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Everything that changes in Germany in September 2023

Rachel Stern
Rachel Stern - [email protected]
Everything that changes in Germany in September 2023
The artwork "Time Field" by Klaus Rinke in the Düsseldorf Volksgarten. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Strauch

From discounted train tickets to another service going digital, here are the big changes and happenings in Germany this September.

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Vehicle registration goes digital

Until now, anyone who wanted to register their car always had to go to a physical office, known as a KFZ Zulassungsstelle. But as of September, Germany's new Vehicle Registration Ordinance states that the once-cumbersome process can take place entirely electronically.

The advantage of this is that you can drive your car immediately after you register it online and no longer have to wait for the vehicle documents and sticker to be sent to you. You can be on the road without these documents for up to 10 days as the digital registration certificate will serve as proof. The costs are also set to be lower than that of local registration.

Special Deutsche Bahn discounts

Calling all train aficionados, young and old(er): throughout September, Deutsche Bahn is offering discounts for over-65s and under-27s when they buy a BahnCard 100. The promotional prices still won't be cheap though, as the special card makes it entirely free to travel on all Deutsche Bahn trains for a full year. 

The promotion, which runs through September 1st, will also be valid for both the first and second-class compartments of trains.

Discontinued route

However, if you want to travel to Lake Konstanz on the ICE with your shiny new BahnCard 100, you should do it near the start of the month. DB is discontinuing its weekend ICE service from Hamburg to Konstanz, which was introduced in the summer timetable, from September 10th.

Afterwards, the ICE will run regularly again between Hamburg and Karlsruhe.

READ ALSO: On which popular routes in Europe is train travel cheaper than flying?

Lake Konstanz

Lake Konstanz in southern Germany, where a 38-year old man died over the weekend. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

EON lowers prices for electricity and gas

Electricity and gas prices for customers of the utility company EON are set to fall starting on September 1st, according to the company. Prices for electricity are to be reduced by an average of 18 percent, while those for gas should dip by 28 percent. According to EON, you don't have to do anything to benefit from the reduction. 

The costs will also decrease for customers who have special contracts beyond the basic supply.

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"Best Brewery of 2022" will not cease operations after all

Voted "Best Brewery of the Year 2022", Strecks Brauhaus from Ostheim vor der Rhön in Bavaria was to cease operations for good at the end of September. The reasons were a mix of factors that hurt their business: from the pandemic to the war in Ukraine to overpowering competition from large breweries.

But the closure was averted once Biermacher GmbH from the town of Seeheim-Jugenheim in Hesse became aware of the brewery's plight and invested enough to keep them afloat. This means that Streck's brewery will continue to exist and its 26 employees will keep their jobs for the time being.

ELSTER changes storage of mails in the inbox

The financial portal ELSTER, through which many people file their tax returns, will change a long-standing practice on September 18th. Until now, users have found all messages that have ever been received in the message folder on the site. Now only important documents will be permanently stored, while all others will be deleted after one year. Users should therefore check by the start of the new month whether their documents have been selected for deletion - if so, they can download and save them in advance.

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Tax deadline

On the note of filing taxes, don't forget to submit your Steuererklärung for 2022 (if you're not working with a tax advisor or association) by the deadline of September 30th. But if you're not on track to meet this, we lay out in this article what you can do to receive an extension of up to four months.

READ ALSO: New deadlines and deductions: How to file taxes in Germany in 2023

ELSTER tax return

A computer displays Germany's ELSTER tax return portal. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Christin Klose

"Hardship fund" application must be submitted by September 30th

People whose pensions only just reach the level of basic income support may be able to receive money from the German government's Hardship Fund (Härtefallfond) by submitting a written application by September 30th. But the extra funds are only geared towards specific groups of people, namely those affected by the "East-West pension transition", Jewish refugees from the former Soviet Union, and "late repatriates". Beneficiaries can receive up to €5,000 extra annually. Further information can be found on the "Stiftung Härtefallfonds" website, and an application can be submitted here.

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Coca-Cola raises prices

Anyone who wants to keep downing drinks like Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite or Mezzo Mix beyond August will have to live with a change in September: the beverage behemoth is raising its prices. Coca-Cola attributed the price spike to higher costs for electricity, gas, logistics and raw materials such as plastic or aluminium, but also sugar - and as is well known, they use a lot of it. The increase is to be in the single-digit percentage range.

However, customers no longer have to fear a strike wiping the drinks off shelves completely, as was the case at many Edeka supermarkets around Germany last year. Edeka has withdrawn its lawsuit against the company, lodged after the first sudden increase in prices, due to low chances of success.

Halogen pins banned from September

With the Ecodesign Directive, the EU wants to ensure more energy efficiency in households. This means that from September 1st, new halogen pins such as low-voltage halogen lamps and high-voltage halogen lamps may no longer be sold. The ban does not apply to old products, however. 

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