Land tax: one more tax return, higher rents
Property Tax Life in prefabricated housing becomes more expensive
- Because the property tax is calculated according to an outdated procedure, the federal government must develop a new concept.
- The current plans could lead to rents rising in social hot spots. Because landlords are allowed to transfer the property tax on the rent.
- For real estate owners, the plans probably mean more bureaucracy, they should make an extra tax return.
The German capital must often serve for superlatives, as a party city, Venice on the Spree or political bubble. It is less well known that she actually earns the superlative in another area: in property tax.
Berlin is the German municipality in which it is most complicated to raise the property tax. There are districts such as Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, where houses in the same street have to be double-measured. If a house had belonged to East Berlin before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the grounds for assessment applicable from 1935 apply to land, which simply remained valid in the former eastern part. In the neighboring house, which once stood in West Berlin, the real estate values from 1964 are expected.
“Complicated” is that, according to the Senate Administration. The announced reform of the property tax is also causing headaches. Because this could lead to the rents in the east of Berlin rising significantly. The legislature allows the property tax to be fully allocated to the rent. As a result, it would be worth mentioning that massive increases in rent could occur in social hotspots such as the prefabricated building areas.
Although it is resisted in the Senate, that there will be “an automatic”, according to which in the east of the city, the land tax is significantly high, but not in the West. But that there could be a problem is recognized.
The values of the land were not adjusted over 50 years
Also in the Federal Ministry of Finance, one is aware of the possible rent increases. The Social Democrat Finance Minister Olaf Scholz leaves enough room to rule out exorbitant rent increases. Opinion on whether in the course of the reform of the property tax, the complete remittance to the rent will be maintained, “is not yet completed,” Scholz can answer a request of the FDP parliamentary group.
“We have to stop the explosion of rents”
Justice Minister Katarina Barley considers the development of rents to be “the social issue of our time”. A conversation about promises and failures of politics. Interview by Robert Roßmann, Berlin more …
The federal government must reform the property tax for real estate, since the previous regulation in a judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court of April 2018 was classified as “unconstitutional”. The unit values for real estate, which had not been adjusted for more than 50 years, were “completely outdated” and led to “grave unequal treatment” of the property owners, Karlsruhe decided. The legislature is to create a new regulation by the end of 2019. If the deadline expires, the current rules should no longer apply. Although the judgment refers only to cases from the old federal states. In the new federal states, the situation is comparable.
Also for the property owners should change a lot. On the one hand, the Federal Ministry of Finance assumes that they will have to submit an additional tax return to the tax authorities in the future. “At the moment, with all known reform models, it can be assumed that a declaration of taxation or declarations will be necessary,” says Scholz. How much effort on the homeowner is due, is still unclear. “To the extent of the obligation to explain and to estimate the bureaucracy effort, no reliable statements can be made at present.”
Authorities can not exchange data because the software is missing
It is also unclear how the real estate should be valued in the future. The Federal Constitutional Court left the federal government “basically a wide margin” to decide what exactly should be taxed – so only the land or the real estate – and how the valuation rules can be designed, says Scholz. The only requirement is that the taxable base must be suitable for “recording the tax burden on the property tax and, at the same time, showing the relation of the assets to each other in a realistic manner”.
Behind the complicated formulation hides the demand that in the valuation of real estate not only the land area, but also factors such as the location, the basic development and the equipment of the property may be relevant. It was “not obliged to commit to the choice of a single yardstick for the assessment of the taxable amount”.
It also emerges from the reply of the Federal Ministry of Finance that the electronic data exchange between the federal states and between the federal government and the federal states is not far away. The Federal Government would have “no reliable knowledge about the automated data exchange,” says Scholz. The exchange is necessary in order to harmonize the data required for the assessment of the property tax and make it digitally retrievable. At present, the federal states are modernizing their IT-based taxation procedures, said Scholz. The federal government cooperate.
Land tax is levied by the Länder on developed or undeveloped land that is not attributed to agriculture or forestry. It covers about ten percent of municipal tax revenue. The total income from property tax in 2017 was just under 14 billion euros. It is allocated to the rent as part of the additional costs.