Appealing against tax office decisions

General information

Tax offices issue decisions as final rulings on tax-related issues. If you do not agree with an official decision from the tax authorities (and particularly from an individual tax office) you have right to appeal against it under Section 243 of Bundesabgabenordnung (BAO). If the appeal is accepted, any disadvantage you have suffered as a result of the original decision will be put right.

A major advantage of the appeals system is that it allows you to claim new facts and evidence that were not originally taken into account, and to make new applications and requests. Under Section 270 BAO, there is no restriction regarding providing new evidence or altering aspects of the original procedure. This means you have an opportunity to correct any mistakes you may have made (for example, by taking into account any tax deductions you previously forgot to include). However, you should be aware that the appeal body is free to alter the contested decision in either direction as it sees fit. This means that the revised decision might be more disadvantageous to you than the original one was.

Deadline for appeals

You must submit any appeal within one month of the contested decision. This deadline is calculated from the date on which the decision is delivered to you (see Section 245, Paragraph 1 of the BAO). The appeal period begins from the date on which the decision is delivered and ends at the end of the same date in the following month (i.e. if the decision is delivered on 1 March, you must appeal by the end of the day on 1 April). If there is no corresponding day in the following month (for example, if the decision is delivered on 30 January), then the deadline is the end of the day on the last day of the following month.

Example

A decision is delivered on 28 February. The period in which this decision can be appealed starts on that date and ends on 28 March. However, if the decision is delivered on 31 March, any appeal must be submitted by 30 April (i.e. the last day of the following month).

You can extend the deadline if necessary upon application. Applications to the tax office will only be considered to have been duly submitted if they are sent in writing (i.e. by post or fax) or via FinanzOnline under "Other Services"/"Extension of deadline"). Applications cannot be submitted over the phone or by e-mail.

Please note

Submitting an appeal late will result in rejection due to expiry of the deadline (Section 260, paragraph 1, BAO). The appeal period will start on the day the decision is delivered, even if that day falls on a weekend or a public holiday, and will not be automatically extended to take account of other weekends or public holidays within the appeal period. However, if the final deadline for submitting the appeal falls on a Saturday or Sunday, a public holiday, Good Friday or Christmas Eve (24 December), the deadline will be extended to the next working day.

Example

A decision is delivered on 15 March 2021. The appeal period would normally expire on 15 April 2022 (Good Friday). However, since Good Friday is a public holiday, the deadline will in fact be extended to the first Tuesday after Easter, i.e. 19 April 2021.

It is very important to make sure you meet the deadline for any appeal. With this in mind, we recommend sending it by recorded delivery or taking it to your tax office in person. It is a good idea to have both the original documents and an identical copy stamped to confirm receipt. You can also submit appeals electronically in FinanzOnline under "Other Services" - "Alter a decision". If you send your appeal by post, it will be deemed to have arrived on time if it was posted on the last day of the deadline at the latest (as shown by the post-office's date stamp).

Formal requirements

When submitting your appeal (bearing in mind that all appeals must be submitted in writing) you must ensure that it meets certain requirements in terms of form and content (Section 250 BAO). The appeal must include the following details:

  • The number/designation of the decision being appealed
  • An explanation of which parts of the decision you wish to appeal
  • An explanation of the change you would like to be made
  • A justification for the appeal
  • Your signature

Example

Imagine I appeal against my final income tax assessment for 2020, which is dated 15 June 2021 and was delivered on 17 June 2021. I submit my appeal on time with the following justification: "The decision is inaccurate in respect of the special expenses shown. When I filled in my income tax return, I forgot to claim annuity payments to my father totalling 6,000 euros as special expenses pursuant to Section 18 (1) (1) of the Income Tax Act (Einkommensteuergesetz – EStG). I am therefore writing to ask that this amount be taken into account for the purposes of calculating my income."

Traders registered on the business service portal (USP) are able to make use of FinanzOnline and many other online procedures with a single sign-on to the USP. More detailed information about registering with the USP can be obtained from the online advisor for USP registration.

Further links

FinanzOnline (→ BMF)German text

Legal basis

Certified translation
Last update: 1 January 2022

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Finance

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