Tax Law

Liability notices

Liability in German tax law is defined as the obligation to pay for a third-party tax debt with your own assets. Accordingly, the tax office can make a claim against you for another person’s tax debt by means of a liability notice.

The liability decision is a discretionary decision of the tax authority. Before making a claim, the authority as a liability creditor must check, in addition to the existence of the legal facts, whether it wants to make a claim against a possible liability debtor and, in the event that several possible debtors come into consideration, which one it wants to make liable. For this purpose, the possible liable debtor must be granted a hearing in advance.

In principle, they may only be held liable after prior attempts have been made to obtain the tax debt from the actual tax debtor.

The law provides for different cases in which a liability claim can be considered. In particular, a liability notice may be issued against a managing director, a legal representative or an employer. In addition, a liability notice may be issued against a lawyer, patent attorney, notary public, tax advisor, tax agent, auditor or certified public accountant on account of an act within the meaning of Section 69 of the German Fiscal Code (AO) performed by the latter in the exercise of his profession.

In order to defend against a liability notice, it is necessary to both conduct a detailed examination of the specific conditions of the relevant liability claim and to verify the existence of the tax claim.

We undertake for you both the review of a liability notice issued against you and the review of the existence of the alleged tax liability.

We can file an objection against an issued liability notice on your behalf and, in the event of an unsuccessful objection procedure, file a lawsuit with the competent tax court.