International tax law comprises all legal provisions that include taxation issues relating to foreign countries. This includes domestic German tax legislation such as the Income Tax Act and the Fiscal Code, as well as double taxation agreements that Germany has concluded with other countries.
With its tax law, Germany aims to prevent both the double taxation and the double non-taxation of individuals and companies. Everyone has to pay their fair share of tax – in their place of residence or where they conduct their business activities.
Double taxation agreements distribute taxation rights among countries. They do not, however, create new revenue claims. Rather, where competing revenue claims exist, they allocate the taxation right to only one of the countries involved, in order to prevent double taxation.
As well as double taxation agreements with respect to taxes on income and on capital, special double taxation agreements also exist for inheritance and gift tax and for motor vehicle tax. There are also agreements with respect to legal and administrative assistance and exchange of information. The exchange of information among tax authorities is a particularly important element in detecting and combating tax evasion and tax avoidance and in making sure that the correct taxation can be imposed.
The colour-coded world map shows countries with which Germany had concluded, on 1 January 2019, double taxation agreements with respect to taxes on income and on capital as well as agreements with respect to legal and administrative assistance (including exchange of information). It also shows the countries with which Germany is negotiating such agreements for the first time. In addition, an agreement exists between the German Institute in Taipei and the Taipei Representative Office in Berlin. Given that the Federal Republic of Germany has never recognised Taiwan as a sovereign state, this agreement is not an international treaty. The agreement is, however, based on the OECD Model Convention in terms of its structure and content. Hong Kong and Macau are special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China; China’s general tax law does not apply there. This means that the double taxation agreements concluded between the Federal Republic of Germany and the People’s Republic of China are not applicable in Hong Kong and Macau. The map does not include agreements with respect to inheritance and gift tax or agreements with respect to motor vehicle tax. Neither does it show special agreements with respect to taxes on income and on capital of air transport and shipping companies. The map also does not include negotiations on amending or expanding existing agreements.
The German Finance Ministry assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the agreement texts provided here. The versions officially published in the Federal Law Gazette (Bundesgesetzblatt) are always the authoritative texts.
The responsibilities of the Federal Central Tax Office (Bundeszentralamt für Steuern) include tasks with an international dimension. The website of the Federal Central Tax Office includes an “International taxes” section which provides further details, including country-specific information, regarding the tax-related tasks that are primarily international in nature.