The Principle of Congruency
Until now, the commercial balance sheet has been used as a basis for the assessment of taxable profit. The results of a preliminary study (“The principle of congruency and its effects on the preparation of commercial balance sheets”) have shown that there is a clear tendency in Austria to prepare unified balance sheets, i.e. that accountants exercise their commercial and discretionary rights to choose a balance sheet form within the bounds of fiscal law.
The current research project deals with the questions of the potential economic and fiscal effects of the adoption of IAS/IFRS profit assessment methods in fiscal law.
Special depreciation as an investment incentive
A frequently expressed criticism of finance is that tax effects are not sufficiently addressed, although the question of rights or missed (fiscal) incentives can justifiably be called a core issue in economic policy. This allegation will be opposed in the form of a research project in which a limited area in fiscal management, i.e. fiscal special depreciation (particularly the anticipated depreciation according to § 10a (3) of the Austrian Income Tax Act [EStG]), will be comprehensively investigated, particularly with regard to its investment incentive effects. The question has been posed whether special depreciation legislature can indeed help achieve the stated goal of reviving the economy, i.e. if tax incentive measures in general and special depreciation in particular lead to additional or anticipated investment behavior. This question is almost impossible to answer based solely on published economic data, given the high level of divergent information available. Empiric data, however, can provide insight, but a comparable analysis of disaggregated data has not yet been conducted in Austria.
Austrian Reorganization Tax Act
The choice of legal form of a company is not a final, static decision, but should rather be continually critically examined from an economic, legal and, of course, fiscal point of view. The Austrian Reorganization Tax Act can help facilitate a change of legal form without incurring additional tax burdens. This complex fiscal issue is one of the Department’s main areas of concentration, as demonstrated by numerous publications in this subject area (cf. in particular the co-authorship of a commentary on the Austrian Reorganization Tax Act [Hügel/Mühlehner/Hirschler, a commentary to the Austrian Reorganization Tax Act], as well as Prof. Hirschler’s regular column on the Austrian Reorganization Tax Act in the journal “taxlex”).
Tax accounting has and the optimization of annual accounts in the wake of Austrian tax law has always been a main area of concentration for the Department. This is documented in monthly contributions on tax accounting in the journal RWZ (together with Prof. Bertl), and a commentary on (Austrian) commercial law currently in progress.
Working together with industry specialists
We work together closely with KPMG Alpen-Treuhand GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungs- und Steuerberatungsgesellschaft, an international tax consultancy and auditing agency. This cooperation includes drafting specialized publications together with KPMG employees, and KPMG provides assistance in the financing of research assistants on third-party funding.
The Department of Tax Management maintains excellent relations with many corporate partners. The Advanced Course II, available every semester, is held in cooperation with TPA – Treuhand Partner Austria (an accounting and tax consultancy firm) on the premises of TPA.
Completed PhD Theses
In addition to the research projects conducted by our department staff, the research at the Department of Tax Management is continually augmented by theses by external researchers. The following list provides a good overview of the diverse research projects in our Department.
There is no formalized procedure for the assignation of thesis topics. Prof. Eberhartinger and Prof. Hirschler are available as assessors in the Department.