• Germany's news in English

Wanted: 1,000 German tax collectors

The Local · 29 Apr 2013, 13:55

Published: 29 Apr 2013 13:55 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

At the time, it seemed like the perfect solution to a simple problem. Back in 2009, when the Federalism Committee met to discuss finance, it concluded that dividing car tax and a special insurance tax between state and federal bodies was a silly idea.

Much better, it thought, was for the federal states to collect the insurance tax (which is levied on insurance payments instead of value added tax) and for the federal government to take over responsibility for collecting car tax. That car tax pumps some €8 billion into the German economy each year.

But collecting car tax is tedious. Each year, 50 million tax notices and a further 8 million reminders have to be sent out - a mammoth task which will be taken over by federal bodies in July 2014. The problem is that they need twice as many employees than they presently have, to do the job.

In documents seen by the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, Finance Secretary Werner Gatzer writes "Only 641 of a total of 1,771 positions have so far been filled." The government had planned to fill the positions with staff who had previously worked in areas related to compulsory military service, which Germany abolished in 2011.

But the smooth transition that officials had been expecting did not materialize as many staffers did not relish the prospect of working in finance.

And although a statement reads "The prospect of continued employment in the federal service is very attractive to Bundeswehr employees," it acknowledges that the recruitment of sufficient personnel "will not be achieved on time."

New staff will have to undergo intensive training of between six and nine months. Gatzer has proposed to employ people through Vivento, an agency associated with Deutsche Telekom and which organized work for ex-Bundespost employees. But this could cost millions.

The opposition says the buck stops with finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble. "Mr Schäuble's superiority is at odds with his ability to get his own affairs in order," Social Democrat economic expert Carsten Schneider said.

Story continues below…

The Local/kkf

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd