While many real estate owners have not yet submitted their property tax return, others have already received the notices from the tax office. And for them, the question arises as to whether they should appeal against the decision on the property tax value.
Estimates assume that in the end millions could opt for the objection to prevent the decision from becoming final, as lawyers call it. There are said to be several hundred thousand objections to the tax offices.
If it is up to the President of the Federal Chamber of Tax Advisors (BStK), most citizens can save themselves an objection. "I don't expect anything from it, apart from paperwork," says Hartmut Schwab, himself a tax consultant and the highest representative of his profession. The statement is all the more remarkable because many tax consultants in the country act differently and prefer to lodge too many objections for their clients than too few.
According to a current online survey of around 6,000 members by the Federal Chamber of Tax Advisors, 45 percent "as a precautionary measure object to all decisions", 46 percent "only object if requested by clients" and only nine percent do not object.
Schwab also makes a distinction: In the event that filling-in errors are subsequently discovered, such as transposed digits, everyone should file an objection and have the values corrected. One month is time for that. But Schwab rejects general objections because of a possible unconstitutionality of the property tax reform.
In addition to the overloading of the tax offices, his argument is a political one: Even if the Federal Constitutional Court ultimately has doubts about the compatibility of the calculation method with the Basic Law, it will not demand the reversal of the tax payments made up to that point. "The Federal Constitutional Court cannot let the municipalities go bankrupt," says Schwab.
Florian Köbler, head of the German Tax Union, argues in the same direction. "The appeals won't come out. The Federal Constitutional Court will at most ask politicians to improve the law, but will not declare it void,” says Köbler.
The result: In the event of a subsequent improvement, no distinctions would be made between property owners with and without an objection, because such a subsequent improvement would only apply to the future anyway.
Tax consultants, the tax union and, for example, the taxpayers' association all agree in their demand that the assessments should only be issued provisionally from the outset. "Then there would be no objections," says Schwab. Because then there would be legal certainty for everyone.
The problem is that a landmark case must already be pending. Accordingly, the hands of the financial administration are tied.
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