Electronic balance

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In Germany, an electronic balance sheet or e-balance sheet is the electronic transmission of a company balance sheet to the responsible tax office . In principle, the contents of the balance sheet and income statement for fiscal years beginning after December 31, 2011 must be transmitted by remote data transmission. For the first business year beginning after December 31, 2011, the tax authorities will not object to the fact that the balance sheet and the profit and loss account for this year have not yet been transmitted by remote data transmission. A balance sheet as well as the profit and loss account can be submitted in paper form in these cases. The legal basis is Section 5b of the Income Tax Act (EStG).

Legal bases

If the profit is determined in accordance with Section 4 (1), Section 5 or Section 5a of the Income Tax Act, the content of the balance sheet and the income statement must be transmitted by remote data transmission according to the officially prescribed data set . If the balance sheet contains items or amounts that do not comply with the tax regulations, these must be adapted to the tax regulations by means of additions or comments; and to be transmitted by remote data transmission according to the officially prescribed data record. Section 150 (7) of the Tax Code applies accordingly. In the event of the opening of the business, the opening balance must be transmitted accordingly.


With the Tax Bureaucracy Reduction Act (SteuBAG), the legislator wants to make tax collection easier and reduce bureaucracy "in the interests of citizens, companies and the state". The electronic transmission of the tax balance should avoid incorrect transfers between the paper form and the stored data, make processes more efficient and create comprehensive data evaluation options for the financial administration.

Content and form

The annual financial statements should be standardized and transmitted electronically. The basis for this can be found in the letters of the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) dated January 19, 2010 and February 3, 2010. The final BMF letter regarding the application of the e-balance comes from September 28, 2011.

As of 2013, the following documents must be submitted to the tax authorities in electronic form as an XBRL data set according to a taxonomy established by the tax authorities:


To avoid undue hardship , taxpayers for whom z. B. the creation of the technical possibilities for remote data transmission would be associated with a not inconsiderable financial outlay, exceptionally send your tax return in paper form to the tax authorities . For this purpose, an application must be submitted to the tax authority responsible for taxation of the company. The regulations for submission in paper form can be found in § 60 EStDV.

For certain taxpayers and special tax balances (e.g. permanent establishments, supplementary balance sheets, etc.), there are initially factual or temporal exceptions.


In principle, taxpayers are obliged to apply the core taxonomy. It represents the standard taxonomy that is independent of the industry and legal form.

The core taxonomy consists of the following variants:

  • Sole proprietorship according to the nature of expense method
  • Corporations according to the nature of expense method
  • Partnerships according to the nature of expense method
  • P&L according to the cost of sales method
  • Other voluntary components of the report

There are also industry taxonomies. Such branch-specific taxonomies are available in the form of special taxonomies, which replace the core taxonomy for certain branches, and in the form of supplementary taxonomies, which are to be used for certain branches in addition to the core taxonomy.

Special taxonomies exist for the following industries:

  • Credit and financial services institutions (RechKredV)
  • Insurance company (RechVersV)
  • Pension fund (RechPensV)
  • Payment institutions (RechZahlV)

There are additional taxonomies for the following industries:

  • Hospitals (KHBV)
  • Care facilities (PBV)
  • Transport company (JAbschlusVuV)
  • Municipal owned enterprises (EBV)
  • Agriculture and forestry (BMEL sample certificate)

The tax taxonomy consists of a GCD module (Global Common Data module), which includes a query of the company's master data, and a GAAP module (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles module), which includes queries about the annual tax financial statements.

The published taxonomy includes the following items:

  • Items that are not allowed in the trade balance
  • Items that are not allowed in the tax balance sheet
  • Mandatory fields
  • Total required fields
  • Catch positions
  • Mathematically necessary positions
  • Voluntary information

The latest version of the taxonomies can be viewed on the STEUERELEKTRONISCH portal of the data center of the financial administration of North Rhine-Westphalia.


  • Federal Ministry of Finance, letter dated September 28, 2011, Az. IV C 6 - S-2133b / 11/10009 (coordinated state decree)
  • Graf Kerssenbrock / Kirch: § 5b EStG: Consequences for companies and advice. In: Die Steuerberatung , No. 6/2012, p. 241ff.
  • Herrfurth / Zwirner: Implement the e-balance sheet now, StuB supplement to issue 7/2013
  • Koch / Nagel / Maltseva: E-balance sheet - changing over efficiently and correctly, 2012. Tips for a successful e-balance changeover .
  • Zwirner / Schmid / König: concrete e-balance sheet, 2012 concrete e-balance sheet

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