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Hundesteuer: Germany collects record amount of dog tax

Many foreigners are surprised to learn that dog owners in Germany have to pay a special tax. And it's a big earner for authorities - last year Hundesteuer brought in a record €401 million.

A dog in Germany.
Germany has collected a record amount of dog tax. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Oliver Dietze

In 2021, cities and municipalities across Germany had higher revenues from dog tax than ever before, reflecting the trend of people adopting dogs during the pandemic. 

Authorities collected €401 million, according to new figures from the Federal Statistical Office – up from €308 million in 2020.

Dog tax revenue has risen steadily in the years before the pandemic, according to the Federal Statistical Office. In 2011, authorities collected just €275 million.

All dogs in Germany are subject to the Hundesteuer, an annual fee that dog owners have to pay. It’s in place to support local authorities but to also make people really consider whether they want to and can support a dog long-term. 

READ ALSO: Prostitution, dogs and loneliness: A look at Germany’s weirdest taxes

The district determines how high the tax is, and how exactly it is structured. In many places, the amount to be paid also depends on the number of dogs in the household and the breed of dog.

In Berlin, for example, the first dog costs 120 per year with each additional dog costing 180 per year. 

In Düsseldorf, the tax for one dog in the household is 96, which rises to 150 for two.

The trend towards having pets can also be seen elsewhere. For instance, the Industrieverband Heimtierbedarf (pet supplies industry association) and the Zentralverband Zoologischer Fachbetriebe (central association of specialist zoological businesses) reported in April that total sales in the German pet industry had risen by almost 10 percent – amounting to around €6 billion.

The German Animal Welfare Association, meanwhile, reported that many animal shelters were overloaded in the summer. According to several shelters, young dogs were among those being handed in most often. 

One reason could be that owners had to return to work after months of working from home and could no longer care for their dogs, according to the German Canine Association.

Member comments

  1. Dog tax is ok but it should be lower and the amount should be the same all over Germany – not varying in every town and village. Also a second or a third dog should double or treble in tax and not be some weird figure. Why can’t the Germans keep things simple? The bureaucracy here often makes no sense whatsoever.

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TAXES

Germany to extend (and increase) tax rebate for people working from home

Starting in 2023, people working from home will be able to deduct €1,000 per year for working from home, up from the previous annual amount of €600. Here's what you need to know.

Germany to extend (and increase) tax rebate for people working from home

This means that in future, 200 instead of 120 days devoted to ‘home office’ will be eligible for the €5 per day deduction, which was originally introduced amid the Covid pandemic in 2020 and was set to expire at the end of this year.

READ ALSO: Germany plans tax rebate for people working from home

The sum can be deducted regardless if a separate workspace is used or available – meaning it applies to employees working on their couches or kitchen tables.

“This especially relieves families with smaller flats, who don’t have the space available for an extra office,” according to a statement on the German government’s website.

Employees who do have a separate study, though, can furthermore claim €1,250 back on their taxes.

However, certain criteria must be met – for example, the room must be used exclusively for professional purposes and must be separable from the rest of the apartment.

All workers in Germany also receive a lump sum of income-related expenses, which can be deducted each year: that amount is going up by €200 in 2022, bringing the total to €1,200.

The higher working-from-home allowance is part of the Annual Tax Act 2022, which was discussed by the Bundestag Finance Committee on Wednesday, and is set to be approved on Friday.

In September, about a quarter of employees in Germany were ‘continuing to work from home’ after Covid-measures were relaxed, according to the Munich-based Ifo Institute.

READ ALSO: Who benefits most under Germany’s tax relief plans

More tax changes

The new tax law will also introduce an ‘excess profits tax’ (officially called the “EU energy crisis contribution”) for companies that make large profits from oil, natural gas, coal and refineries. 

People with larger incomes will also be required to pay the tax on the gas price cap, which is set to be paid out to residents early next year. 

Vocabulary

Deduct – abziehen

Workspace – (der) Arbeitsbereich/ (der) Arbeitraum

Lump sum – (die) Pauschale

Income-related expenses – (die) Werbungskosten

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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