Nicotine addiction: No sales tax on diagnosis

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No obligation to pay sales tax once a diagnosis has been made

In principle, doctors and naturopaths are subject to VAT for smoking cessation courses. An exemption from sales tax only applies if a doctor or alternative practitioner has previously made a diagnosis and therefore diagnosed nicotine addiction in the patient. This is currently the verdict of the tax court in Cologne (Az .: 10 K 2389/09).

According to the judgment, only preventive measures, diagnoses, treatment and healing of diseases are tax-exempt. An individual examination of the extent to which the loss of self-control ability has progressed in individual cases is therefore necessary - with the corresponding diagnosis and subsequent referral.

Doctors and naturopaths are therefore advised to document the diagnoses of their patients when they recommend smoking cessation courses or conduct them themselves. Because only curative treatments can achieve an exemption from VAT. A prerequisite is a diagnosed illness (here: nicotine addiction) and patient complaints. According to the court, if there is no addiction, there is no curative treatment. The courses, seminars or measures to quit smoking are then considered a so-called wellness service and must be claimed accordingly by means of sales tax.

The judgment is not yet final, because the tax court has approved an appeal to the Federal Fiscal Court in Munich due to its fundamental importance. (sb)

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