Carsten Butenschön has a problem.

Strictly speaking, the tax advisor even has three problems: after almost two years of pandemic, he can rattle them off the cuff, just like any other representative of his guild.

The triad is: short-time working allowance, corona aid and real estate tax recalculation.

The tax consultants are responsible for everything, in addition to the daily tax filing business.

Corinna Budras

Business correspondent in Berlin.

  • Follow I follow

And on top of that there are the usual difficulties of the population plagued by pandemics: The friction losses of the home office obligation, sick employees and those in quarantine.

“These are enormous additional requirements,” groans Butenschön, in a profession that “is condemned to be diligent”.

In other words: every sloppiness becomes a liability problem.

That is why he and his around 60 colleagues have to check for hundreds of clients whether they can apply for corona aid, although ultimately only 20 percent actually have a claim.

His law firm put 2500 hours into this topic alone.

“The day only has 24 hours,” he complains.

Associations demand longer deadlines for tax advisors

The Berlin tax advisor is not alone with this situation, which is why the associations have been getting involved for some time to relieve the members of the group.

The German Association of Tax Advisors and the Association of Tax Payers (BdSt) are demanding longer deadlines for tax advisors due to the Corona crisis.

Actually, they must have submitted their clients' tax returns for 2020 by the end of May at the latest.

Because of the high workload in the pandemic, this is currently difficult, both emphasize.

They are therefore calling for a postponement until the end of August - just as it was regulated last year.

Reiner Holznagel, President of the Taxpayers' Association, appealed to the Bundestag Finance Committee to extend the deadline again.

The subject is on the agenda for this Wednesday.

The Union parliamentary group is campaigning for an extension and has already submitted a proposal for this.

Whether that will pass is in the stars.

The FPD relies on a long-term concept

Markus Herbrand, financial policy spokesman for the FDP, does not count on it, the request of the Union parliamentary group is well meant, the matter "understandable", as he tells the FAZ. However, a longer-term concept is needed. “The deadlines will be extended,” he promises, but we have to work on a longer-term solution. The problem: Ultimately, for the duration of the Corona crisis, possibly even for several years, the deadline has to be extended into the summer, because otherwise the tax advisors only have nine months for tax returns in the following year instead of one year.

The Association of Tax Advisors explains it like this: Under regular conditions, small and medium-sized law firms need an entire year, i.e. twelve months, to process the current declaration business.

With regard to the extension of the deadline for 2019 to August 31, 2021, the extension of the deadline for 2020 means shortening the usual period for the work cycle to nine months - far too little time also with regard to all the other tasks.

Herbrand also sees the problem.

“We have to get out of this loop,” he says.

"To do this, we have to create an interim solution with which you can grow out of the deadline extension over a longer period of time." He expects that this regulation will be anchored in the Corona Tax Aid Act IV, which the Federal Ministry of Finance is currently working on.

The new calculation of property tax is a mammoth task

In addition to the problems in coping with the Corona crisis, there are also other tasks such as readjusting the property tax that tax advisors have to deal with: Tax advisor Butenschön started the process of recalculating property tax in December.

This mammoth task is not owed to the pandemic, but to a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court four years ago.

At that time, the Karlsruhe constitutional judge ruled that the property tax needed a general overhaul after more than 50 years, because the current system leads to serious inequality in the valuation of property.

Ultimately, what must be made up for in times of pandemics, of all things, is what the legislature has neglected for decades.

Carsten Butenschön has already written to thousands of clients about this.

He expects the main burden of this task in the second half of the year, but already now he has to make preparatory work: Software training and familiarization with the new legal matter already demand a lot from colleagues.

Keywords: