Approach to taxation

Integrity and legally compliant conduct are firmly anchored within HHLA. This also applies to the fulfilment of our tax obligations. As a company with international activities, HHLA is subject to the tax laws of the respective national jurisdictions in which it operates. HHLA pays the taxes incurred in line with the relevant legal requirements of the countries in which the company operates. To this end, the Group has established structures and processes to ensure the continuous monitoring of and compliance with tax law requirements, and cultivates a transparent and open dialogue with the relevant tax authorities.

In 2020, the Group’s effective tax rate stood at 25.3 % (previous year: 26.4 %). Income tax expenses for the HHLA Group amounted to € 24.9 million in 2020 (previous year: € 49.1 million), of which around 34 % (previous year: 56 %) was attributable to Germany and around 66 % (previous year: 44 %) to the foreign subsidiaries.

Tax compliance management system (TCMS)

An experienced team of tax experts in Hamburg and in the local subsidiaries ensures that potential tax risks are identified in good time. The monitoring process for compliance with tax requirements is an integral part of the internal control system (ICS). Risk and opportunity management system

Tax risks may arise for HHLA as a result of tax audits, changes in tax legislation or other factors that may have an effect on the effective tax rate and liquidity. If tax burdens are expected by the company, they are taken into account – where they are quantifiable – by forming the relevant provisions.

In order to prevent potential tax risks, HHLA’s tax processes will in future be monitored and controlled by a tax compliance management system (TCMS). HHLA started implementing the TCMS in 2019. The system is expected to be fully integrated by 2022. In doing so, the HHLA Group fulfils the requirement under German tax law for companies to implement such a compliance management system in order to protect the company and its legal representatives.

Reporting standards

As an international company with Group of over € 750 million, HHLA is subject to the duty to report certain country-specific key figures. This is known as country-by-country reporting and is based on an initiative of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In this context, HHLA AG shares tax information every year with the Federal Central Tax Office for all Group companies located outside Germany as part of its legal requirement. This information includes revenue, earnings before taxes, income tax payments and the income taxes incurred, ensuring the transparent reporting of all company results and tax payments in the countries in which HHLA or its affiliated companies are active.

HHLA fully complies with the reporting and transparency requirements of the DAC6 reporting system introduced by the European Union (EU) and has implemented the relevant technical solutions.


Revenue from sales or lettings and from services rendered, less sales deductions and VAT.