After constitutional court judgment: Bundestag decides property tax

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After constitutional court judgment

The CSU enforces in the new regulation that the countries have leeway for their own models. Tenants are threatened by the change higher utility costs.

Detached houses are next to each other

In Söder's model, the tax is calculated strictly according to plot area Photo: dpa

BERLIN taz | The Bundestag has decided with the votes of Union, SPD, FDP and Greens, the revision of the land tax. Left and AfD voted against it. Thus, the legislator meets the requirements of the Federal Constitutional Court, which had required a new regulation by the end of 2020 due to outdated calculation principles.

After months of negotiations, especially the CSU can record the new regulation as a victory. The Federal Ministry of Finance under Olaf Scholz (SPD) had proposed a model in which the value of the real estate for the calculation of the property tax amount is determined.

Bavaria, on the other hand, preferred a so-called area model in which the owners of land in prime locations pay the same tax rate as those in poor regions. Although Prime Minister Markus Söder did not have enough allies in the Bundesrat to block the Scholz model, he was able to successfully introduce his veto in the Federal Government. The CSU argued above all with the bureaucracy of the Scholz model.

Scholz's value-based model applies in principle to the new regulation, but the Länder are granted an opening clause with which they can decide on another model. For this was a constitutional amendment and thus a two-thirds majority in the Bundestag required.

Of great importance to the municipalities

The FDP had signaled its approval this week after the grand coalition agreed to a simplification clause. Since land tax is also included in the computation of the Länder financial equalization, different calculation methods for the tax must not lead to a situation in which countries will pay less than they are. The FDP wanted to avoid with the clause a resulting increased bureaucracy.

The Greens agreed after the Grand Coalition relinquished property tax C and did not limit its application to landlocked but undeveloped land to areas with housing shortages. This should counteract soil speculation.

The SPD, the Greens and the Left did not succeed in transferring the property tax to tenants. This was mainly due to the tactics of the SPD. Although the Social Democrats demanded at an early stage that property tax should no longer be passed on to tenants in the future, but wanted to bring this only in the negotiations, after the agreement was on a calculation model. When this was found, they lacked any means of pressure even in view of the short time for a new regulation.

Especially with the value-based model, tenants in popular inner-city districts are at risk of higher utility costs. However, the consequences will only be felt from 2025 on, because the Federal Constitutional Court has left a transitional period for entry into force until the end of 2024. The property tax is of great importance to the municipalities. In 2018 they took about 14 billion euros on the property tax.

(TagToTranslate) Land tax (t) Olaf Scholz (t) State financial equalization (t) Markus Söder (t) Bundestag (t) Germany (t) Politics (t) taz (t) daily newspaper

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