Everything that changes in Germany in December 2022
From new train schedules to energy relief payments, here are the biggest changes and most important dates in Germany in December 2022.
In December all German pensioners will receive a one-time, €300 payment to cope with skyrocketing energy prices. However, the payment is taxed according to income. Employees already received their lump sum payment in September or October.
New Deutsche Bahn Train schedule
Anyone planning to travel by train in the near future can look forward to Deutsche Bahn’s new train schedule, which officially comes out on December 11th. Some of the highlights include:
-The opening of an ‘express route‘ (Schnellfahrtstrecke) between Wendlingen am Neckar and Ulm.
-The new express train ICE 3neo will travel on tracks between Cologne, Munich and Dortmund.
-Two routes will have 60 percent more seating available: Munich-Ulm-Stuttgart-Frankfurt Airport and Bremen-Osnabrück-Munich-Cologne
State employees to receive more pay
Starting in December, state employees can look forward to receiving 2.8 percent more pay. This affects more than one million employees covered by collective agreements. Trainees and interns in the public sector are slated to receive an extra €50 per month, with the figure going up to €70 within the health sector.
Fireworks allowed again
For New Year’s Eve in 2020 and 2021, Germany put up an official ban on fireworks and firecrackers, a notoriously popular way to ring in the New Year. But this Silvester, the nationwide ban is being repealed, much to the joy (or dread) of partygoers. It’s still possible that individual cities could enforce zones where a ban is still enforced.
Relief for gas and district heating.
As part of the gas price cap (Gaspreisbremse), the German government decided that the costs for people with gas or district heating would be covered by the state on a one-off basis in December 2022, based on the amount they were paid in September. If the landlord has a direct contract with the energy company they are to credit the payment to their tenants - which means that, if you're unlucky, you won't receive it until the end of 2023.
Apple launches emergency call SOS via satellite
Apple already released its new "Emergency SOS via Satellite" feature in the US and Canada. Starting in December, German users of the iPhone 14 models will also be able to use the feature - which allows them to connect to the emergency services even if neither cellular nor Wi-Fi reception is available.
New streaming service
Paramount Plus is a new streaming service launching in Germany on December 8th. According to the official press release, the streaming portal from Paramount Global, meanwhile, wants to do nothing less than "scale the pinnacle of streaming", by bringing a massive amount of hit TV shows and movies for €7.99 per month or €79.90 per year. The service will also be launched in Austria and Switzerland.
A less hairy situation
Regret getting that large dragon tattoo, or already preparing for an exotic beach holiday next year? As of December 31st, anyone in Germany who gets a tattoo removed or wants to have their intimate hair lasered off will only be allowed to have this done by cosmeticians or doctors who are actually trained for this and has a corresponding certificate.
Important December dates and deadlines
In addition to big changes, here are the biggest dates to take note of before next year.
Christmas post deadline
Anyone who is sending letters or packages to friends and family in Germany should take note of some important dates. Letters need to be sent by December 22nd, according to Deutsche Post. For packages, the cutoff date is December 20th. Outside of Germany, there are no guaranteed dates but earlier is always better.
First ‘Nationwide Warning Day’
On December 8th, German authorities will test how well official warnings via radio, television, apps or sirens would work in an emergency.
The new ‘Cell Broadcast Warning System’ will also be put to test for the first time on this day. In the system, messages will be sent like broadcast signals to all compatible devices. Unlike other warning systems such as Nina or Katwarn, you don't have to have an app to be alerted - just your normal cell phone if the test goes according to plan.
Deadline for voluntary tax returns
There is a four-year deadline for a voluntary tax return or freiwillige Steuererklarung. Employees can submit their voluntary tax return for 2018 to the tax office until December 31st. It can be submitted either by mail or online via the "Elster" portal. A declaration submitted late, even if on January 1st, 2023, will no longer be accepted.