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German Research Institute for Public Administration

Regulatory needs and legal limits of fully automated electronic administrative procedures

On 1 January 2017 the Federal Law on the Modernisation of the Taxation Procedure will enter into force. Included within its content are regulations on the fully automated tax assessment system. During the legislative process for this law, the Parliament decided also on parallel adaptations of the Administrative Procedure Act (Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz) and the Tenth Book of the Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch X). The aim of these changes is to simultaneously provide for the possibility of fully automated procedures in all three pillars of German procedural law and hereby ensure a largely uniform development of the three procedural acts. Amongst the procedures established is the possibility of the electronic notification of administrative acts through government portals.

First project phase

During a first phase of the project, the research was conducted concurrent with the legislative process. Special attention was given to the analysis of whether the changes in the General Tax Code could be used as a template for a possible adaptation of the Administrative Procedure Act or whether and to what extent independent legal solutions would have to be developed.

Interim results of the first phase:

Second project phase

  • Braun Binder, Nadja, Vollständig automatisierter Erlass eines Verwaltungsaktes und Bekanntgabe über Behördenportale, DÖV 2016, 891-898
  • Braun Binder, Nadja, Weg frei für vollautomatisierte Verwaltungsverfahren in Deutschland, Jusletter IT 22.09.2016, online at
  • Braun Binder, Nadja, Ausschließlich automationsgestützt erlassene Steuerbescheide und Bekanntgabe durch Bereitstellung zum Datenabruf, DStZ 2016, 526-535
  • Martini, Mario, in: Paal, Boris P./Pauly, Daniel A. (Hrsg.), Datenschutz-Grundverordnung. Kommentar, 2017, Art. 22 (Automatisierte Entscheidungen im Einzelfall einschließlich Profiling)

Aims and research questions

The overall aim within the framework of this research project, which started at the beginning of 2016, is to develop proposals for the legal arrangement of fully automated administrative procedures according to the Administrative Procedure Act, with special consideration of the legal limits of such procedures.

In particular, efforts are focussed on the following research questions:

  1. Which administrative procedures are suitable for fully automated implementation and under which conditions can administrative procedures be processed in a fully automated manner?
  2. With regard to securing the lawful and uniform application of substantive law, is the use of risk management systems and / or similar control systems required? What are the legal limits to the use of automated risk management and / or control systems?
  3. To what extent are deviations from the principle of investigation permissible?
  4. What about the protection of the rights of those affected by the new system?
  5. What changes are necessary in light of the electronic notification of administrative acts?

Related Links:

Promulgation of the Law on the Modernisation of the Taxation Procedure in the Federal Gazette on 22 July 2016 (BGBl. I, 1679)

Records of the parliamentary legislative process

Public hearing (BT-Drs. 18/7457) of the Finance Committee, 13 April 2016

Note: The text on this home page is copyrighted. It is taken verbatim or based on Martini, "Digitalisierung als Herausforderung und Chance für Staat und Verwaltung" (Digitalisation as Challenge and Chance for State and Administration), FÖV Discussion Paper No. 85, 2016, in particular p. 58 f.

Senior Fellow

Jan Ziekow

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c.* Jan Ziekow




PD Dr. Nadja Braun Binder