The individual legal remedies
Find out more about the available legal remedies.
If the fiscal court has allowed the appeal in its judgment, the parties involved may appeal directly against the judgment to the Federal Fiscal Court.
The Federal Fiscal Court decides in appeal proceedings on the correct application of federal law by the Fiscal Court; in this respect it is a purely judicial body. Apart from a few exceptions, it is not itself required to establish and assess the facts. This is the task of the fiscal courts, whose actual findings are principally binding on the Federal Fiscal Court. The fiscal courts must therefore first determine the facts of the case as a basis for their legal assessment, for example whether and to whom the taxable person has made payments. The Federal Fiscal Court only reviews the legal assessment of the fiscal court, for example whether these payments constitute operating expenses or income-related expenses and can therefore be taken into account for tax purposes.
If the Federal Fiscal Court follows the legal opinion of the fiscal court, it dismisses the appeal as unfounded. If it deems the decision of the fiscal court to be unlawful, it must set aside the decision of the fiscal court and rule on the substance of the case itself (amendment/repeal of the tax assessment or dismissal of the action). If the Federal Fiscal Court considers essential facts to be unresolved, it refers the case back to the fiscal court so that the latter can make up for the lack of factual findings at second instance.
The Federal Fiscal Court decides on appeals by means of a judgment, unless the case is inadmissible (for formal reasons). In that case, a ruling is issued. In exceptional cases, a decision by issuing a ruling is also possible if the appeal is unfounded.
If the fiscal court has not allowed an appeal against its judgment, the Federal Fiscal Court can allow a non-admission complaint. Pursuant to § 115(2) of the Code of Procedure of Fiscal Courts, an appeal shall only be admitted if
- the case is of fundamental importance, or
- the further development of the law or securing uniform judicial decisions requires a decision of the Federal Fiscal Court or
- a procedural defect is pleaded and established on which the contested decision may be based.
The appellant must set out these conditions for allowing the appeal in the statement of grounds of appeal. It is not sufficient to merely claim that the judgment of the fiscal court is wrong.
If the Federal Fiscal Court upholds the non-admission complaint, the proceedings are generally continued as appeal proceedings. If the Federal Fiscal Court affirms the existence of a procedural error, it may also, in the ruling, set aside the contested judgment of the fiscal court and refer the dispute back to the fiscal court for another hearing and decision.
Appeals against fiscal court decisions that are not judgments can be lodged with the Federal Fiscal Court. This applies, for example, to the decision on how to grant or refuse access to documents. However, measures of organisation of proceedings, orders for the provision of information, orders to adjourn or fix a time limit, orders to take evidence, orders under §§ 91a and 93a of the Code of Procedure of Fiscal Courts, orders rejecting applications for evidence, orders combining and separating proceedings and rejecting, for example, judicial persons or experts, orders to discontinue proceedings after the withdrawal of an action and orders in legal aid proceedings may not be appealed against. Rulings on interim relief can only be appealed against if the fiscal court has allowed the appeal.
In appeal proceedings, the Federal Fiscal Court is the judicial and factual authority. In this respect, it decides by means of a ruling.
In addition to the aforementioned legal remedies, proceedings may also be brought before the Federal Fiscal Court by means of applications, such as applications for legal aid for legal remedies to be lodged with the Federal Fiscal Court or, in the context of proceedings already pending before the Federal Fiscal Court, for interim relief by suspending the execution of the contested tax assessment notice or by way of interim measures. A decision will also be taken on these applications by way of a ruling.