Digitization of the trade tax assessment notice Relief for 3.9 million companies

From submitting the electronic trade tax return to the legally compliant delivery of the assessment notice in the standardized nationwide company account - the digital trade tax assessment notice is streamlined, paperless and saves time. We got the OZG digitization project rolling.

Uniform, future-proof standards reduce bureaucracy. For example, if companies have to invest less time and money in processing paper-based notifications, there is more scope for innovations "Made in Germany". This is a goal that we are working towards under the leadership of the Hessian Ministry of Finance and the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) in the OZG's Taxes & Customs thematic area. Since April 2023, around 3.9 million companies and over 50,000 tax consultancies and corporate tax departments have been able to request a digital and machine-readable trade tax assessment notice.

We are delighted about the successful cross-state cooperation. This joint project between the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Home Affairs, all 16 federal states and local authorities is already a success story.

Simon Fischbach and Ralph Hikade

Head of Taxes & Customs, Hessian Ministry of Finance

Initial situation and goal

Up to now, there have been 600 different paper formats of trade tax assessment notices in Germany, independently managed by 11,000 local authorities. For large companies with several locations in particular, the manual checking and processing of the notices involves a great deal of effort. The aim of the OZG project is therefore a process without media discontinuity, in which the information and notices relating to trade tax are transmitted digitally. The digitization of administration promises to reduce processing costs for local authorities and simplify handling for companies subject to trade tax and their tax offices.

One format for all

We have done some preparatory work to ensure that the uniform nationwide assessment can be processed from the submission of the trade tax return to delivery to the company's digital mailbox. On behalf of the Hessian Ministry of Finance, we had to moderate and harmonize the various requirements of the 16 federal states, the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Home Affairs (BMI), the pilot municipalities as well as the companies and specialist process manufacturers.

The solution: a standardized nationwide data format based on PDF/A3 for the trade tax assessment notice. The electronic transmission of data via ELSTER transfer was specially upgraded for this purpose. At the same time, we prepared 18 system providers of municipal budget, cash register and accounting systems (HKR system providers) for the conversion of their software - we informed them about the new specifications at an early stage in working groups and supported the development of the interfaces.

Pilot and rollout 

The usability of the new procedure was tested intensively before it was rolled out in all German municipalities. 60 committed municipalities took part in the pilot program. Around 30 of them tested the digital notices together with their HKR system providers and pilot companies.

With positive results, companies and tax consultants can now choose whether they want to receive their trade tax assessment digitally when submitting a trade tax return. If the responsible municipality meets the organizational and technical requirements, they will receive the trade tax assessment in digital form.

As this is not yet possible in many municipalities, the steering group chose an exciting approach to bring supply and demand together: By companies indicating their electronic delivery request in "My ELSTER", the municipalities and federal states receive valuable information on the demand for the new service. Companies do not suffer any disadvantages: Local authorities will automatically continue to send out the familiar paper-based trade tax assessment notice for as long as the switch to the digital format is ongoing.

This means that the local authorities have all the infrastructure components they need for successful and legally compliant electronic notification of digital trade tax assessments - and therefore also for compliance with the Online Access Act.

Shape the digital society of tomorrow with us!

Kijany Velauthan, Ironforge Consulting AG

Kijany Velauthan

Sales Consulting Services