers; Students and Trainees 777 Article 21 Other Income 772 Article 22 Capital 772 Article 23 Relief from Double Taxation 773 Article 24 Nondiscrimination 775 Article 25 Mutual Agreement Procedure 775 Article 26 Exchange of Information and Administrative Assistance 777 Article 27 Exempt Organizations 77S Article 28 Limitation on Benefits 118 Article 29 Refund of Withholding Tax 779 Article 30 Members of Diplomatic Missions and Consular Posts 720 Article 31 Berlin Clause 720 Article 32 Entry Into Force 720 Article 33 Termination 722 Protocol 722 CONVENTION BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF DOUBLE TAXATION WITH RESPECT TO TAXES ON ESTATES, INHERITANCES, AND GIFTS* 128 Chapter! 128 Chapter II 128 Chapter III 730 Chapter IV 733 Chapter V 737 GERMANY TAX TREATY 138

6 -7- Article lersonal Scope 73S Article 2 Taxes Covered 735 Article 3 General Definitions 739 Article 4 Residence 140 Article 5 Permanent Establishment 141 Article 6 Income From Immovable (Real) Property 142 Article 7 Business Profits 142 Article 8 Shipping and Air Transport 143 Article 9 Associated Enterprises 143 Article 10 Dividends.V. 144 Article 11 Interest 146 Article 12 Royalties 146 Article 13 Gains 147 Article 14 Independent Personal Services 148 Article 15 Dependent Personal Services 148 Article 16 Directors' Fees 149 Article 17 Artistes and Athletes 149 Article 18 Pensions, Annuities, Alimony and Child Support 750 Article 19Government Service; Social Security 750 Article 20 Visiting Professors and Teachers; Students and Trainees 757 Article 21 Other Income 752 Article 22 Capital 752 Article 23 Relief from Double Taxation : 752 Article 24 Nondiscrimination 154 Article 25 Mutual Agreement Procedure 755 Article 26 Exchange of Information and Administrative Assistance 756 Article 27 Exempt Organizations 757 Article 28 Limitation on Benefits 755 Article 29 Refund of Withholding Tax 759 Article 30 Members of Diplomatic Missions and Consular Posts 759 Article 31 Berlin Clause 760 Article 32 Entry Into Force 760 Article 33 Termination 767 TAX AGREEMENTS FOR EXPATRIATES 162 Tax Treaty Benefits 762 Social Security TOTALIZATION Agreements 762 Information Exchange Agreements 763 IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR CONDUCTING BUSINESS 164 Promotion of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises 164 Other measures of economic and political importance 766 Statistics: 766 TRADE REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS 167 AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS 170 U.S. Agricultural Commodity Associations Active in Germany 773 PRACTICAL INFORMATION ON TAXATION IN GERMANY TYPES OF TAXES SOURCES OF TAX LAW 177

7 -8-3. TAX ADMINISTRATION STRUCTURE 178 INCOME TAXES AS APPLIED TO BUSINESS ENTITIES AND INDIVIDUALS Corporations Determination of the Tax Base for the Trade Tax 753 D. The Applicable Tax Rates 184 II. PARTNERSHIPS 189 A. Tax Returns 790 III. OTHER ENTITIES, SUCH AS JOINT VENTURE ASSOCIATIONS AND FOUNDATIONS 191 IV. INDIVIDUALS 191 A. What Tax Returns Must Be Filed? 797 B. Filing Dates 797 C. Calculation of Income Taxes 792 D. What Are the Applicable Rates? 793 ALL OTHER TAXES, CONTRIBUTIONS OR TRANSFER REGIMES Real Property Transfer Tax: 796 Excise Taxes: 797 mineral oil tax, tobacco tax, coffee tax, sparkling wine tax, sugar tax and salt tax 797 BO Registration Duties 797 CO Inheritance and Gift Taxes: 795 OTHER MATTERS 199 A0 Tax Incentives 799 SUPPLEMENTS 204 UNITED STATES - TAX TREATMENT FOR "FOREIGN SALES CORPORATIONS"RECOURSE TO ARTICLE 21.5 OF THE DSU BY THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES 204 FEDERAL BUDGET AND FISCAL POLICY 222 /. Trends in the federal budget Market resources General gouvernment tax revenue Guaranteed dept Key dates of the fiscal policy agenda 223 BILATERAL INVESTMENT TREATIES 224 Ratified Treaties 224 SELECTED GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS CONTACT 228 I. COUNTRY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES COUNTRY TRADE ASSOCIATIONS/CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE COUNTRY MARKET RESEARCH FIRMS 229 IV. COUNTRY COMMERCIAL BANKS 230 U.S. EMBASSY TRADE PERSONNEL 237 US. EMBASSY OFFICE BERLIN. 233 U.S. Consulates 233 OTHER COUNTRY CONTACTS 234 WASHINGTON-BASED USG COUNTRY CONTACTS 234 U.S.-BASED MULTIPLIERS 234 German American Chambers of Commerce 235 Investment Promotion by Region 236 STRATEGIC STATISTICS 241 ECONOMIC FACTS ON GERMANY 241

8 -9- COMPARATIVE INFORMATION 246 PROJECTION OF THE OVERALL ECONOMIC TRENDS IN THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY UP TO Employment, Productivity and Growth 255 Use of G D P at current prices 256 Employment, Productivity and Growth 257 Employment, Productivity and Growth 255

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