BREXIT – ROCKY ROAD

Rocky Road is a popular type of candy containing lumps of chocolate, marshmallows and nuts. It is also what the UK can expect to lie ahead in the months and years following Brexit as it endeavours to forge new relationships with the EU and trading partners around the world. The December elections have come and gone and, yes, much to Europe’s surprise, the English (if not necessarily the British and Northern Irish) electorate really did want Brexit. As the election results filtered through, and the scale of the Tory party triumph became clear, Der Spiegel, Germany’s weekly news magazine, concluded with some consternation that the geese really did vote for Christmas (that is because the Germans eat goose rather than turkey for Christmas, to stick with the food theme for a moment).

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Pflichtangaben in der Geschäftskorrespondenz

Wer in Deutschland ein „Business“ starten möchte, gründet regelmäßig eine Gesellschaft, z.B. eine GmbH. Neben dem anschließenden Marketing spielen dann auch schnell die Buchhaltung und die erste Steuererklärung eine Rolle. Die diesbezüglichen Rechte und Pflichten sind gesetzlich geregelt. Nicht allen Gründern bzw. Unternehmern ist jedoch bewusst, dass auch gesetzliche Regelungen in Bezug auf die Geschäftskorrespondenz existieren.

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Stadtwerke aufgepasst! Droht der beihilfenrechtliche Paukenschlag für den „Kommunalen Querverbund“? Was ist zu tun?

Die öffentliche Hand erbringt ihre wirtschaftlichen Tätigkeiten nicht immer selbst, sondern gliedert sie oftmals auf von ihnen beherrschte Kapitalgesellschaften aus. Innerhalb dieser (häufig: Stadtwerke-)Gesellschaften werden gewinnträchtige Geschäftsbereiche dann mit dauerdefizitären gebündelt und steuerlich verrechnet. Der Bundesfinanzhof sieht nun in der steuerlichen Begünstigung dauerdefizitärer Tätigkeiten kommunaler Gesellschaften einen Verstoß gegen das EU-Beihilferecht. Mit Vorlagebeschluss vom 13.03.2019 (Az.: I R 18/19) bittet er den Europäischen Gerichtshof (EuGH) um entsprechende Klärung. Aber es besteht Hoffnung.

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BREXIT – Alive and Kicking

I am relieved to report that the prime minister is alive and well and that any fears that he might be found dead in a ditch on 31 October 2019 were unfounded (as was perhaps always going to be expected). The only thing that may have landed in the ditch is his credibility but he doesn’t seem particularly fazed by the fact that this is a fairly commonly held belief, so that is ok then, too. I am equally pleased to report that, for the time being, the UK remains a fully-fledged member of the EU.

So where does this leave us? Well, to start off with, with a new flextension, potentially until 31 January 2020. Apart from that, between all the spin and counter-spin about the prime ministers “new” Brexit deal, it was actually rather difficult to understand what precisely had changed. The EU had said that it would not re-open the Brexit agreement itself, so the changes are in fact set out in a 64 page Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland included in the withdrawal agreement. The new deal is pretty much the old deal agreed by Theresa May with the EU in November 2018 but with certain changes to the customs status of the Irish border after Brexit replacing the old back-stop.

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BREXIT – Checks and balances

Since my last Brexit column, we have now had the judgment of the Supreme Court on the prorogation of parliament. The judgment is worth a read and deserves more column inches than I can offer here. The Prime Minister promptly let it be known that he profoundly disagreed with it. The leader of the house of commons and erstwhile Brexit ultra Jacob Rees-Mogg called it a constitutional coup (as if that wasn’t the pot calling the kettle black). But former Supreme Court judge Jonathan Sumption summed the whole thing up quite aptly when he said on the BBC that “one has to accept that if you behave outrageously and defy the political culture upon which our constitution depends, a lot of judges are going to be tempted to push the limits. And the trouble is, Boris Johnson has taken a hammer and sickle to our political culture in a way that is profoundly provocative to people who believe that there ought to be solutions consistent with our traditions.”

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