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Low income earners face high tax, social contribution burden

Not much left of your paycheque at the end of the month? Workers in Germany have the second highest tax and social contribution burden of 30 nations, according to a new study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Low income earners face high tax, social contribution burden
Photo: DPA

The group said that the tax burden was highest for single households with lower incomes. In 2008, a single person earning two thirds of an average annual German wage of €44,000 ended up losing almost half his or her pay packet – some 47.3 percent – in taxes and social security contributions. The OECD average was only 33.5 percent.

But the organisation said the German tax system also put double income couples at a disadvantage.

“On the other hand, if only one partner holds a job, then the social contributions are relatively moderate in an OECD comparison. And that’s irrespective of whether the couple has to take care of children,” the group said in a statement.

People with high incomes profit the most from the country’s tax and welfare regime, according to the OECD thanks to caps on social security contributions past a certain salary limit.

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PROPERTY

Why Germany is mulling an extension to property tax deadline

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) is seeking talks with state leaders to arrange a possible extension to the deadline for submitting the new property tax declaration. Here's what's going on.

Why Germany is mulling an extension to property tax deadline

Under plans to reform how property tax is calculated, around 36 million homeowners in Germany have been asked to fill in a tax declaration this year. 

The deadline for submitting the new declaration is currently set to expire at the end of October. But according to Finance Minister Lindner, just a quarter to a third of property owners have completed their tax return so far. 

Speaking on the RTL/ntv programme Frühstart, the FDP politician said he would arrange talks with the state premiers this week in order to pitch a deadline extension of at least a few months. 

“My offer: we extend the deadline for submitting the property tax return by a manageable period of time,” he said.

Lindner said it was important to be “realistic” about the fact that some citizens, especially older property owners and pensioners, felt overwhelmed with the tax return. 

He also acknowledged that there had been problems with the software for submitting tax returns, which had added to homeowners’ woes. 

Reform has faced numerous hurdles

The new system will primarily calculate the tax rate using land value and rent, though states will be able to introduce other regulations.

Advocates of the change say the new system is fairer than the current one that bases the tax rate on the (often outdated) value of the property. 

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However, attempts to carry out the largest tax reform since the Second World War have hit numerous hurdles along the way, with property owners complaining of difficulties filling in and submitting the declaration.

There were also issues affecting the government’s Elster tax portal, which was overloaded with users in July after the tax offices started accepting property tax declarations. 

The problems have led to growing calls to extend the deadline until at least January 31st, 2023. 

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