Bilateral Tax Coordination in Tax Competition between Germany and Switzerland

On Monday, November 23, 2020, the IFA Southwest Section held a conference on the current developments and practical implications after the entry into force of the Federal Tax Reform and AHV Financing Act (STAF) and the planned implementation of correspondence rules with references to the Free Movement of Persons Agreement, transfer pricing and BEPS agreement under the moderation of Prof. Dr. Anzinger and Florian Geiger. Speakers and discussants were

  • Fabian Baumer, Vizedirektor / Hauptabteilungsschef, Eidgenössisches Finanzdepartement (EFD) / Eidgenössische Steuerverwaltung (ESTV), Bern
  • David Hürlimann, CMS von Erlach Poncet AG, Zürich
  • Sara Scharf, Steuerabteilung Paul Hartmann AG, Heidenheim
  • Thomas Rupp, Ministerium für Finanzen, Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Ruf, Chair of International Business Taxation, Universität Tübingen

Participation in the EATLP Poster Programme

On the 19th and 20th June, a poster programme on topics in national, international or European tax law should have taken place as part of the EATLP annual congress in Vienna. However, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, the annual meeting and thus the poster programme was cancelled. Among 17 international doctoral students, Georg Philipp Siebenlist, a doctrinal student in the field of business and tax law from the University of Ulm, would have had the opportunity to present his research project. Nevertheless, the poster can be downloaded from the EATLP website

18th Ulm Colloquium

On 18 February 2020, the eighteenth Ulm Colloquium for Business and Tax Law took place on the topic "Implementation of the Restructuring Framework in Germany - Perspectives and Options".
Prof. Dr. Andreas Piekenbrock introduced the guests to the topic with a keynote speech. He presented the Directive (EU) 2019/1023 on preventive restructuring frameworks, which extends and harmonises the possibilities for restructuring before the occurrence of insolvency. Thereupon, he pointed out both overlaps and areas of conflict with the existing insolvency code.
This was followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Henning von Sethe, Michael Pluta and RiAG Dr. Benjamin Webel, who discussed issues of "restructuring governance", such as jurisdiction, protection of creditors' rights and allocation of procedural costs. In addition, the thesis "the preventive restructuring frameworks introduce a paradigm shift in insolvency law" was discussed in detail before the podium addressed the numerous questions of the audience.


17th Ulm Colloquium

The 17th Ulm Colloquium for Business and Tax Law was held on 28 January 2020 and dealt with the topic of the restructuring of partnerships in connection with § 6 para. 3 EStG.
In their keynote speeches, Michael Wendt, presiding judge at the Federal Fiscal Court and Dr. Carl Friedrich Vees, maître en droit, head of department at the Ministry of Finance of Baden-Württemberg, discussed the background, functions and applications of § 6 (3) EStG. They also drew attention to existing problems, particularly in connection with the meaning of special business assets and the concept of non-remuneration. A further focus of attention was also the violation of the holding period in the case of a partial share transfer and the question of its legal consequences.
In a subsequent round of discussions with Dr. Thomas Stein, specialist solicitor for tax law, as discussants from practice, the speakers again took up the results of the lectures, went into the history of the origin of the paragraph in greater depth and answered the questions of their numerous audience.

Excursion to DATEV

On 23 January 2020, the Department of Business and Tax Law visited the DATEV-Lab in Nuremberg as part of an excursion. In addition to the presentation of their seminar papers, the Bachelor and Master students were able to gain insights into the research there.

After the seminar presentations, the employees gave five keynote speeches on DATEV's current projects on the topics of block chain, current data exchange in political work, AI in the DATEV UseCase, the construction of a tax app and the requirements for software providers in machine learning. After all presentations, the chances but also possible risks were discussed in detail. Afterwards there was enough time for an exchange in a relaxed atmosphere during lunch.


16th Ulm Colloquium

The sixteenth Ulm Colloquium for Business and Tax Law took place on 17 July 2019. The topic of the event was "Tax enforcement and judicial control in times of digitalisation". In his speech, Prof. Dr. Rudolph Mellinghoff, President of the Bundesfinanzhof and former judge of the Bundesverfassungsgericht, outlined the current status of digitalisation in the taxation procedure and in the judiciary, drew attention to problems and gave an outlook on future developments. One focus of the speech was the critical examination of the electronic risk management of the financial administration. Finally, Prof. Dr. Mellinghoff pointed out why the further development of the data protection concept as a major social challenge of the coming years will determine the possibilities of exploiting the untapped potential of digitalisation.

In the following discussion, Prof. Dr. Mellinghoff and Mr. Bernd Zemek, Deputy Head of Division in Referat 31 „Steuerliche EDV-Verfahren, Verwaltungsangelegenheiten Steuer, Fachcontrolling Steuer, Außenprüfungsdienste, Steuerstrafrecht“ in the Ministry of Finance of Baden-Württemberg, representing the financial administration, answered the numerous questions of the audience.

Seminar presentations at Sonntag & Partner

As part of the seminars on business and tax law and on digitalisation in tax law, Bachelor's and Master's students had the opportunity to present their seminar papers at Sonntag & Partner in Augsburg. In the discussions that followed the presentations, the seminar participants were given insights into the practical significance of their topics. The event was rounded off with conversations, dinner and sunset on the roof terrace of the firm.

15th Ulm Colloquium

On the 3rd of December 2018, the fifteenth Ulm Colloquium for Economic and Tax Law took place. The focus was on the perspectives of crowdfunding through initial coin offering as a financing alternative for start-ups and medium-sized companies as well as related capital market, accounting and tax law issues.

Dr. Dirk Sturz, representative of Börse Stuttgart GmbH and Kristian Borkert, a lawyer engaged in blockchain initiatives, presented the developments to date, the perspectives and the regulatory framework of the new technologies. Dr. Henning v. Sethe, head of the legal department at Volksbank Ulm-Biberach eG, led through the subsequent round of talks. In particular, the advantages and risks of crowdfunding by ICO over equity crowdfunding and the scope of reasonable regulation were discussed.

Mag. Elfie Sixt, founder of the Fintec Academy and founding member of the German Crowdfunding Network, explained the crucial issues in accounting and taxation of crypto-assets.

Further information on the event can be found here.

Latest research results

Further research results from the DFG project 'Decision Harmony and Qualification Chaining in the Interpretation and Application of Double Taxation Treaties - Comparison of Laws and Method Development Using the Example of Qualification of Income and Establishments' ( have been published:

Christoph Pleil and Stefan Schwibinger's article on 'Confronting Conflicts of Qualification in Tax Treaty Law - The Principle of Common Interpretation and the New Approach revisited' has appeared in the latest issue of the internationally renowned World Tax Journal (WTJ) 3/2018. In the most recent issue of the journal Steuer und Wirtschaft (StuW), which is also recognized in the German-speaking world, Christoph Pleil contributed an article on the topic "Die Vertreterbetriebsstätte im Internationalen Steuerrecht" (The Representative Establishment in International Tax Law). Both authors are PhD students at the Department of Business and Tax Law.

IFA conference - Rechtssicherheit im Internationalen Steuerrecht und Verrechnungspreise

On the 11th of July 2018, an IFA event took place on the subject of "Rechtssicherheit im Internationalen Steuerrecht und Verrechnungspreise (Legal certainty in international tax law and transfer pricing)" in cooperation with the University of Ulm.

Prof. Dr. Ekkehart Reimer, University of Heidelberg
Dr. Stefan Greil, Federal Ministry of Finance, Berlin
 Sabine Gronbach, Voith, Heidenheim
 Dr. Stefan Stein, Quantum, Ulm
 Dr. Alexander Ebering, KPMG, Stuttgart

Since the BEPS Action Plan came into force in 2013, new perspectives in EU law have emerged alongside the Multilateral Instrument (MLI) and the updating of the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines at DTA level with the Dispute Settlement Directive.

In his lecture, Professor Dr. Reimer analysed the problem of substantive law to effectively prevent double taxation. Therefore, the formal right to dissolve double taxation is called for. Joint audits or counter corrections of Art. 9 para. 2 OECD-MA and Art. 7 para. 3 OECD-MA n.F. could be effective instruments to prevent double taxation.

In his presentation, Dr Greil dealt with the arm's length principle and pointed out its problems. He therefore advocated a change of method to a transaction-related profit-split solution.

In the subsequent discussion, the profit-split method and its consequences for SMEs were discussed in particular. As a result of the event, however, it could be stated that joint audits should become more widespread. The necessary investments in training and capacity of the tax authorities could be justified in the interest of the business location.

A complete conference report can be found in IStR 17/2018, under Rubrik III f. (in German)

Scientific Colloquium „Computational Methods in Law"

From the 1st to the 3rd of February 2018 a scientific colloquium and joint seminar with the University of Heidelberg for doctoral candidates and students was held at the Wissenschaftszentrum Schloss Reisensburg. The focus of the event was the development, status and perspective of the digitalization of law. The colloquium was supported by the FGS Digital GmbH, Bonn and the SZA Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH, Mannheim.

Excursion to the Federal Constitutional Court

On January 16th, 2018, the Department of Business and Tax Law visited the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe as part of an excursion to attend the hearing in the matter of "Einheitsbewertung für die Bemessung der Grundsteuer".
The main topic of the negotiation was whether the calculation of the tax levied on land and buildings in Germany is still in accordance with the constitution and the principle of equality under the law.

Visiting the EuGH

On the 18th of January students from the University of Ulm visited the Court of Justice of the European Union within the context of their seminar „Brexit - consequences of the referendum for the German fiscal and tax law”. At the beginning the students attended the hearing to the case C-126/16 — Federatie Nederlandse Vakvereniging /Smallsteps BV. The court discussed the question whether the application of the originally Anglo-American “pre-pack” procedure in the Dutch insolvency law is compatible with the objective of Directive 2001/23/EC.

Following the court hearing the students learnt a lot about the history and the importance of the highest European court during a guided tour. Afterwards, Mr. PD Dr. Hummel, a member of the cabinet of advocate general Mrs. Kokott, explained the exact functioning of the court to our students. At the end the students had the chance to visit the comprehensive library of the court. The Department of Business and Tax Law is sincerly grateful for the generous financial support of Peters, Schönberger & Partner mbB Rechtsanwälte, Wirtschaftsprüfer, Steuerberater.

New co-publisher

Prof. Dr. Heribert M. Anzinger has been awarded new co-publisher of the well-known Herrmann/Heuer/Raupach, Einkommensteuer- und Körperschaftsteuergesetz commentar.

Doctoral Seminar at Heidelberg University

On the 19th and 20th June the 2015 Doctoral Seminar on International and EU Tax Law took place at the Institute of Public Finance and Tax Law of Heidelberg University in cooperation with the University of Bergamo, the University of Linz, the Catholic University of Louvain, the University of Luxembourg and the University of Valencia. Among the 12 internationally selected Ph.D. candidates two members of the Department of Business and Tax Law, Christoph Pleil and Stefan Schwibinger, had the opportunity to present their main research finding and discuss these with Prof. Dr Gianluigi Bizioli (Bergamo), Prof. Dr. F. Alfredo García Prats (Valencia), Prof. Dr. Werner Haslehner (Luxemburg), Prof. Dr. Georg Kofler (Linz), Prof. Dr. Hanno Kube (Heidelberg), Prof. Dr. Ekkehart Reimer (Heidelberg), Prof. Dr. Edoardo Traversa (Leuven) and Prof. Dr. Heribert Anzinger (Ulm) as well as with further participants of the seminar.

Two keynote lectures by Dr. Péter Darák (President of the Supreme Court (Kúria) of the Republic of Hungary on Taxing Cultures and Tax Dillemmata and Prof. Dr. David Rosenbloom (New York) on the US Reaction to the BEPS Project complemented the seminar and provided valuable insights into current topics of international taxation.

Doctoral Seminar on Corporate Tax and Tax Accounting Law

On November 19th 2014 the first doctoral seminar on corporate tax and tax accounting law took place at the Villa Eberhardt being jointly conducted by Prof. Dr. Susanne Sieker, Department of Civil Law, Trade Law, Tax Law and Commercial Law, Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg and Professor Dr. Heribert M. Anzinger, Institute of Accounting and Auditing, Department of Business and Tax Law, University of Ulm.

PhD students from Halle and Ulm presented their current research and preliminary findings. The findings were discussed with academics as well as practioneers. Valuable comments were provided by Michael Wendt, chief judge at the federal fiscal court, Dr. Dorothee Hallerbach, attorney and tax lawyer in Augsburg and Dr. Thomas Stein, attorney and tax advisor, which contributed significantly to the productive seminar.

Doctoral Seminar at the University of Uppsala

This August a Doctoral Seminar on Comparative Tax Law took place at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. Among the approximately 20 participants from Brazil, Germany, Norway, Poland and Sweden. Mr. Pleil and Mr. Schwibinger, two research associates and PhD candidates of the Department of Business and Taw Law attended.

The participants of the seminar discussed current topics from the area of international taxation with Prof. Bertil Wiman, Prof. Hugh Ault and Prof. John F. Avery Jones among others. The generous financial support of Sonntag & Partner and the Research Foundation Uppsala Center for Taw Law enabled the participation, for which the Department of Business and Tax Law is sincerly grateful.