Federal Fiscal Court

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GermanyGermany Federal
Fiscal Court - BFH -p1
Federal eagle of the German federal organs
State level Federation
position Federal Supreme Court
Supervisory body (s) Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection
Consist since 1950
Headquarters Munich
management Rudolf Mellinghoff , President of the Federal Fiscal Court
Website www.bundesfinanzhof.de

The Federal Fiscal Court ( BFH ), based in Munich, is the highest court for tax and customs matters and as such is one of the five highest courts of law in the Federal Republic of Germany alongside the Federal Court of Justice , the Federal Administrative Court , the Federal Labor Court and the Federal Social Court .

Like the Federal Court of Justice and the Federal Administrative Court, the Federal Fiscal Court is subordinate to the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) and is subject to its general supervision. In its work as a court, however, it is independent. Until 1970, the Federal Finance Court was subordinate to the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF), which in some cases led to the accusation of "domestic jurisdiction".


The Federal Fiscal Court is the highest instance of financial jurisdiction . It is one of the highest federal courts established in accordance with Article 95 of the Basic Law. His jurisdiction extends to tax and customs matters; However, that requires more than tax proceedings, as criminal proceedings of the ordinary courts are assigned. The Federal Fiscal Court must not be confused with the Federal Audit Office . This controls the spending behavior of the state and its institutions, while the Federal Fiscal Court can be called upon by the individual taxpayer in the last instance.

In addition to tax matters in the strict sense, the Federal Fiscal Court is also responsible for the final decisions on home ownership allowances , investment allowances and professional law matters for tax advisors. Since the system change from family burden equalization to child benefit equalization, the Federal Fiscal Court has also been responsible for child benefit matters. Since then, child benefit has had a double function: On the one hand, it serves to exempt the minimum child subsistence level from income tax and, on the other hand, as a social benefit to promote the family. In this respect, in addition to the final decision in tax matters, the Federal Fiscal Court is of great importance in terms of social law.

The Federal Fiscal Court primarily acts as an appeal court . In this function, he decides on appeals against the judgments of the tax courts . In addition, as a court of appeal, it decides on the legal remedy of the appeal against certain decisions of the tax courts.

As a court of appeal, the Federal Fiscal Court has a special responsibility for the further development of the law and the maintenance of the uniformity of case law. In addition, the Federal Fiscal Court is involved in the proceedings of the Federal Constitutional Court. In tax law proceedings that are brought before the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Fiscal Court gives the Federal Constitutional Court an opinion, which is taken into account in the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court.

The peculiarity of the legal process in the financial jurisdiction is that there are only two instances here. After the complaint before the tax court has been rejected, the BFH can be appealed directly to the appeal. However, the prerequisite is that the tax court has approved the appeal to the Federal Finance Court in its judgment. If this is not the case, a complaint can be submitted to the Federal Fiscal Court, the so-called non-admission complaint , with the application to allow the appeal. If the Federal Fiscal Court allows the appeal to be revised, the procedure is immediately continued as an appeal procedure.

In addition to the complaint due to non-admission of the revision, the tax court regulations also recognize the complaint in other cases, in particular against decisions of the tax court, unless the complaint is expressly denied by law.

The legal remedy of the hearing complaint was created, with which only the violation of the right to be heard can be asserted (Section 133a Financial Court Regulations). In addition, the so-called counter-presentation is recognized, which can be raised informally. However, since the Federal Constitutional Court has strict requirements for the so-called clarity of legal remedies in the area of ​​legal remedies, the admissibility of the counter-presentation in specialist literature is questioned. The BFH has recently decided that the counter-submission is only permissible against amendable decisions, i. H. Decisions that do not have material legal force and only if serious legal violations are reprimanded. The so-called extraordinary complaint was previously recognized. With regard to the newly created complaint, the BFH no longer recognizes the extraordinary complaint.


The Bundesfinanzhof was established in 1950 in the tradition of the Reichsfinanzhof . However, this tradition is only of a formal nature, not a substantive one. Several presidents of the Federal Fiscal Court have repeatedly distanced themselves from decisions by the Reich Fiscal Court. A plaque inside the building is a reminder of the rulings of the Reich Finance Court, which uncritically understood the political guidelines of the National Socialist leadership. Particular mention should be made of the rulings on the so-called Reich Flight Tax, which was even levied on politically displaced persons.

Since December 2004, the BFH has been participating in the electronic court and administrative mailbox project together with the Federal Administrative Court . Briefs and other documents can be legally transmitted in electronic form to all participating courts and authorities quickly and securely. Participation in negotiations by the Federal Fiscal Court via video conference is not yet possible.


Federal Fiscal Court in Munich

The Bundesfinanzhof, like the Reichsfinanzhof before , is housed in a historically interesting, listed building in the middle of an idyllic park on Ismaninger Strasse in the Bogenhausen district of Munich . In the previous building, the Montgelasschlössl , the Bogenhausen contract was signed in 1805 .

The so-called Fleischerschlösschen was built by Ernst Philipp Fleischer , a paint manufacturer and panorama painter, as a gallery and exhibition building. It was the largest example of an artist's residence in Munich, increased to the size of a castle. The building was also intended to serve as a community house with an attached picture gallery. Heilmann & Littmann designed the building from 1909 as a neo-baroque palace with house fronts, central projections and corner towers. Originally, a studio was planned in the north of the building, but this soon fell victim to the need to save. The construction had to be stopped completely in 1911 due to lack of money. After the First World War , the German Reich acquired the ruins and had them remodeled and expanded into the Reichsfinanzhof.

Significant works of contemporary and modern art are exhibited inside the building. The well-kept park is not open to the public.

Court organization and tribunal

The cases brought before the Federal Fiscal Court are decided by senates. The cases are divided among the individual senates according to subject areas and sometimes also according to letter criteria. There are currently eleven senates in place.

Judge of the Federal Fiscal Court

The judges of the Federal Fiscal Court are elected for life by the Judges' Election Committee of the German Bundestag and appointed by the Federal President. Currently (as of 2019) 59 judges work at the BFH, of which 16, i.e. 27 percent, are women.

Business distribution

In general terms, the Senates of the Federal Fiscal Court (as of 2018) have the following responsibilities:

I. Senate: Corporate income tax, external tax law, double taxation
II. Senate: Inheritance tax, real estate transfer tax, property tax
III. Senate: Individual traders, child benefits, investment allowances, vehicle tax
IV. Senate: Partnerships
V. Senate: Sales tax, corporation tax and trade tax (tax exemptions)
VI. Senate: Income tax, extraordinary burdens, agriculture and forestry
VII. Senate: Customs and excise taxes, market regulation , tax advice law, general tax law
VIII. Senate: Income from self-employment, income from capital
IX. Senate: Rental and leasing, private sales
X. Senate: Individual traders, special expenses, retirement income and pensions
XI. Senate: Sales tax, corporation tax

Of particular importance are the III. and the VI. Senate, because their judgments affect practically every tax citizen and the broad impact is enormous. With the collective bargaining law, z. B. the rising progression curve and the spouse splitting, and the child benefit are affected by this almost every tax citizen and every family. In addition, the investment allowance, for which the III. Senate is responsible for the economic development of the entire accession area of ​​the former GDR of the utmost importance. The VI. Senate decides in all wage tax disputes, e.g. B. the deduction for income-related expenses. This affects all employees. The other senates of the Federal Fiscal Court often only affect the individual indirectly, as they essentially only decide disputes between companies or about certain types of income.

If there are different views on legal issues between the Senates, the Grand Senate is called upon. The Grand Senate consists of the President of the Federal Fiscal Court and one judge from each of the Senates in which the President does not preside. Its decisions set the course for future legal developments and often form the basis for future action by the legislature.

Presidents and Vice Presidents

President of the Federal Fiscal Court
No. Name (life data) Beginning of the term of office Term expires
1 Heinrich Schmittmann (1878–1956) October 21, 1950 April 30, 1951
2 Hans Müller (1884–1961) April 21, 1951 December 31, 1954
3 Ludwig Heßdörfer (1894–1988) March 26, 1955 January 31, 1962
4th Wolfgang Mersmann (1902–1973) April 13, 1962 June 30, 1970
5 Hugo von Wallis (1910–1993) July 1, 1970 April 30, 1978
6th Heinrich List (1915-2018) May 2, 1978 March 31, 1983
7th Franz Klein (1929-2004) April 1, 1983 September 30, 1994
8th Klaus Offerhaus (1934-2019) October 1, 1994 October 31, 1999
9 Iris Ebling (* 1940) November 5, 1999 May 31, 2005
10 Wolfgang Spindler (* 1946) June 1, 2005 March 31, 2011
11 Rudolf Mellinghoff (* 1954) October 31, 2011 July 31, 2020
Vice President of the Federal Fiscal Court
No. Name (life data) Beginning of the term of office Term expires
1 Walther Ansorge (1886–1967) February 25, 1956 April 30, 1956
2 Werner Paasche (1887–1958) May 24, 1956 December 31, 1956
3 Martin Roederer (1893–1968) January 1, 1957 April 30, 1960
4th Hermann Wennrich (1892–1974) May 1, 1960 September 30, 1960
5 Fritz Hoffmann (1895–1975) December 16, 1960 January 31, 1963
6th Klemens Rogge (1895–1980) February 27, 1963 December 31, 1963
7th Rudolf Grieger (1905–1996) January 30, 1964 January 16, 1966
8th Wilhelm Otto (1900–1950) 17th January 1966 March 31, 1968
9 Günther Wauer (1906–1985) April 24, 1968 May 31, 1974
10 Heinrich List (1915-2018) 1st October 1974 May 1, 1978
11 Günther Knopp (1913–1986) May 1, 1978 March 31, 1981
12 Karl-Heinz Nissen (1918-2000) April 1, 1981 November 30, 1986
13 Claus Grimm (1923-2008) 1st December 1986 October 31, 1990
14th Klaus Offerhaus (1934-2019) November 1, 1990 September 30, 1994
15th Albert Beermann (* 1933) October 1, 1994 January 31, 1998
16 Klaus Ebling (* 1935) February 1, 1998 October 31, 1999
17th Wolfgang Spindler (* 1946) January 28, 2000 May 31, 2005
18th Wilfried Wagner (* 1942) June 1, 2005 December 31, 2007
19th Hermann-Ulrich Viskorf (* 1950) January 8, 2008 July 31, 2015
20th Silvia Schuster (* 1952) April 1, 2016 June 30, 2018
21st Christine Meßbacher-Hönsch (* 1955) April 9, 2019


There is compulsory postulation before the Federal Fiscal Court, d. H. those involved must be represented by authorized agents (tax advisors, lawyers or auditors). This also applies to procedural acts through which proceedings are initiated before the Federal Fiscal Court (Section 62 (4) FGO).


  • Bundesfinanzhof: 60 years of the Bundesfinanzhof. A chronicle 1950–2010. Stollfuß, Bonn 2010, ISBN 978-3-08-470510-8 .

See also

Web links

Commons : Bundesfinanzhof  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Bundesfinanzhof  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Business allocation plan of the Federal Fiscal Court
  2. Bundesfinanzhof - Distribution of responsibilities 2015 (accessed on May 21, 2015)
  3. Bundesfinanzhof - Distribution of responsibilities (accessed on October 9, 2018)

Coordinates: 48 ° 8 ′ 57 ″  N , 11 ° 36 ′ 20 ″  E