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Nexia Ebner Stolz


Accounting Directive Implementation Act makes moderate changes to German accounting law

The most recent comprehensive overhaul of German accounting law occurred in 2009, with the Accounting Law Reform Act (BilMoG). The new Accounting Directive Implementation Act (BilRUG) is the first revision of accounting principles since that time to go beyond making a few changes here and there.

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The Acco­un­ting Direc­tive Imp­le­men­ta­tion Act (Bil­RUG) is pri­ma­rily meant to bring Ger­man acco­un­ting law into har­m­ony with the EU Acco­un­ting Direc­tive (2013/34/EU) of 26 June 2013, the pro­vi­si­ons of which must be trans­po­sed in natio­nal law by 20 July 2015. Long­stan­ding Ger­man acco­un­ting law is to be amen­ded only to the extent necessary to bring it into line with the Direc­tive. The lee­way gran­ted by the Direc­tive to Mem­ber Sta­tes to allow them to reduce the bur­den on small, mid-sized and large com­pa­nies was taken advan­tage of to the grea­test extent pos­si­ble.
The Acco­un­ting Direc­tive Imp­le­men­ta­tion Act pri­ma­rily amends or adds pro­vi­si­ons to the Ger­man Com­mer­cial Code, the Ger­man Dis­c­lo­sure Act and the Ger­man Stock Cor­po­ra­tion Act, as well as their rela­ted imp­le­men­ta­ting acts. New pro­vi­si­ons with practi­cal sig­ni­fi­cance include the fol­lo­wing:
  • To the extent that the indi­vi­dual anti­ci­pa­ted use­ful life of an inter­nally crea­ted int­an­gi­ble asset or of good­will acqui­red for valuable con­s­i­de­ra­tion can­not be reli­a­bly esti­ma­ted, the cost of this asset is to be amor­ti­zed over a typi­fied period of ten years.
  • For a sub­si­diary to be relea­sed from the acco­un­ting obli­ga­tion under the pro­vi­si­ons of sec­tion 264 ff. of the Ger­man Com­mer­cial Code and the obli­ga­tion to audit and dis­c­lose annual finan­cial sta­te­ments, from now on the EU/EEA parent com­pany that pre­pa­res the exemp­ting con­so­li­da­ted finan­cial sta­te­ments and the exemp­ting group mana­ge­ment report must state that in the fol­lo­wing finan­cial year, it is wil­ling to assume res­pon­si­bi­lity for the obli­ga­ti­ons ente­red into by the sub­si­diary up to the date of such exemp­ting finan­cial sta­te­ments. The grounds for the recom­men­ded reso­lu­tion by the Bun­des­tag Com­mit­tee for Law and Con­su­mer Pro­tec­tion state that to meet this requi­re­ment "as a rule, a sta­tutory assump­tion of los­ses pur­su­ant to a mana­ge­ment con­trol or pro­fit trans­fer agree­ment under sec­tion 302 of the Stock Cor­po­ra­tion Act and the fact that the com­pa­nies in the group are all affi­lia­tes […] will con­ti­nue to be suf­fi­ci­ent evi­dence of this duty to assume res­pon­si­bi­lity"  and that "the eli­mi­na­tion of the refe­rence to sec­tion 302 of the Stock Cor­po­ra­tion Act does not make it necessary to change cur­rent practice".
  • The mone­tary thres­holds for the deter­mi­na­tion of the sizes under § 267 of the Ger­man Com­mer­cial Code or the exemp­tion from the duty to pre­pare con­so­li­da­ted finan­cial sta­te­ments under § 293 of the Ger­man Com­mer­cial Code are rai­sed bet­ween appro­xi­ma­tely 4% and 24%.
  • From now on, finan­cial hol­ding com­pa­nies will no lon­ger be able to take advan­tage of the relief for micro­en­ter­pri­ses.
  • The defini­tion of reve­nues is expan­ded such that the recogni­tion of income under reve­nues no lon­ger requi­res that the income result from sales of the pro­ducts and goods or from the pro­vi­sion of ser­vices that are typi­cal of the com­pany's line of busi­ness. On the other hand, from now on, taxes directly rela­ted to sales (such as energy tax) must be deduc­ted from income along with sales deduc­ti­ons and reba­tes and VAT.
  • Extra­or­di­nary income and expense is no lon­ger per­mit­ted to be recog­ni­zed in sepa­rate items on the income sta­te­ment. Ins­tead, com­pa­nies that are at least mid-sized must make dis­c­lo­su­res in the Notes on the indi­vi­dual income and expense items of excep­tio­nal size or sig­ni­fi­cance, unless the amo­unts are of minor import­ance.
  • In connec­tion with the eli­mi­na­tion of sepa­rate recogni­tion of extra­or­di­nary income and expense in the income sta­te­ment, recogni­tion of the result from ordi­nary acti­vi­ties has also been eli­mi­na­ted. From now on, the line item "income tax" is to be fol­lo­wed by "ear­nings before taxes".
  • From now on, com­pa­nies that are at least mid-sized and recog­nize defer­red tax lia­bi­li­ties must make quan­ti­ta­tive dis­c­lo­su­res in the Notes regar­ding the defer­red tax balan­ces and how they have chan­ged from the pre­vious year.
  • The report on post-balance sheet event, which has thus far been inclu­ded in the Mana­ge­ment Report, will now be inclu­ded in the Notes. Mate­rial dif­fe­ren­ces result from the eli­mi­na­tion of the requi­re­ment to dis­c­lose events of spe­cial sig­ni­fi­cance that were already dis­c­lo­sed in the balance sheet or the income sta­te­ment and the eli­mi­na­tion of the dis­c­lo­sure of the finan­cial effects of events of spe­cial import­ance.
All amen­ded pro­vi­si­ons are app­lica­ble to finan­cial sta­te­ments and mana­ge­ment reports for the finan­cial year begin­ning after 31 Decem­ber 2015, so if the finan­cial year is the calen­dar year, they will be app­lica­ble to 2016. Howe­ver, it is still pos­si­ble to apply the thres­holds and amen­ded defini­ti­ons of reve­nues to finan­cial sta­te­ments and mana­ge­ment reports for the finan­cial year begin­ning after 31 Decem­ber 2013.
Experts from Ebner Stolz dis­cuss the chan­ges made by the Act in detail in the com­men­tary on the Act to be pub­lis­hed in the near future by IDW Ver­lag.
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