Michael Sell was born in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany. He is married with one daughter.
After qualifying as a lawyer, he worked in the tax department of a major German tax
consultancy and audit company. In 1993, he joined the public administration, working as a
specialist in public service law in the German Federal Ministry of Finance. He moved to the
Federal Chancellery in 1998, where he became head of the division responsible for tax policy
and later head of directorate. In 2008, he switched to the Federal Financial Supervisory
Authority, where he held the position of executive director for horizontal tasks and internal
Since May 2012, Sell has been head of the Taxation Directorate-General at the Federal
Ministry of Finance in Berlin.