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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 Personnel

 

The judges at the Federal Fiscal Court are professional judges. They are being elected by an electoral committee for judges, to which 16 Ministers of the Länder (the Minister of Finance for Bavaria and the Ministers of Justice for the other Länder) as well as 16 internally appointed members of parliament belong.

The temporarily assigned learned assistants (generally about eleven) are being allotted to certain senates. They support the judges in their tasks.

The senate-offices register the incoming cases, administrate the files, handle the exchange of the written pleadings and submissions and further the procedures on behalf of the judges. They are responsible for summons, services of process and the executed copies of judgments.

The administration department of the Federal Fiscal Court is in particular responsible for the organization of the Court's operations, the budget and the handling of human resource affairs. It is being supported by the cost department, which levies the procedural costs, furthermore by the typists, the court officers and the custodians.

The personnel in the library attend to about 200,000 works and hence for the most comprehensive German collection of reference books and journals in the field of tax and customs law.

The department for documentation and information analyses the adjudication of the Federal Fiscal Court and the Fiscal Courts as well as reference literature and processes them for the juris database. It researches judicial decisions and literature for the judges.

The IT department installs and attends to the comprehensive and constantly growing data processing systems of the Federal Fiscal Court.

The press office issues press releases, allocates the Federal Fiscal Court’s judgments on the internet, compiles the annual reports of the Federal Fiscal Court and advises expert visitor groups.