E-Commerce

Tax audit: How to avoid the most common mistakes!

Fatih-Kağan Taşkoparan

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As an online retailer, you know the problem: A Company audit can quickly become a stress factor. There are often hidden mistakes that can cost you money. Daniel Denker is a tax auditor (certified tax consultant, in a non-official capacity) and has identified the three most common sources of error for us and explains how you can easily avoid them!

1. duplicate invoice

Have you ever created two invoices for the same service? This can happen if you use both online marketplaces such as Amazon and internal systems. The result: double VAT and trouble with the tax office.

"An often underestimated risk is double invoicing. Some entrepreneurs use platforms such as Amazon as well as internal invoicing systems that automatically generate invoices. This can result in VAT being shown twice, which leads to tax problems. This problem is often only noticed in the field when programs and data access are checked," explains the tax auditor.

Solution: Check internal processes! Ensure that invoices are only created once.

2. breaches of record-keeping obligations

WhatsApp, Instagram & Co. are practical, but not necessarily suitable for business meetings! Tax authorities require all important documents to be stored.

"Many online retailers unknowingly violate record-keeping obligations by conducting important business communications via private channels such as WhatsApp or Instagram. However, these communications should be retained in order to be able to provide all the necessary documentation in the event of a tax audit. It is important to note that screenshots alone may not be sufficient. Proper electronic storage is required to ensure data access."

Solution: Document correctly! Digital platforms are okay, but proper electronic archiving is mandatory.

3. no fear of the tax auditors

Don't think of auditors from the tax office as enemies: they just want to make sure that everything is above board. They check whether your bookkeeping is correct and are usually always willing to give you information and good advice for the future.

"The auditor usually carries out a plausibility check to ensure that business practices comply with legal requirements. These are often spot checks to verify that the transactions meet the usual standards. If they feel that everything is in order and you have acted transparently, the auditor will usually leave quickly. Small mistakes can happen, which can then be rectified immediately. As an entrepreneur, you know what you need to pay more attention to in the future."

Important: Be prepared!

Of course, you should still be aware of the legal requirements and take them seriously. You should not ignore your tax obligations on the assumption that the tax office will not notice anyway. It can be expensive. Taxes are just one of the many obligations you have to fulfill as a business owner.

How to get through the tax audit without errors: