Professional association

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A professional association is a corporation under private law which, as an interest group, aims to represent and promote the interests of a specific profession . Larger professional associations can include regional or thematic sub-organizations (sections, working groups, working groups).


Professional associations work externally on the assumption that the bundling of the interests of as many members of a particular profession as possible improves the possibility of enforcing these interests vis-à-vis the contractual partners of the professional practitioners (e.g. employers, clients, public authorities, legislators) and the general public through lobbying work.

Internally, professional associations usually see themselves as a forum on which job-specific questions can be raised, discussed and clarified. In return for the membership fee to be paid, professional associations usually offer their members preferential access to professionally relevant information, training and further education opportunities and other benefits.

A definition of professional associations is given by tax law in the corporate tax directive (R 5.7 paragraph 1, KStR 2015). Accordingly, trade unions can also be professional associations.

Membership of natural persons

In contrast to traditional associations , the admission of a natural person is usually linked to formal conditions , such as proof of professional training or equivalent professional experience. People in a corresponding training can also become members - in some associations this is not yet a full membership.

In some professional associations, other professions are permitted in addition to the professions specified in the association name according to the statutes. For example, an engineer can also become a member of the Gesellschaft für Informatik (GI). This is not a contradiction in terms, since computer scientists are a subspecies of engineers according to science .

It often happens that a person is a member of more than one professional association. In order to keep the financial burdens within limits, professional associations offer their members a financially reduced "double membership" or "cooperative membership" as a further characteristic compared to typical associations.

In addition to the formal requirements , the natural person must also meet the content requirements by supporting the common goals.

Chambers , some with compulsory membership, are another form of professional association and interest representation.

Tax relief

Professional associations are tax -privileged , similar to non-profit corporations . You are tax-exempt (but not for economic activities) according to Section 5 (1) No. 5 of the Corporation Tax Act . Professional associations submit a corresponding tax return and are then recognized by the local tax office on the basis of the declaration.

Contributions to professional associations can be deducted from tax as income- related expenses ( Section 9 Paragraph 1 Clause 3 No. 3 Income Tax Act ) or business expenses, but not donations. Professional associations may support political parties with up to 10 percent of their income ( Section 5 (1) of the Corporate Income Tax Act ) and are not subject to any restrictions on their political work.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. See Corporate Income Tax Guidelines 2015, on § 5 KStG, R 5.7 Professional associations without public law character