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Change of tax advisor in France and Germany

Change of tax advisor service

Change of tax advisor with Fradeco - We support you with our expertise and experience

There are many reasons why companies change their expert-comptable or tax advisor in France or Germany, even after many years of co-operation. Sometimes they fear that the previous tax advisor could disclose confidential information if they terminate the mandate. However, these concerns are usually unfounded, as tax advisors are subject to a strict duty of confidentiality, the breach of which can have serious consequences.

There can be various reasons for dissatisfaction with the previous tax advisor, including a lack of communication or communication difficulties, particularly in a Franco-German environment, surprising additional tax payments or even situations that threaten the existence of the company due to errors made by the tax advisor. For Franco-German and international clients, communication problems and cultural differences are often reasons for a change of tax advisor.

However, once the change has been decided, a few points need to be considered. A good relationship between tax advisor and client is the prerequisite for a long-term and successful collaboration.

If you feel that your current tax adviser or Expert-comptable is not giving you the advice you need, you can easily change tax adviser.

We will be happy to assist you with this important step in France or Germany.

How does a change of tax advisor proceed?

During an initial meeting with our partners, you can present your company to us and formulate your ideas as well as your expectations of the cooperation. We will present our team and our approach to you for this purpose.

The next step is to terminate the current tax consultant contract in order to initiate the change of tax consultant. For this, the notice periods must be strictly adhered to. In Germany, there is no statutory cancellation period for a tax consultant, but it is possible that a cancellation period has been agreed in individual tax consultant contracts. In France, the notice period is generally 3 months before the end of the financial year.

If you wish to terminate your French tax consultancy contract before the end of the "mission", you must give 3 months' notice before the end of the financial year. In concrete terms, this means that if you wish to terminate your contract on 31 December, you must notify us of your interest in changing your French tax advisor "expert-comptable" by 30 September at the latest.

The easiest way is to transfer at the end of the financial year, but transfers during the year are also possible (see point 3). Reasons for cancellation do not have to be given.

Of course, it is also possible to change tax advisor during the current year. This is often even the better time, as the new tax advisor can prepare the annual financial statements for the previous year. If the change is planned for the end of the year, timing problems may arise, as the previous tax advisor may prioritise other clients and put the financial statements of the "renegade" client on the back burner.

Data transfer is often not possible as long as the previous tax advisor still needs the data to carry out closing entries and tax returns. A change during the year also facilitates the seamless continuation of financial accounting and payroll accounting, as no new payroll accounts need to be created.

However, it is important to note that the previous tax advisor may charge a partial fee for work already started on the annual financial statements. If these services can be used by the new tax consultancy, they do not have to be charged again. However, it is rarely the case that the services of the previous tax adviser can be taken over. If the annual financial statements have already been started on a large scale, it is advisable not to change tax advisor until the annual financial statements have been finalised. This must be checked in advance with the existing fee agreement.

Please note for France:

In the event of cancellation before the end of the financial year, your Expert-comptable may demand a cancellation fee. As a rule, this amounts to 25 % of the fees that would have been incurred. To avoid this, we recommend that, if possible, you wait until the end of the financial year to change Expert-comptable. Please check your current fee agreement in France

Our tax consultancy agreement, known as a "lettre de mission" in French, defines the consulting requirements, the future collaboration and the distribution of tasks

In accordance with Section 66 (3) StBerG, there is a right to data transfer to the new tax advisor. As a rule, we contact the previous tax advisor politely and request co-operation for the transfer of the data. If DATEV is used, the transfer takes place via the "Client data transfer order" form. If other accounting software is used, more detailed coordination is required. The obligation to hand over data is supported by various judgements which state that the client has the right to access the stored data. In most cases, the tax advisor's consent to transfer the data to the new advisor is sufficient.

Otherwise, the accounting files can be determined using a CSV file. In France, the electronic accounting file - "fichiers des écritures comptables (FEC)" - is required.

In accordance with the guidelines of the Federal Chamber of Tax Consultants dated 15 November 2012, the client is entitled to the return of documents after the end of the mandate. The contract between the client and the tax advisor is usually considered to be an agency agreement with the character of a service contract. The claim for surrender arises from Sections 662 et seq. BGB and § 667 BGB, according to which the tax consultant must return everything he has received within the scope of the mandate.

In the case of outstanding fee claims, the tax advisor may be able to assert a right of retention or right to refuse performance, as regulated in Section 273 BGB and Section 320 BGB under civil law and in Section 66 (2) StBerG under professional law. Pursuant to Section 66 (3) StBerG, reference files only include documents that the tax consultant has received in the course of his professional activities.

The next step is to obtain the power of attorney for the representation of tax matters in Germany and sign the so-called "procuration". We also set up access to the French website of the Ministry of Economy and Finance www.impots.gouv.fr  . This access contains all the official online services of the French Directorate General of Public Finance (Direction générale des finances publiques - DGFiP).

We set up the access to the accounting software. It is up to you whether we do the accounting on your accounting software or on our firm's software. You can find more details in the section "our software solutions". If required, we offer software training for your staff.

In order to be able to fine-tune the respective tasks at the beginning of the collaboration, we set up regular "jours fixes" in the first few weeks.

We are looking forward to a trustful cooperation!


Michael Stiller - FRADECO Franco-German tax consultancy - cabinet d'expertise comptable franco-allemand

Michael Stiller

Founder | Tax Consultant | Expert-Comptable

Do you have any questions or need further information?

Do you have any questions or need further information? Please contact us!

    Or write directly to contact@fradeco.fr