How to Stay Careful during a Tax Audit

Many entrepreneurs do not take the subject of taxes consciously or unconsciously as seriously. But that can have fatal consequences during tax audit. For if the tax office reveals errors or misdemeanors that lead to high back taxes, additional interest or even civil penalties, it can lead to life-threatening financial bottlenecks. We looked behind the scenes and put together the methods, tricks and exam practices.

Fateful Post Calculation

If a business owner has not recorded all operating income correctly, the auditor often identifies this by sampling the goods used. The same applies to hairdressers who buy neck braces for thousands of customers – but only want to serve a few hundred customers. Even restaurant operators, whose laundry bill suggests much more place settings than would be expected on the basis of turnover, can expect detailed inquiries.

Tip: Discrepancies and mistakes happen. In such a case, a plausible explanation is important. The presumption of the tax office can be refuted, for example, if the mustard was spoiled, or the ruffs were no longer available because of defect or theft. Here, however, the entrepreneur is in doubt in the burden of proof (e.g. photos of defective / corrupted goods, reported to the police for stolen goods, etc.).

Unannounced Visits by the Accountant

Since 1.1.2019, an auditor of the tax office can stand unannounced at the door and ask an entrepreneur to let him to his cashier. The surprise visit is intended to expose deficiencies in the cash management.

New Trend: Joint Audits with Foreign Auditors

If a company has an international presence and therefore has companies that are related to each other in different countries, the tax office looks very carefully to ensure that the profits are distributed correctly. If you notice that the profit in the country is bad, even though the owner steers the business here and in Switzerland or Luxembourg the highest profit is made, even though there are only a few office workers there, there is a threat of a joint audit. To do so, the German and foreign tax administrations ally and examine together.

Stumbling Trap Bonus Settlement

Often entrepreneurs, while shopping in wholesale at the end of the year for the sales, make a bonus in money or a discount for future purchases. Then the auditor can determine by retroactive accounting, if an entrepreneur has “bought on two invoices”: Once “official” for the goods, which run over the bookkeeping, and once “private” for all sales, which are done “on the side”.

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