In the case of corporations, a distinction must be made between limited liability companies (GmbH), stock corporations (AG) and limited partnerships on shares (KGaA). In addition to the HGB, the special laws GmbHG and AktG also apply here.
Unlike the partnership, the corporation as a legal person is an independent taxable person; In addition to the shareholders, the company itself is also subject to tax. This can be explained by the principle of separation: The corporation is a legally independent corporation that is fundamentally to be separated from the shareholder level. For this reason, the corporation can conclude contractual contracts with its shareholders, for example rental or loan agreements, which are recognized for tax purposes. The expenses incurred are then at least partially deductible as business expenses.
The corporations themselves are happy. § 1 KStG is subject to unlimited corporation tax, provided that the seat or place of management is in Germany. The partners (natural person), on the other hand, are subject to income tax. The corporation tax is already due at the time of determination, but the distributed profit shares are only subject to income tax for the shareholders at the time of distribution.
Damit die ausgeschütteten Gewinnanteile nicht doppelt mit Ertragsteuern belastet waren (ESt und KSt), wurde mit der KSt-Reform 1977 das körperschaftsteuerliche Crediting procedure eingeführt. Dabei wird die KSt bei der Gewinnausschüttung auf die persönliche ESt-Schuld des Gesellschafters angerechnet. Ab dem Jahr 2001/2002 wurde das Anrechnungsverfahren durch das Halbeinkünfteverfahren ersetzt. Damit fällt auf der Ebene der Kapitalgesellschaft unabhängig von Ausschüttung oder Accumulation die KSt mit einem proportionalen Steuersatz an.
The starting point for determining the KStG is the profit to be determined in accordance with Section 5 EStG (Section 8 I KStG). This still needs to be modified in accordance with Sections 9 and 10 of the KStG. The assessment basis for trade tax can be determined from the corporate income tax profit (cf. §§ 6, 7 GewStG); here, too, modifications (additions and reductions in accordance with §§ 8, 9 GewStG) have to be made. The corporation is always a commercial enterprise within the meaning of the GewStG (commercial enterprise by virtue of its legal form).