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German pension tax bills anger Austrians

Published: 29 Mar 2013 10:48 GMT+01:00

Wolfgang Nolz, head of customs and international affairs at the Austrian Finance Ministry, told Austrian radio that the notion of suddenly demanding back payments was unique in European tax history.

The amounts to be repaid range from €5 to several thousand and date back to 2005. “It’s barely possible to suddenly pay that all back in one lump,” Nolz said. Some 150,000 people are thought to be affected.

Vienna called it an “unfortunate move.” Austria’s conservative finance minister Maria Fekter is thought to have addressed the issue with her German counterpart Wolfgang Schäuble some months ago.

A delegation is expected to travel to Neubrandenburg in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, home to the tax office responsible for Germans in receipt of pensions abroad, after Easter with the aim of discussing possible exemptions.

DPA/The Local/kkf

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

15:05 March 29, 2013 by chicagolive
LMAO oh my God I feel out my seat laughing, does he really think Germans will give a tax exemption. Kill a kid and it will take months before you might even see trial and you can get off with 7 years and a mental problem. Forget a tax form due on March 1 they will be at your door March 15 to haul you off to jail for 12 years.
18:46 March 31, 2013 by Kennneth Ingle
What is unusual about German tax offices demanding money from pensioners living abroad? Britain takes similar action towards Britons who do not live overseas permanently. These are expected, at the very latest, to pay income tax on returning to the country, for earnings received outside of British jurisdiction.

The truth is, that often wealthier Germans take a sham residence abroad, in order to avoid German taxes, although they spend most of their time in Germany.

In my opinion, it is more unfair, that the German authorities also place tax and charge health insurance charges on some foreign pensions, although these have been subject to social insurance deductions during the time of employment. The same applies to some private pensions which have been financed alone by the pensioner. A return of such money to the payer cannot strictly be regarded as income, but the grabbing hands of the tax department show no mercy.
06:39 April 1, 2013 by luise28
California does this too........thousands of pensioners move to Arizona or Texas to alleviate high taxes, but THE TAX MAN
10:53 April 1, 2013 by ChrisRea
@ Kennneth Ingle

According to the German Tax Code, the private pensions are taxed only if the contributions were given tax relief. And in general, also the contributions to the state pensions are given tax relief (so you do not pay tax on money earned and paid right away to the pension funds). So instead of taxing the money during the contribution period, they are taxed when the pension is paid out.
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