D – “Typical promotional products are a form of advertising, not gifts!” – that was one of the numerous messages at a tax event organised by the Finance and Tax Institute (ifst) in Berlin on March 19, 2018, which was also attended by the German promotional products association, GWW, represented by Frank Dangmann, Ronald Eckert and Ralf Samuel. An initial expert panel that comprised of the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Federal Finance Court, representatives from the business sector and the NRW Ministry of Finance, focused on the “grievances” regarding the income tax treatment of non-cash benefits in the business environment including promotional products in Germany. Here the emphasis lay on the ban on operating expenses for “business gifts” that exceed 35 Euros per year per recipient.
During a subsequent political panel – which politicians and tax advisors of several large German parties took part in, together with Thomas Eigenthaler, Federal Chairman of the German Tax Payers Association, and Michael Pleines from Ferrero – the basic concerns particularly regarding the current form of the operating expenses ban on business gifts were shared from a political point of view. “We made significant progress in the discussion about the income tax burdens on the taxation of small tokens of appreciation and promotional products,” Dr. Janine v. Wolfersdorff tax adviser at the ifst, who led the discussion event, summed up. “How big the difficulties of implementing such small non-cash benefits are became obvious to everyone on March 19 – including the political delegates, who took part. The lawmakers are now called up to address the theme by introducing a corresponding law on simplifying tax!”