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Power of attorney for tax advisors: Everything you need to know

Written by Sophia Merzbach, creative writer and content producer
Updated on
Read in 5 minutes

Tax matters require self-employed professionals to have either in-depth tax knowledge, comprehensive tax software or professional advice from tax advisors or accountants. To avoid procedural errors and save time, you can therefore issue a power of attorney for tax advisors.

We explain when a power of attorney is worthwhile, what content and authorisations it includes and also, how you can revoke the power of attorney for the tax advisor.

What is a power of attorney for tax advisors?

Even when you work hard to do your bookkeeping right, complete all documentation and digital document management, tax issues can cause uncertainty. Have you thought of everything in your tax return? Have you taken advantage of all tax benefits and fulfilled your tax obligations?

It is totally fine to handle your bookkeeping and tax issues by yourself. But it’s also possible to work with a tax advisor if you have doubts or don’t have enough time for tax matters alongside your day-to-day business. In that case, you have the possibility of giving the power of attorney to your tax advisor.

A power of attorney authorises your tax advisor to represent you in tax matters vis-à-vis the Finanzamt (tax office). The power of attorney covers all tax-related activities that are within the scope of the power of attorney or have been expressly agreed.

What types of powers of attorney for tax advisors are there?

In general, a distinction can be made between the Verfahrensvollmacht (power of attorney for proceedings) and the Bekanntgabevollmacht (power of attorney for disclosure):

Authorised tax advisors are permitted to take all tax-related actions required for tax matters on your behalf.Authorised tax advisors can receive tax-related notices and administrative files from the Finanzamt (tax office) on your behalf.

As a rule, it is advisable to issue both the power of attorney for proceedings and the power of attorney for disclosure. Please note that the power of attorney for disclosure is not automatically part of a power of attorney for tax advisors and must be issued separately. This also applies to powers of attorney for debt collection.

What actions does a tax power of attorney cover?

The actions and matters covered by a power of attorney depend on whether you issue it in an unrestricted or restricted form. An unrestricted power of attorney has the following powers of action and decision-making:

Representation towards the Finanzamt (tax office)

The authorised representative is entitled to take the following actions as your representative when in contact with the Finanzamt (tax office):

  • Submitting and receiving declarations of any kind on your behalf (e.g. income tax return, VAT return or trade tax)
  • Filing applications in main and follow-up tax proceedings
  • Representation in the context of tax audits or cash register inspections
  • Filing or withdrawal of out-of-court legal remedies (e.g. appeals) or waiver of rights
  • Out-of-court negotiations of any kind
  • Submission of tax returns

Data access

Other authorisations include data retrieval, data access and file inspection in connection with tax-relevant data. This includes access to your tax account, the pre-filled tax return, the VAT return and tax data filed with the Finanzamt. If it is relevant to tax matters, the tax advisor can also inspect your bank documents.

💡Tip from Accountable: Do you want in contrast to retain full control over your personal tax matters? Then Accountable offers you a solution for all tax obligations – from the unique AI Assistant to the preparation of correct tax returns and bookkeeping. Try it now for free.

When does your tax advisor need a power of attorney?

If you issue your tax advisor with a power of attorney depends on various factors. The main reasons include:

  • You want to save time and effort, leave tax issues to experts and concentrate on your core freelance work
  • You want tax-related activities such as tax returns or VAT returns to be correct and complete
  • You want to utilise potential tax savings and try to optimise your tax returns
  • You want to make it easier for your tax advisor to access your tax information or represent you in cases with the Finanzamt or in the event of tax audits
  • Incidentally, you can also issue a power of attorney for your tax advisor vis-à-vis your health insurance company if you want to reduce bureaucratic effort and avoid errors here, too.

💡Tip from Accountable: Please note that even with an authorised representative, you are still responsible for the content and accuracy of your tax return and tax declarations! So even when working with a tax advisor it’s advisable to keep track of your bookkeeping and tax returns yourself. Software like Accountable can help.

Power of attorney for tax advisors: free samples online

To issue a power of attorney, you can use online templates for power of attorney. This will ensure that you fulfil the legal requirements in terms of form and content. Written proof of authorisation may be required if the Finanzamt has reasonable doubts about representation by tax advisors.

You can usually find free samples and templates for power of attorney declarations on the online platforms of your Finanzamt office in your respective region.

Make sure your written power of attorney contains the following details:

  • Form: In accordance with § 167 Abs. 2 BGB, no specific form is required for the granting of a power of attorney. It can be made in writing or verbally. However, in order to protect yourself in legal matters, it is always advisable to use a written form and official power of attorney templates.
  • Content: The power of attorney must clearly state to whom the power of attorney is granted, for which unrestricted or restricted powers of action and to whom.
  • Proof: From the perspective of authorised tax advisors, it is advisable to insist on a written power of attorney in order to be able to prove the power of representation. Without proof, authorised representatives are considered to be representatives without power of representation, which can lead to claims for performance or damages in the event of legal disputes.
  • Transmission: Authorisations can be transmitted to the Finanzamt both in writing and electronically in accordance with § 80a AO.

💡Tip from Accountable: If you also want to authorise your tax advisor to receive the official tax assessments by your Finanzamt, a separate power of attorney is required.

Authorise a tax consultant via the power of attorney database

The Vollmachtsdatenbank (power of attorney database) is an online platform of the Bundessteuerberaterkammer (federal chamber of tax advisors), which tax advisors use to electronically record, transmit and manage sample powers of attorney issued to tax authorities.

The use of unchanged official templates for a power of attorney is mandatory in writing via the Vollmachtsdatenbank. You are therefore not permitted to make any changes to templates. In any case, the modern transmission procedure makes it easier for authorised representatives to issue powers of attorney and protects both parties against the tax authorities in case of doubt.

Revoke authorisation for your tax advisor

If you wish to revoke your tax advisor’s power of attorney, you can do so informally, either verbally or in writing. As a general rule, you should always use a written cancellation to revoke a power of attorney for tax advisors for evidentiary purposes. Incidentally, a granted power of attorney does not expire automatically, so an explicit revocation or cancellation is always required.

You can find templates for revoking your power of attorney to tax advisors on the online platforms of your state government, as well as the templates for issuing it.

Issue a power of attorney: Best practices

To do everything right when granting a power of attorney, you can follow these best practices:

  • Issue the power of attorney in writing using official templates to legally protect yourself and your authorised representatives
  • Revoke the power of attorney in writing to demonstrably revoke the authorisation
  • Explicitly formulate which powers of attorney the power of attorney includes (limited or unlimited)
  • Create a separate power of attorney if your tax advisor is also to receive tax assessments
  • Keep a copy of power of attorney declarations and revocations

💡If working with a tax advisor is too costly or inconvenient for you, you can use tax software such as Accountable. Accountable guarantees you error-free filing of your tax returns thanks to AI and the tax guarantee! Find out more here.

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Sophia Merzbach, creative writer and content producer
Sophia Merzbach, creative writer and content producer

Sophia loves literature and writing. She's happy to have joined the Accountable team and is becoming a pro on all things tax related.
In her free time you will find her in a boulder gym, studying Italian or discovering the streets of her new hometown Berlin.

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