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Almost every third property tax return is still missing

More than two-thirds of property owners submitted their property tax returns shortly before the deadline.

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Almost every third property tax return is still missing

More than two-thirds of property owners submitted their property tax returns shortly before the deadline. As a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Finance said on Monday, around 59.77 percent of the total expected declarations had been transmitted electronically by January 29. In addition, an estimated 9.09 percent of the declarations were received on a paper form nationwide. The total rate of declarations received was therefore around 68.86 percent. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday.

There has obviously been a sharp increase in returns in the past few days, as it was said in Berlin, for example. A spokesman for the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Finance said that experience has shown that deadlines are often used as far as possible.

In mid-October, the federal states had extended the submission deadline from the end of October to the end of January 2023 due to the slow receipt of the new property tax returns from the tax authorities.

When the deadline expires, the tax offices will first send out reminders, as the Schleswig-Holstein Finance Minister Monika Heinold (Greens) said. The tax authorities then also have the option of levying surcharges for delays and penalties and making estimates. The Bavarian Ministry of Finance stated that the tax authorities would take into account late payment surcharges or, ultimately, estimates that property tax was a "new law". The taxpayers' association explained that every citizen can apply for an extension, including justification, individually at their tax office.

From 2025, the new property tax calculation will apply. The Federal Constitutional Court had demanded this, because the tax offices recently calculated the value of a property on the basis of completely outdated data, from 1935 in East Germany and from 1964 in West Germany. Almost 36 million properties now have to be revalued for the recalculation. The tax authorities need data from all owners, even if they only own an allotment. Usually it is about the land and living space, the type of building, years of construction and the so-called standard land value.

Property tax is one of the most important sources of income for municipalities. It is an annual tax on the ownership of land and buildings - but a landlord can also pass it on to the tenants via the utility bill. For most apartment owners, it is a few hundred euros a year, for owners of apartment buildings, on the other hand, it is often four-digit amounts.

How much property tax the individual owners will actually have to pay from 2025 will remain open for a while. Because that depends crucially on the so-called assessment rates of the municipalities.

Brandenburg's Finance Minister Katrin Lange (SPD) appealed again to property owners shortly before the end of the deadline to submit their property tax returns. At the same time, she said in the ARD "Morgenmagazin" with a view to possible sanctions for defaulting owners: "Our tax offices will not bring out the big guns now." The submission deadline expires this Tuesday, January 31st.

At the moment, people have "a whole bag of problems, the energy crisis, inflation and then the Treasury is coming around the corner with a corresponding declaration," said Finance Minister Lange in the "Morgenmagazin". It is often the case that people like to put off something that is complicated. "That's why some are a bit hesitant." Lange also referred to instructions on the Internet for filling out the declaration.

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