Reich Tax Code

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Basic data
Title: Reich Tax Code
Abbreviation: RAO
Type: Federal law
Scope: Federal Republic of Germany
Legal matter: Tax law , tax procedural law
References : 610-1 aF
Original version from: December 13, 1919
( RGBl. S. 1993)
Entry into force on: December 23, 1919
New announcement from: May 22, 1931
(RGBl. I p. 161)
Last change by: Art. 3 G of 25 July 1975
( Federal Law Gazette I, p. 1973, 1974 )
Effective date of the
last change:
August 1, 1975
(Art. 6 G of July 25, 1975)
Expiry: January 1, 1977
(Art. 96 No. 1 EG AO of
December 14, 1976,
Federal Law Gazette I p. 3341, 3380 )
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The Reich Tax Code (RAO) was passed on December 13, 1919 and served as a blanket law to summarize the individual tax regulations in the German Reich after the First World War . It was designed by Enno Becker .

In the empire there was no uniform tax law, since taxes were largely due to the individual states . In addition to customs duties, the empire only had a small number of consumption taxes , the processing of which was standardized in the respective tax laws.

With the First World War , the Reich's financial needs increased massively. The Reich now raised taxes to a much higher degree, so that there was a need to combine the existing individual tax regulations in a uniform blanket law. As a result of the Erzberger financial and tax reform of 1919/20, among other things, an abolition of the matriculation fees was achieved in the RAO , whereby the central state was no longer boarder of the states .

Another major innovation was the introduction of the tax courts (the Reichsfinanzhof had already been introduced by law of July 26, 1918). In Part 3, the RAO also codified a uniform criminal tax law for the first time , which was previously only standardized as an appendix to the respective individual tax laws. It gave the tax and customs authorities the right to punish offenses against the laws administered by them with fines through submission negotiations or through a penalty notice with the option of a judge's decision.

The RAO's system was praised in the literature.

In West Germany , the pre-constitutional law remained in force and was not replaced by the current tax code until January 1, 1977 , which is largely based on the RAO.
In the GDR, the Reich Tax Code was revised on September 18, 1970 and reissued as
the GDR Tax Code on September 18, 1970.


  • Becker, Enno: The Reich Tax Code of December 13, 1919 together with the Implementing Ordinance, Explanatory Hand Edition, Berlin 1922.
  • Cordes, Helmut: Investigations into the foundations and development of the Reich Tax Code of December 13, 1919, Diss., 1971.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. RGBl. 1919 No. 242 p. 1993
  2. ^ Sandra Duda: Tax law in the state budget system of the GDR. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2010, ISBN 978-3-631-61305-4 , pp. 101-106 Limited preview at, accessed on August 26, 2018.