22 May 2015

Close to the Market and in Step With Time – the DATEV Information Office Brussels

Since 1995, the DATEV Information Office in Brussels, Belgium, has been DATEV Germany’s eyes and ears at the EU constantly anticipating the changes Brussels could generate for tax advisers, clients and DATEV.

Mila_Otto
Ms. Mila Otto, office manager of the DATEV Information Office in Brussels, Belgium

Office manager Ms. Mila Otto is supported by her staff member Anke Geissler and in addition by a trainee or law clerk. Together, they oversee a rather wide range of broadly diversified topics:

  • eGovernment
  • cloud and data protection
  • tax law and accounting
  • financial services
  • SMEs and bureaucracy deregulation

Furthermore, the areas of corporate law, commercial law, civil law, and topics regarding labour and social affairs are monitored.

Identifying Action Potential at an Early Stage

The political agenda in Brussels determines the focal points at the DATEV Information Office: several years ago, accounting was top-list. Today, plans for the deregulation of the EU Commission and the planned revision of data protection law are in the focus. Working closely with colleagues from the specialist departments, the effects are constantly analysed during the legislative process to identify action potential at an early stage, and, if necessary, to make amendments and to prepare for the legal changes.

Aligning Data Protection Law With the Digital Age

The DATEV Information Office participates in the legislative process and introduces the requests of DATEV eG in dialogue with political contact persons or organisations, making statements, and collaborating with industry associations. Particularly for the tax consulting profession, the focus is on relevant topics of the EU Data Protection Regulation, for example, the special concern for professional secrecy, and the future rights and obligations of organizations processing order data. For all European citizens, this regulation aligns Data Protection Law with the digital age and is expected to become effective at the end of 2015. The aim is to avoid unnecessary administrative burdens for DATEV, its members and the clients of members, and at the same time to obtain a consistently high level of data protection and a useful embodiment of the law.

Bringing Changes to the Tax Consulting Profession

In the coming years, the deregulation efforts of the European Commission will bring changes to the tax consulting profession. Possible scenarios could facilitate minority ownership; abolish minimum charges, and, if necessary, limit statutory duties. It remains to be seen whether Germany is responding to the claims of the European Commission to eliminate restrictive professional access regulations. If not, Germany will possibly face a lawsuit before the European Court of Justice and could be forced to act ultimately.