Income tax is illegal

Who can help you with your tax return - and who you can help with

A tax advisor costs money, so it is natural to first deal with your own tax return - and perhaps hope for a few tips and help from parents, friends or fellow students. Unfortunately, not everyone is officially allowed to help with the tax return.

The Tax Advisory Act is very strict and stipulates exactly who is allowed to help with the preparation of a tax return. You are particularly interested in tax consultants, tax agents and lawyers as well as income tax aid associations. And of course your parents and other family members, because they have been dealing with the topic for a few years!

who is allowed to help and who is not, free help

Even the otherwise strict Tax Advisory Act allows relatives to help each other with tax returns without pay.

Who you can help and who can help you:

  • Spouse

  • Fiancée

  • Parents, in-laws, children, grandparents, grandchildren

  • Siblings (also half siblings)

  • nieces and nephews

  • Brother-in-law or sister-in-law

  • uncle and aunt

  • Foster parents and foster children

  • divorced spouses

You can fill out the tax forms for these relatives (and vice versa). You can then also identify yourself as recognizable on the coat sheet (state your family relationship!) And contact the tax office in writing or by telephone on behalf of the relative.

Helping fellow students, work colleagues or friends with tax returns is an administrative offense - whether with or without payment. Anyone caught pays a fine of up to € 5,000. The tax office often discovers the unauthorized help because the work colleague or friend states the costs for it in his tax return as tax consultancy costs. So you should definitely avoid that!

An occasional tip is of course not an administrative offense. But the tax office does not accept regular help and active support.

who gets help there and who the wage tax aid association is not allowed to advise, costs

Income tax relief associations (sometimes one reads too) help their members, for example, with the income tax return as well as with questions and applications relating to child benefit and maintenance. You are only allowed to help employees, not the self-employed.

As a member of an income tax aid association, you pay an annual contribution, which often depends on the amount of your income - if you earn little, you only pay a small contribution. Sometimes there is also an admission fee, but it is usually not very high (around € 10 to € 20). Overall, the costs are significantly lower than those of a tax advisor.

The employees of the income tax aid association are at your side all year round at no additional charge: They advise, prepare your tax return, calculate what you will get back (or have to pay back), check the tax assessment, file an objection if the tax assessment contains errors and even submit it File a lawsuit in front of the tax court if this appears necessary.

Tax advisors do not normally work in the wage tax aid associations, but instead, for example, tax specialists or business economists. Income tax relief associations are recognized and monitored by a supervisory authority.

By the way: Some professional associations also help their members to a certain extent with the preparation of tax returns. So if you z. B. If you are a member of a trade union, find out if there is an income tax service there that can help you.

when it's worth it and what it costs

The tax advisor or lawyer is the most expensive help you can get - but well worth the money in complicated cases.

The payment of the tax advisor (and also a tax agent and a tax consultancy company) depends on the amount of your income and the scope of the issues to be dealt with. An extensive tax return with many items is more expensive than a simple one in which only the cover sheet and Appendix N are needed.

With his price list, the tax advisor must adhere to the tax advisor remuneration ordinance (it was previously called the tax advisor fee ordinance, maybe you've read or heard this somewhere). The Lawyers' Remuneration Act applies to lawyers. This is structured in a similar way to the tax advisor remuneration ordinance, so that in the following text we will simply speak of the tax advisor remuneration ordinance.

In order to determine the costs yourself based on the tax advisor remuneration ordinance, some arithmetic work is required. Because in Table A / Appendix 1 of the regulation is always the one that may be invoiced for an object value (specified in euros). For example, the tax advisor only receives part of this fee for preparing a tax return - this in turn is stated in Section 24 of the ordinance. And before the actual creation - i.e. just filling out the forms - the tax advisor must have already worked, for which he can of course also ask for money.


Your income is € 30,000 and you have a very simple tax case: just this income from a job as an employee plus a few income-related expenses, for example for the trip to work.

For this item value of € 30,000, the full fee according to the table is € 796. For the preparation of the tax return, the tax advisor receives 1/10 to 6/10 of the full fee (depending on how difficult the tax return was), i.e. a minimum of € 79.60 and a maximum of € 477.60. In practice, many cases are classified as and billed at 3.5 / 10 - in this case € 278.60.

Before he prepares the tax return, the tax advisor must calculate how much you have to pay tax - in the simplest case, deduct the advertising costs and a few flat rates from your income. The fee for determining the excess of income over income-related expenses is 1/20 to 12/20 of a full fee according to Table A (Appendix 1). That comes on top of the creation costs. In addition, there are expenses for postage, copies and the like as well as sales tax (19%).