From an automated tax assessment notice to a fully automated judge?
16th Ulm Colloquium for Business and Tax Law

Ulm University

Digitalisation doesn’t even stop at the judiciary. Legal chat bots and other AI-based algorithms are already doing their part to help prepare legal decisions. Could automated machines even replace judges in the future? The 16th Ulm Colloquium for Business and Tax Law addresses questions such as these. Professor Rudolf Mellinghoff, president of the Federal Fiscal Court (Bundesfinanzhof), will provide stimulation for discussion on these issues. His lecture, “Tax enforcement and judicial control in the age of digitalisation”, will be held at Ulm University in Research Building N27 on Wednesday, 17 July (6:00 pm). The lecture is free of charge.

Rudolf Mellinghoff, a former judge on the German Federal Constitutional Court (second senate), is an honorary professor at Tübingen University and the editor of a major commentary on income tax law. In his lecture, the president of the Federal Fiscal Court will be addressing the controversially discussed question of algorithm transparency and human reservation. Is it necessary to disclose how algorithms work? And if so, who stands to benefit from it? What role can, and should, the human factor play in automated decision making? The lecture will also focus on the effects of automation of the law in connection with separation of powers and justice. Mellinghoff calls particular attention to current developments in tax law.

Digitalisation of the law even impacts the judiciary

“In Germany, a fully-automated tax assessment notice already exists. And even today, facts that are relevant from a tax law perspective are being automatically collected via third parties, without the involvement of taxpayers. Algorithms control the inspection of tax declarations and determine the amount of tax due. Indeed, digitalisation of the law has even made an impact on tax law court proceedings”, explains host Professor Heribert Anzinger from the Institute of Accounting and Auditing. Professor Anzinger organised the event together with Professor Brigitte Zürn, honorary professor at Ulm University and director of the Ulm Economics Forum. The “Competence Centre for Explainability, Fairness and Acceptability of Intelligent Systems” (EFA) at Ulm University is involved in providing the content for this event. The EFA examines questions on technical and social aspects of digitalisation from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The Ulm Colloquium for Economic and Tax Law is a platform at Ulm University for current judicial and legal policy questions in the area of business and tax law. It provides a place for discourse between scientists and experts from the field, such as tax advisors, attorneys, accountants, notaries, and those involved in the justice system and administration. Students are also welcome, as are interested parties from clubs, associations or businesses. Anyone who is interested is invited to attend, and entrance is free of charge. Registration is requested (by Monday, 15 July).

Text and Mediacontact: Andrea Weber-Tuckermann

Prof. Rudolf Mellinghoff
Prof Rudolf Mellinghoff, president of the Federal Fiscal Court (Photo: Daniel Schvarcz / Federal Fiscal Court)