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The tried and tested cooperation between municipalities and church institutions in the field of public and church libraries is often based on traditional, sometimes very old, contractual foundations. In many places, the libraries are organised as "joint libraries" of the two responsible bodies, municipality and church institution.

On the occasion of the new regulations in §§ 2, 2b UStG on the turnover taxation of public corporations, these cooperations in the library system should be urgently examined. Municipal and ecclesiastical corporations are directly affected by the new regulations, "community libraries" only in the case of an appropriate tax allocation to one of the sponsoring corporations, municipality or ecclesiastical institution.

These new provisions of the UStG are of considerable importance in taxation practice, even beyond turnover taxation, since deficits in tax registration are found in many places during the VAT audit and classification (e.g. libraries are not registered for tax purposes; libraries do not submit tax returns or submit incorrect tax returns). There are liability risks for the responsible persons and sanction risks for the responsible bodies.

Various professional associations, regional offices and library offices have also taken the new regulations as an opportunity to adapt or further develop model agreements that have been made available.

In order to ensure the proper fulfilment of tax obligations, the existing cooperation agreements as well as the previous tax treatment should be reviewed. Within the framework of a well-considered approach to the tax authorities, both liability and sanction risks can be avoided and, if necessary, tax payments can be avoided or reduced.

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