Income tax

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Historical income tax: highest tax rates in four industrialized countries (1900–2013). Data from Thomas Piketty .

Income tax (or profit tax ) is the generic term for income , corporation and trade tax . The contrast is the cost taxes .


With the - not legally used - term of income taxes it is conveyed that this type of tax taxes the " income ", i.e. the income or the profit . The three types of income tax, income tax, corporation tax and trade tax are each regulated in their own laws , namely in the Income Tax Act , Corporation Tax Act and Trade Tax Act . From these laws arises the duty of taxpayers to pay corresponding income taxes. While corporation and trade tax are purely corporate taxes, income tax (and church tax) also tax non-entrepreneurial natural persons such as employees . Income taxes also form a contrast to the real and property taxes , for taxation is therefore on asset growth to an inflow of cash or in goods addressed. A turnover in the market is faked in the case of tax evasion .


The three income tax laws, income tax law, corporate tax law and trade tax law have different tax objects and assessment bases , as the following list shows:

Tax type Taxable person Assessment basis
Income tax natural people Taxable income ( Section 2 (5) EStG)
Corporation tax Corporations ( corporations such as AG, GmbH, SE) Taxable income ( Section 7 (1) and (2) KStG)
Business tax Commercial establishments Commercial income ( §§ 6 and 7 GewStG)

In the case of companies , these types of tax are to be shown in the income statement according to Section 275 (2) No. 18 HGB ( total cost method ) or Section 275 (3) No. 17 HGB ( cost of sales method ) as “taxes on income”. According to the position in this breakdown, they are not cost taxes, but are considered income or profit taxes that are to be covered from profit.

Role of business tax

The role of trade tax, which is often attributed to cost taxes - and not to income taxes - in cost accounting is controversial . For Konrad Mellerowicz , the trade tax is fully a cost tax, because it represents operational consumption that is inextricably linked to the existence of the business. Even Erich Gutenberg was of the opinion that the business tax is a cost control. If , according to Günter Wöhe , the trade tax is attributable to the trade capital, it is considered a cost tax, the profit-related remainder is a price-effective expense tax. From a tax point of view, trade tax as a real tax has not been a cost tax since 2005, as it is no longer considered a business expense (Section 4 (5b) EStG). As a result, trade tax constitutes an effective tax burden on income taxes and can no longer be qualified as cost tax. The more recent literature counts the trade tax among the income taxes. If it is nevertheless understood as a cost tax from an economic point of view, it must be factored into the prices and does not burden the company, but its customers .

According to No. 30 of the Annex to Regulation PR No. 30/53 on prices for public contracts (“Guidelines for determining prices based on cost”), this also applies to the trade tax that is included in the calculation for orders billed at cost to the public sector may be taken into account.

Individual evidence

  1. Andreas Dinkelbach: Income Taxes , 2009, p. 6 .
  2. Konrad Mellerowicz: General Business Administration , Volume 2. 1954, p. 35 .
  3. Erich Gutenberg: Introduction to Business Administration , 1958, p. 136 .
  4. ^ Günter Wöhe: Business Taxation , Volume II, 2nd half volume. 1990, p. 56.
  5. Peter Glanegger, Georg Güroff: Comment on Trade Tax Law , 2006, § 1 Rn. 15th
  6. ^ Gerd Rose: Die Income Taxes , 2001, p. 22 .