Inside Doric – 6 Questions for Stefanie Preis

Stefanie Preis is a tax consultant and Head of Tax, SPV Management, and Accounting at Doric Asset Value GmbH. In this capacity, she oversees comprehensive tax management for open and closed-ended funds, as well as management of the corresponding Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs). Previously, she served as Senior Tax Consultant and Head of SPV Management at Quadoro Investment GmbH where she also oversaw tax management for open-ended funds. With nearly four years at the Doric Group, she brings extensive experience to her role. Prior to joining Doric, she spent eight years specializing in international tax law within Tax & Legal at PwC. In addition to her studies in business administration with a focus on controlling, banking & finance management and taxes & auditing, she completed her Executive Master of Accounting & Taxation at Mannheim Business School.

1. What do you do in your day-to-day work and what do you like best about it?

My day-to-day work involves supervising the special assets of several funds regarding national and international tax law. This includes ensuring tax compliance both in Germany and internationally and ranges from examining tax returns and assessments to representing the respective companies before tax authorities and handling tax audits. Additionally, my daily work includes cross-border tax planning and structuring of our funds, particularly regarding the acquisition of real estate and real estate companies. Another part of my daily work involves continuously monitoring our structures in light of tax reforms at home and internationally as well as developing strategies to optimize these structures for tax purposes. For the SPV Management and Accounting department, I am responsible for the comprehensive supervision of the respective real estate companies of the special assets. Tasks here range from the establishment of companies to decisions on capital measures as well as monitoring management and shareholder resolutions and managing company service providers. Another area of responsibility is SPV accounting and the presentation of the financial and income situation of the SPVs. 

To stay up to date with the latest investment tax law, I am a member of the Tax Committee and Working Group for Open-ended Property Funds at the Federal Association for Investment Funds on behalf of the Doric Group. What I like most is the variety in my daily work between traditional tax compliance and project work. There are always new topics that arise, challenging me and allowing for the further expansion of my expertise.


2. What has been your most important project so far and what project are you working on at present?

There have been some interesting projects but what sticks in my memory are the tax due diligence projects which involve a thorough examination of the tax risks associated with property acquisitions. The aim of tax due diligence is to analyse the various types of taxes that may arise during property acquisition and identify any tax risks that can vary significantly depending on the property. Due diligence is an extremely complex and crucial measure in the context of property acquisition. The variety of topics I got to learn about through this process and their risk assessment fascinated me. Currently, I am working on a comprehensive tax review of our structures to identify opportunities for saving administrative costs for the SPVs. Given the tense market situation in the real estate industry and the decline in market yields, it is becoming increasingly important to minimize other cost burdens. This could be achieved through a tax restructuring.


3. Why did you choose to work in the tax field?

The pivotal moment came when I attended my first lectures in tax. Due to increasing globalization, international tax law is becoming more and more significant. Crossing borders raises many complex tax questions with regard to taxation internationally, the taxation of financial statements in Germany, the avoidance of double taxation or compliance with reporting and compliance regulations. This means that today, more than ever, expert tax knowledge must be available that meets the international requirements of being as up-to-date as possible and that comprehensively and thoroughly examines various aspects of this complex field. The tax world is constantly changing and is characterized by rapidly increasing complexity which has always intrigued me. You always have to stay on the ball and continue to develop professionally in order to discover new structuring opportunities. Finding new ways to optimise tax structures is like a puzzle and requires lateral thinking. My enthusiasm for this has not lessened over time.


4. What challenges do you face in your day-to-day work?

In recent years, there has been an increase in new tax regulations aimed at curbing aggressive cross-border tax arrangements, combatting tax avoidance practices and ensuring greater tax fairness and transparency. The goal is to achieve appropriate taxation and an international distribution of the tax base. As our structures are predominantly cross-border, it is a daily challenge for me to monitor new tax regulations in the respective countries and to react to these changes at an early stage with my team and thus avert tax risks for our investors.


5. How do you see your future at the Doric Group and the future of the tax sector in general? 

The tax function has been undergoing change for years, evolving from the traditional tax department to a governance function within the company. In addition to the general goal of fulfilling tax obligations, the objective of risk minimisation is becoming increasingly important. Risks are still only occasionally discovered during tax audits. However, the aim should be to identify risks at an early stage to initiate countermeasures. At Doric the tax function is becoming increasingly significant, not only with regard to the return on structures, but also in terms of minimising tax risks in an international context. I am delighted to be responsible for shaping these tax functions at Doric and to be able to drive this area forward significantly. In the future, it will also be important to identify new areas of investment opportunities, particularly in the field of renewable energy. It will be exciting to see what structures we can develop to gain a foothold in this area.


6. What are you passionate about in your free time?

I enjoy spending my free time with my family and friends. It's important to me to maintain a healthy balance between my personal and professional life. Clearing my mind daily helps me approach new topics creatively and maintain a consistently high level of performance. Therefore, engaging in active sports plays a significant role. In my leisure time, I enjoy going to the gym. I also love traveling to exceptional destinations around the world and immersing myself in the local culture whilst experiencing the beautiful aspects. One of my preferred methods is to indulge in excellent local cuisine in the company of locals.