One in 11 taxpayers fall within Germany’s highest tax bracket

One in 11 taxpayers fall within Germany's highest tax bracket
A tax return form. Photo: DPA.
A new study shows that one in 11 workers in Germany fall within the country's top tax bracket - and it's not just very high earners who face big burdens.

The study released on Tuesday by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW) shows that one in 11 Germans pays the top income tax rate of 42 percent, amounting to 4.2 million people.

Single workers without children fall into this bracket when their gross annual salary amounts to €65,000 or more. A family with two children in which only one of the couple withdraws a salary will generally pay the the top tax rate starting at a gross income of €135,000.

The top ten percent of earners are also paying nearly half of the total amount of income tax collected, while the top 30 percent pay more than two-thirds of all income tax.

On the other hand, 2.7 million workers do not pay any income tax because they earn too little.

“An analysis of the distribution of the most revenue-productive types of tax shows that in Germany the broadest shoulders bear the heaviest burden,” the report states.

The study also notes that households with very high incomes were not completely included in the data for the report, and therefore their share of tax revenues could be even higher.

The report also reveals how much average earners are burdened by taxes. A single person with no kids making about €1,960 per month pays about 46 percent in taxes and social contributions.

And a single person earning €3,250 per month spends about 51 percent of their paycheck on taxes and social contributions, while married couples and families earning the same amount also end up giving almost half of their incomes to the state.

Germany has the second highest tax burden in the developed world, according to a study released last week by the OECD.

The IW study authors write that there should be reforms to the tax system, despite the fact that its overall goal – to ensure that those with the most money face the brunt of the tax burden – seems to be working.

The authors conclude that lowering income tax rates – especially for low income earners – would relieve individual tax burdens, and would also increase incentives for people to extend work hours and take up jobs that are subject to compulsory social insurance.