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Law and taxation

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Business Law


Honourable businessman.
The Chambers of Commerce and Industry are required by law to ensure the decency and morality of the "honourable businessman" (§1 para 1 of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Law – IHKG). The "honourable businessman" is a concept which should not be dealt with in Sunday sermons. The aim is to fill the "honourable businessman" with life. The DIHK is therefore committed to acting against unfair competition, as well as product and brand piracy, works to prevent and combat corruption and supports commercial mediation and arbitration. The DIHK fundamentally supports all efforts whose aim is to promote the "honourable businessman".

Free and fair competition. Like economic freedom, free competition is a fundamental principle of the market economy. The DIHK views critically all endeavours which might restrict competition. These include not only cartel agreements, but also restrictions on the cross-border movement of goods and services, contract award criteria which are anti-competitive, such as loyalty to tariffs and gender quotas, excessive consumer protection and advertising bans. Instead, the DIHK stands up for free and fair competition.

Economic freedom. "Everyone is permitted to operate a business". This is the concise manner in which the first sentence of the Trade Regulation Act (GewO) describes one of the most important principles of our economic system. The DIHK considers one of its most important tasks to be the defense of freedom of trade against increasing restrictions. Freedom of trade stimulates the competition for customers, encourages competition for the best ideas and keeps prices in check. Experience shows that the call for restrictions – even if it is always made for reasons which serve the common good – rings out in the interests of individuals or specific sectors of industry as a rule. As the representatives of the common interests of the industrial economy, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry wish in contrast to take into account the interests of all companies and sectors – also as the consumers of commercial services.

Freedom of contract. The DIHK is committed to the validity of the principle of freedom of contract – the freedom to enter into contracts with persons of one's own choice and with the contents of one's own choosing. It acknowledges that it may be necessary to restrict the freedom of contract – particularly where contractual parties participate in the market with different levels of assertiveness or experience. However, it does constantly check whether the restrictions have a legitimate purpose and whether they are necessary, appropriate and proportionate. This is the legal policy guideline of the DIHK – in the interests of all commercial enterprises.

Taxation


Taxes – the daily jungle.
Companies are confronted every day with the tax law: income, corporation and income tax, turnover tax, trade tax, property tax, etc. They are required to apply the current law. And this it is not easy. The tax laws are the laws which are changed most often – several hundred adjustments every year in total. But that is not enough. For the interpretation of the tax laws and regulations the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) issues every week on average a "BMF circular" containing between 2 and 500 pages.

The DIHK cuts a swath through the jungle – for all companies The DIHK represents the interests of companies before any planned changes to the law. To this purpose the DIHK determines the degree to which business will be affected and can submit a balanced opinion when advising politicians – regardless of the size of the company. This is particularly appreciated by the members of the national and state parliaments, as well as the finance ministries. Because almost all tax laws are federal laws which also have to be approved by the Bundesrat. In the legislative documents of the Federal Ministry of Finance, the approval of the Finance Ministries of the German states is also always required.

No profit, yet still liable for tax? The DIHK does not agree. Excessive taxes place a great burden on companies – irrespective of whether they generate a profit or not. The DIHK is therefore expressly committed to the abolition of trade tax with its elements which are independent of income (additions), to ensuring that business succession is not made more difficult by inheritance tax and that no new taxes on assets are introduced. And: with almost every change to the law the DIHK calls for simplification – and therefore a reduction in compliance costs – from the legislators and fiscal authorities so that the tax jungle does not become even more overgrown.

Close to the companies, close to tax policy. The possibility of quickly receiving expert information from the political decision-makers and informing companies promptly about the many changes to tax law is one of the strengths of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry organisation with its presence across-the-board.

For a solid budget, for the benefit of companies. Taxes are only one side of public budgets. For this reason the DIHK is also firmly committed to budget consolidation by reducing government spending. As a result it is possible to do without tax increases which would place a further burden on the German economy. Companies are then willing to invest in Germany as a business location and maintain jobs. The public sector keeps its tax revenues and can therefore finance the tasks it needs to carry out.

 

Register of Experts

IHK-SachverständigenverzeichnisThe German nationwide register of experts contains information of many thousands of public experts appointed and attested from chambers of commerce, architectural associations, chambers of engineer and chambers of agriculture also as federal state government:

http://svv.ihk.de