Tax investigators – court orders strict rules – economy

If the tax office has doubts about the information about a home office, they cannot simply send a tax investigator to pay an unannounced visit. This was decided by the Federal Fiscal Court (BFH) in a judgment published on Thursday (Ref. VIII R 8/19). The prerequisite is that the taxpayer has previously cooperated with the tax authorities, i.e. that he or she can present a floor plan of the apartment on request. If doubts remain, further information such as photos of the study must first be requested, only then can a check be considered. In the case, a tax investigator had unannounced visited the apartment of a self-employed management consultant to clarify questions about her office. That was illegal in view of the protection of the inviolability of the apartment guaranteed in the Basic Law, and the fact that the woman had not objected to the control does not change anything, according to the BFH judges. In addition, an employee of the assessment office should have come to check. The control by a tax inspector could have jeopardized the woman’s reputation if visitors or neighbors overheard and thought she was being prosecuted.

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