Taxes in Europe Database v2
The legal basis for the imposition of trade tax comprises the Trade Tax Act as published on 15 October 2002 (Federal Law Gazette 2002 I p. 4167) last amended by Article 7 of the Act of 22 December 2014 (Federal Law Gazette 2014 I p. 2417).
The most predominant portion of trade tax revenue accrues to local authorities.
Federal Republic of Germany.
The entrepreneur is liable for the tax. Trade tax, like real property tax, belongs to the category of non-personal taxes. To the extent that it is conducted within the territory of the Federal Republic, any going business enterprise is liable to trade tax. Activities that may be regarded as the operation of agricultural or forestry establishments or the provision of professional or other independent personal services are not subject to trade tax.
Trade tax is directed at business enterprises and their real earning capacity.
The basis of assessment is the profits of a business enterprise as determined under income tax law or corporation tax law. The profits thus determined are increased or decreased by certain adjustments, which are intended to take account of the nature of trade tax as a tax on an object or which serve to prevent double taxation.
The computation of trade tax proceeds from the basic tax. This is obtained by multiplying the amount of business profits by a fixed percentage of 3.5 % (the basic federal rate). Individuals and partnerships qualify for an allowance of € 24,500. The local tax offices are responsible for determining the tax bases and for the assessment and allocation of the uniform basic tax.
The uniform basic tax must be allocated where a business enterprise maintains establishments in several municipalities during the period for which the tax is collected (calendar year). The wages paid by the enterprise are generally taken as a yardstick for allocation.
Trade tax is collected by the municipalities, which assess the tax by applying a multiplier to the uniform basic tax (or in the case of allocation, to their allocated share of the basic tax). The municipality that is entitled to apply a multiplier decides on its own responsibility how high the multiplier in question will be, subject to a minimum of 200 percent (so-called "tax factor" - Hebesatz). In 2013, the average municipal multiplier amounted to 395 % (0.035 * 395 % = tax rate of 13.825 %). The tax factor set by the Capital city totals 410 % which equals a tax rate of 14.35 %.
The advance trade tax payments are due quarterly, on 15th February, 15th May, 15th August and 15th November.
The final payment of trade tax must be made one month after the tax assessment notice is issued.
Trade tax is a municipal tax, and for local authorities it is the most important direct source of the funds they need to defray their expenditure on public services. The federal government and the federal states (Länder) also receive a share of trade tax revenue by way of apportionments.