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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 Publication of Decisions

 

The Federal Fiscal Court's decisions are published on a regular basis. According to their importance a distinction is being drawn between so-called P-decisions (designated to be officially published) and those decisions, designated not to be officially published (so called UP-decisions).

Leading decisions are officially published; they are all printed in the Official Collection of the Federal Fiscal Court (the "BFHE" collection) as well as in the general Federal Tax Journal Part II, edited by the Federal Minister of Finance. The P-decisions are also available on the Federal Fiscal Court's homepage. The UP-decisions are monthly published in a particular collection, edited by judges of the Federal Fiscal Court (the “BFH/NV” collection).