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The Federal Fiscal Court

The Federal Fiscal Court is the Court of last resort within the German jurisdiction over tax and customs matters. It is one of the five Federal Supreme Courts, established according to Article 95 of the Basic Law and has its seat in Munich. The Federal Fiscal Court predominantly adjudicates in legal remedy procedures upon the legality of assessments of taxes and duties, furthermore about child allowance, investment allowance and certain concerns regarding the professional law for tax consultants. The main task of the Federal Fiscal Court is to ensure the consistency of both, application and execution of law by the interpretation of the law. In addition to this, the case law of the Federal Fiscal Court contributes to the development of tax law in conformity with the Basic Law.

Oftentimes, the jurisdiction of the Federal Fiscal Court has considerable effects on the legal practice of the fiscal administration and, as a consequence also has extensive impact on the federal budget. The Federal Fiscal Court only adjudicates on the correct application of law in concrete individual cases. Although its decisions can only bind the respective parties, they are still authoritative for the taxation of other tax paying citizens where the same facts of case apply. This follows from the fact that the judgment’s and decision’s essence regularly flows into the treasury regulations and other administration guidelines, which are being adhered to by the legal practice and fiscal authorities.

 

The Organization

 

The Federal Fiscal Court has established eleven senates with a total of 60 judges. Regularly each senate is staffed with a presiding judge and four judges. In cases of adjudication, the senates decide by five judges, decisions outside the oral proceedings are being taken by the presiding judge and two other judges.

The area of jurisdiction of each senate and the judges assigned to it, are set out in a schedule of responsibilities, which is annually resolved by the Presiding Board of the Court.

At the Federal Fiscal Court a Large Senate has been established. Its members are the Court’s President and one judge of each senate not chaired by the President. The Large Senate decides in those cases in which one senate wants to deviate from the adjudication of another. Furthermore, cases of fundamental importance can be brought before the Large Senate.