Politics Law Society 

Bundeskartellamt imposes million-euro fines in response to illegal arrangements

Bundeskartellamt imposes million-euro fines in response to illegal arrangements The Bundeskartellamt – Germany”s Federal Cartel Office – has imposed fines totaling approx. 175 million euros on five aluminum forging companies and ten employees responsible for engaging in anticompetitive arrangements. The Bundeskartellamt announced on December 23, 2020 that senior staff members of the relevant companies had, over a period of years, been exchanging information on cost factors and encouraging one another to pass on rising costs directly to their customers. We at the commercial law firm MTR Rechtsanwälte note that arrangements…

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Politics Law Society 

Distributing FFP2 masks free of charge in breach of competition law

Distributing FFP2 masks free of charge in breach of competition law Groups deemed to be at risk can redeem vouchers for FFP2 masks. Pharmacies that waive the two-euro personal contribution are violating competition law according to a ruling of the Landgericht (LG) DĂĽsseldorf – the Regional Court of DĂĽsseldorf. In order to protect those at particular risk against being infected with the coronavirus, the German parliament has adopted legislation (Coronavirus-Schutzmasken-Verordnung, SchutzmV) that provides for and regulates the distribution of FFP2 masks by pharmacies to the most vulnerable people. The country”s…

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Politics Law Society 

BFH: Obtaining an expert opinion on purchase price allocation of land

BFH: Obtaining an expert opinion on purchase price allocation of land In the event of a dispute between a taxpayer and the tax authorities regarding the allocation of the fair market value of land and buildings in real terms, the fiscal courts are required to obtain an expert opinion. Appraisals of the fair market value of buildings and land in real terms are often contentious. While an allocation of the purchase price to land and buildings is common in cases involving a contract for the purchase of real estate, the…

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Politics Law Society 

OLG Hamm on reporting illegality in e-commerce

OLG Hamm on reporting illegality in e-commerce A company is not in breach of competition law if it reports illegality by a competitor on an online e-commerce platform and the allegations are true. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Hamm – the Higher Regional Court of Hamm. Antitrust infringements are a persistent feature of the e-commerce landscape. Large online platforms have for this reason put in place reporting systems for these kinds of violations, with offers being delisted when flagged accordingly. Of course, this is not meant to…

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Politics Law Society 

FG DĂĽsseldorf: Demolition of inherited family home may retrospectively give rise to estate tax

FG DĂĽsseldorf: Demolition of inherited family home may retrospectively give rise to estate tax The demolition of your parent”s home post-inheritance may lead to a retrospective loss of tax-exempt status. That was the verdict of the Finanzgericht (FG) DĂĽsseldorf – the Fiscal Court of DĂĽsseldorf – in a judgment from January 8, 2020 (Az.: 4 K 3120/18 Erb). Children who inherit real estate from their parents can receive an exemption from estate tax even if they go over their personal tax allowance of 400,000 euros. We at the commercial law…

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Politics Law Society 

Josip Heit on G999: “Criticism on the merits can be discussed, defamation is reported

Criticism is understood to be the assessment on the basis of standards. In addition to the meaning of examining judgement and expressing it in appropriate words, criticism – especially in the verb form kritisieren as well as monierung, also denotes an objection or criticism, provided that criticism is conducted in the matter, this is part of our democracy: Defamation, on the other hand, in German criminal law means that someone makes defamatory allegations about a person even though they know that the allegations are untrue. According to §187 of the…

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Politics Law Society 

COVID-19 – Rent reduction in response to lockdown

COVID-19 – Rent reduction in response to lockdown The return to a state of lockdown has hit many businesses and entrepreneurs hard. Meanwhile, the courts are arriving at different conclusions regarding whether government-mandated business closures justify rent reductions. The period in the run up to Christmas saw the metaphorical lights go out in a lot of pedestrian zones and at many businesses, many of which have had to close due to the latest lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic. While businesses have experienced a drop in income during what…

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Politics Law Society 

Transfer of shares from company to private hands not an acquisition

Transfer of shares from company to private hands not an acquisition If shares that were acquired prior to 2009 are transferred from company to private hands and later sold, the profits are not to be treated as taxable income from capital investments according to the Finanzgericht (FG) MĂĽnster, the Fiscal Court of MĂĽnster. On January 1, 2009, a flat rate withholding tax (Abgeltungssteuer) was introduced in Germany. A transfer of shares acquired prior to this cutoff date from company to private hands does not amount to an acquisition of shares.…

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Politics Law Society 

Obligation to file for insolvency only suspended in cases of over-indebtedness, not illiquidity

Obligation to file for insolvency only suspended in cases of over-indebtedness, not illiquidity There has been a limited extension until December 31, 2020 to the suspension of the obligation to file for insolvency due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, this only applies to cases of over-indebtedness, not illiquidity. To mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and prevent a wave of insolvencies, Germany”s federal government decided in March to suspend the obligation to file for insolvency until September 30, 2020. The measure has since been extended until the end of…

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Politics Law Society 

Business closure due to COVID-19 – Claims against insurer successful

Business closure due to COVID-19 – Claims against insurer successful An insurer was forced to indemnify a Munich restaurant for its closure due to COVID-19. The owner”s claim was successful before the Landgericht (LG) MĂĽnchen, the Regional Court of Munich (Az.: 12 O 5868/20). First, restaurant owners, among others, were forced to close their premises in the spring because of the coronavirus pandemic. Then the insurance companies refused to cover the losses despite the restaurateurs having taken out business closure insurance. However, insurers” hopes of an easy ride were dashed.…

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