Requirements for Cash Desks


During a company audit the financial authorities focus mainly on the cash register and examine closely the regularity of the cash management, in particular with companies using cash to a large extent like restaurants and retailers. If a cash check is not possible, there is a serious formal defect which leads to supplementary estimates of up to 10 % of the annual turnover plus safety margin. In the worst case criminal proceedings can be opened.

The following should be noted:

1.     Obligations as regards the keeping of a cash register or a cash book

Every person or entity required to keep books must keep accounts that also include the daily records of cash receipts and expenditures (cash book). Accounting entities are all merchants but also business people having an annual turnover of over 600,000 EUR or an annual profit of over 60,000 EUR.


2.     Rules and forms of cash management

The legal provisions do not require a certain type of cash register. The taxpayer may decide freely whether he uses an open cash desk or a cash register or PC register.

Open cash register

Users of an open cash desk should pay special attention to a consecutively numbered daily cash desk report. A correct and verifiable calculation of the daily receipts must be possible by back calculation from the counted cash balance.

Cash or PC register

Basically all tax-relevant data, including electronically generated invoices, must be stored unchangeably and completely.

The obligation of individual recording means that all sales transactions are recorded when all sales of goods are registered with a modern PC register, including: date, time, seller, item, amount, unit price and full price.


3.     Consequences of an incorrect cash management

If there are formal or substantive deficiencies that are so essential that the accounting can no longer be classified as orderly, the financial authority can reject the accounting and refuse its recognition.


4.     Law for the protection against manipulation of digital basic records (Cash desk law)

By the end of 2016 a new cash desk law was adopted which plans the changeover from electronic cash registers to a forgery-proof system. From 2020 on so called electronic registration systems must be protected by a certified safety device, so that the deletion of sales transactions becomes impossible.

In addition to the already existing instruments for tax control, on January 1, 2018 the possibility of a cash desk follow-up check was introduced – that is an unannounced inspection by the financial authorities to detect possible tax fraud.