Ground owners may have more time for their property tax returns after the reform decided by the black-red governing coalition. “I’m worried that everything will go well,” said Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He was regularly told “how the situation is, also when making the declarations”.
When asked whether owners and tax consultants needed more time for them, he replied: “We don’t have to make any decisions yet.” The federal states had assured him that the data technology was now viable. “But people and their tax advisors have many things to do at the same time. That’s why I’m taking a close look at it.”
How are cities reacting?
At the end of 2019, the black-red coalition reformed the property tax – not entirely voluntarily, but under pressure from the Federal Constitutional Court. Only after a new regulation was their further collection based on the unit values from 1964 in the west and 1935 in the east still permitted until the end of 2024. The Treasury took two and a half years for further preparatory work, such as programming the Elster query. The tax authorities granted the owners of around 36 million properties, houses, condominiums and commercial space in Germany four months to report their data for the new property tax – from July to October of this year.
But shortly after the start, the portal for submitting electronic tax returns on the Internet (“Elster”) got stuck. First there was talk of current “restrictions on availability”, then the online tax office closed completely for a short time. The tax consultants are pushing for an extension of the deadline. The four-month period was utopian from the start, said the president of your chamber organization, Hartmut Schwab, after the Elster breakdown of the FAZ – he called for a time equalization.
With a revenue of around 15 billion euros, the property tax is an important source of income for the municipalities. The new regulation will take effect for the first time in 2025. Some federal states have taken the opportunity to then go their own way with property tax. The question of who will pay how much in the future cannot yet be answered seriously, since the individual municipalities will only decide very late on their respective assessment rate, the tax rate for property tax.
The city representatives have promised not to use the new regulation to enrich themselves at the expense of the citizens – but that only applies to the total revenue of a municipality. Nevertheless, it can be expensive for the individual – otherwise the reform could have been left alone. There will be load shifts.