German Option Model versus Profit Retention Discounts

Starting in 2022 the German option model provides an alternative to the profit retention discount for commercial partnerships. What are the pros and cons of both models?

Experience with the two different regulations:

The regulation on the profit retention discount has existed since 2008. There is extensive experience on how to apply the regulation and how it is assessed by German tax authorities. The new option model can for the first time be applied since January 1, 2022.

Flexibility of the regulations:

To finally reach tax neutrality for the conversion to the option model it has to be kept for at least 7 years. Regarding the profit retention discounts you can choose for each and every year and also separately for every shareholder whether you would like to apply it or not and if so, what amount you choose.

Tax burden:

Often the tax burden in case of using the profit retention discount will be lower than when applying the option model, even if you consider a certain amount of profit distribution.

Change from one regime to another:

If you already have used the profit retention discount and you’re thinking of changing to the option model, please consider that you have to tax the already received discount in that case at once.

Thorough analysis:

Before deciding on one of the options please perform a thorough analysis of the respective consequences. If you apply the profit retention discount for the first time you should consider what to do with former reserve funds to avoid having them trapped. Regarding the option model tax loss carry forwards can be lost and it can trigger an exit tax.

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