German Tax Advice
In Germany, a Steuerberater is a licensed tax advisor who helps you with your taxes. They can help you with all aspects of your personal and business taxes, like filing your taxes, bookkeeping, tax planning, registering your company, and more.
They can also handle payroll related tasks and provide advice on statutory and occupational pensions. A Steuerberater can be a good option if you have a complicated tax situation or need a legal expert to represent you in front of public authorities.
A qualified and licensed Steuerberater is a highly-qualified professional who has passed the state examination called “Steuerberaterprufung”. This exam is normally only taken by well-qualified applicants who already have significant experience in their profession (usually 2 – 10 years, depending on the educational background), which often requires an apprenticeship.
The training of a Steuerberater includes many modules on law, economics and accounting as well as specialized topics in the field of taxation and business. The preparation for the exam takes a lot of time and effort, as it is considered one of the toughest professional exams in Germany.
Unlike attorneys-at-law or certified public accountants, a qualified Steuerberater is allowed to provide their services only in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations. They can only do this self-employed, in an association with other Steuerberater or a qualified attorney-at-law or as an employee of an employer who permits them to do so.
They must work according to a code of conduct and a fee regulation. They must not make false statements or submit incorrect documents.
Their fees are regulated by the government and must not exceed a certain amount. This is why it’s a good idea to ask your Tax Advisor how much they charge.
You can find a qualified and licensed Steuerberater in Berlin by using the search form on the Deutscher Steuerberater Verband or DATEV. There are also search filters to help you find a tax advisor who speaks English or is bilingual.
There are also some software solutions that can replace the functions of a Steuerberater on a day-to-day basis, even if they don’t provide the advice part. For example, Accountable is a free online tool that lets you easily record your income and expenses, prepare your VAT or income tax statement and submit them to tax authorities – all in English!
Alternatively, you can sign up to Sorted’s Starter or Kleinunternehmer plan and be paired with a dedicated tax firm that will help you with all your German taxes. These firms charge a small fee per use, which is transparent in advance.