Both native Germans and expats find the German tax regulations confusing. While you have many advantages of hiring an expert to handle the task for you, how do you pick the best one?
If you have ever attempted filing a tax return in Germany, you know how tedious it can be. Despite the hassle of preparing the documents and filing the tax return, it pays off in the end. There can be a lot of difficulty in finding a tax consultant who has the space to accommodate you and can also communicate with you in a language you both understand well.
What to look for when searching for a tax consultant in Germany?
There are a couple of professions including tax consulting that are strictly regulated in Germany. Therefore, the consultants can only charge you up to a limit depending on the services offered, such as your income, the intensity of the complication of your specific case, etc.
If you have a lot of income and different sources of income, or if you make only a small amount, different tax consultants cannot charge you significantly higher or lower for the tax filing service. However, if they provide additional services to you, such as calculating the income you earn abroad, or the income you earn in Germany from sources other than salary, the amount charged to you and another person with a similar income may vary.
Therefore, we recommend you look for other areas such as how good the consultant is able to communicate or how much experience they got, etc. You won't need to search for the lowest price as the variation would not be significant.
Where to find the best consultant in Germany?
When I moved to Germany for work six years ago, I had no idea how the German tax system worked, what all things I could claim as deductions, or even where to find an English-speaking tax consultant!
Asking around was the first thing I did. I asked my friends who moved before me, my German co-workers, even my neighbors. Among the few tax consultants they suggested, I shortlisted a few and contacted them by phone and email. Finally, I chose the one who spoke relatively good English and was fine with having me on board. As of today, she still does my taxes and I am very satisfied with the service she provides.
In addition, you can search for tax consultants in your city on LinkedIn or Xing, and view their profiles. If they speak English or even your mother tongue, that should give you a better idea of how well you can communicate.
Furthermore, choosing a tax consultant who has connections with legal advisors or if the tax firm itself has an on site legal advisor that may come handy for you when legal advice is required. However, keep in mind that every additional service could cost you.
If you find your tax consultant from the internet or through your friends and colleagues, we recommend you to meet them at least once before you hand them over your case. Because, trust is built when you meet them in person. It is even better if they are already doing taxes for someone you know. Meeting with them is not to just see if the tax advisor can handle your case, but also to make sure you get on well.