Solidarity surcharge / Solidaritätszuschlag

There has been some discussion of stopping the solidarity surcharge paid together with German income tax since reunification, although it was supposed to end years ago. The Independent has an article on the subject today:

Ten per cent of the world’s taxation literature refers to the German tax system. There are 118 laws, 185 forms, 418 exceptions and 96,000 regulations, with one single legal comment on taxation alone covering 2,671 pages.
The administration of the German tax laws runs to a spine-numbing 28,000 pages and administrating it costs €23.7bn a year – approximately 2.5 per cent of the total amount of income tax yielded annually.
With such a magnificent and costly bureaucracy to maintain, the opponents of the soli tax fear it will be around to haunt their children and grandchildren as much as it does them.

10 thoughts on “Solidarity surcharge / Solidaritätszuschlag

  1. It “will” be around to haunt their grandchildren and indeed great great great great great grandchildren (if the current trend goes on there won’t be any grandchildren around anyway) etc. Margaret. Why don’t they just rename it the “Abzocksteuer” or “Sonstige Beschiss- und Diebstahlsteuer” and be done with it? Do we know of any tax that has ever been repealed?
    Rather than rant about the unfair, out-of-date and ridiculous German tax system, as you might expect me to do, I would just like to ask why I, as a British citizen who has lived in Germany for 29 years and still does not have the right to vote in German general elections (or indeed in the UK anymore, quite rightly too after this time I would say), should have to pay “solidarity” surcharge anyway…. Surely solidarity entails “like (-minded) helping like (-minded)”? Why should I, already taxed up to my eyeballs like most freelancers in this country, have to show solidarity with another nation’s unfortunate historical situation, not helped at all by the ridiculous decision of the German Government to up and go, lock stock and barrel from Bonn to Berlin when they already had a perfectly good capital? It really gets my goat (oh no … Goatism again….)


  2. It seems that Germans have a soft spot for temporary taxation that never ends. Just to mention “Kohlepfennig” (introduced in 1974 or 75, it was abolished in 1995 after the Constitutional Court ruled it was against the constitution; otherwise, it would still be with us) or “Sektsteuer” (introduced around 1900 by Germany’s Emperor [yep, we really had one over here], and we still pay it today), the solidarity surcharge is just one more tax that will stay with us until somebody finds a more barefaced way to dig for our money.

  3. I also find paying the Soli iniquitous, especially as many western German local authorities are so cash-strapped. But my comments relate to two other aspects of the article:
    1) “Ten per cent of the world’s taxation literature refers to the German tax system.” The figures I’ve seen in the literature range from “around 50 per cent” to “over 70 per cent”, and this range is what I myself cite in seminars on German tax. I wonder firstly where the 10 per cent comes from, and secondly whether I am the author of this article are not guilty of some sort of derivative snowclone (“Eskimos have x words for snow”)
    2) I know the verb appears in Merriam-Webster, but whatever happened to the good old verb “administer” in BE?

  4. Yes, I did notice that ‘administrate’. The percentages on tax literature were new to me. Maybe I will do a separate entry with that heading. What’s the evidence? I just found the figure of 60 per cent on expatica.

    Paul, we suffer extra as single people, don’t we? When Appy Linguist suddenly found himself leaving Denmark for Baden-W

  5. I thought Ossis – not only Wessis – pay the Soli, too. If so, it’s not just the West subsidising the East.

    The sheer scale of taxing legislation is not peculiar to Germany. Butterworth’s Manual of UK Taxing Statutes has had to be split over the years into an ever-bulkier Yellow and Orange Volume – a lot of both out-of-date right after the twice-a-year UK Budget – whilst Tolley on Tax is turning into a loose-leaf library.

  6. OK, Margaret. Could you also pls. re-open the comments on the Register vs. (Land) Registry Office entry. In view of the UK General Register Office website, I’m not very happy about the registry office arguments.

  7. Yes, I have reopened them. You may also like to comment on the original site, the Family Lore blog, to cheer up the blogger.

    I only closed these comments yesterday evening (August 1) because I got about 15 Chinese spammers posting masses of links. Until I move the blog, I have limited means of countering spammers. But no-one else can post those particular links here now.

  8. I wonder if his middle name is Wilhelm and he has assistants called Max and Moritz working for him – probably more effectually than the White House Aides advising the present incumbent.

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