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Posts Tagged ‘Steuer’

Biersteuer

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Biersteuer is a tax that is paid on beer in Germany.  The level of tax is based on the gravity of the beer, measured in Grad Pluto, which is effectively a measurement of the amount of sugar and thus ethanol that the beer contains.

The tax is included in the price of beer when you buy it, and is collected by the government from the brewers.

Homebrewers, whilst not having to pay the tax provided that they do not produce more than 2 hectolitres per year, are still required to register their brewing activities with the customs office.

Alcohol-free beer is not usually taxed in this way, although mixed drinks such as shandy (eg. Radler) are.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Kaffeesteuer

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Kaffeesteuer is a tax on coffee in Germany.  The tax is included in the price of coffee that is bought in German shops.

The tax originally started in Prussia, but was confirmed in its current form before the formation of the Federal Republic in 1948 in is even mentioned in the German basic law (Grundgesetz).

This causes problems for people who buy their coffee outside of Germany, for example in Dutch supermarkets or by mail order.  Theoretically they should declare the coffee and pay the tax, and failure to do so can cause the tax office to investigate the non-payment.

Whilst the mail-order situation may be clear, buying the coffee for one’s own personal use and bringing it back to Germany causes a conflict between various German tax and custom laws, not to mention EU laws.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Sektsteuer

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Sektsteuer, or to give it its proper name Schaumweinsteuer is a tax on some types of alchoholic drinks in Germany.  In particular this applies to Sekt – sparkling wine.

It was originally introduced in 1902 to fund the building of what is now known as the Kiel Canal and of the Imperial Navy, and was later used to provide funds to build Germany’s U-Boot fleet.  However, between 1933 and 1939 the tax was not applied in order to help the economy during the Great Depression.

The tax is still applied today.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Solidaritätszuschlag

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

The Solidaritätszuschlag is an additional form of tax that was originally conceived to assist with the re-building of East Germany after re-unification.

It was introduced in 1991 and although there was a break of 2 years in the 1990s, it is still valid today and anyone who pays tax in Germany also pays this Zuschlag on top.

The Solidaritätszuschlag is often a point of discussion, especially a to how long we will have to continue paying it – 18 years after re-unification.  However, at the moment there appear to be no plans to discard it again.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Das Finanzamt

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

The Finanzamt is the German tax office.

Normally, you only contact with the Finanzamt will be your annual tax return – the Einkommenssteuererklärung.

However, if you are self-employed then you will come into close contact with it as you are involved in Umsatzsteuer (VAT) for your business and taxes such as Lohnsteuer for your employees.

The Finanzamt also collects Church Tax on behalf of the churches and if you buy a flat or a house in Germany then they will also send you a bill for Grunderwerbssteuer (land purchase tax).

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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