Submission deadline ends: Property tax return due by today


Status: 01/31/2023 03:02 a.m

Today is the deadline for filing property tax returns. But many explanations are still pending. What happens if property owners miss the deadline? What happens now? Answers to some questions.

How many owners have submitted property tax returns?

Shortly before the end of the filing deadline, a good two-thirds of property owners have submitted their property tax returns. As a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Finance said, by January 29, around 59.77 percent of the total expected declarations had been sent electronically nationwide.

In addition, an estimated 9.09 percent of the declarations were received on a paper form nationwide. The rate of declarations received is therefore more than 68 percent. The submission deadline is this Tuesday.

What if the declaration does not arrive on time?

If there is no explanation, the tax authorities can threaten a fine – and then set it in a further step. The authorities would set deadlines for both. It is the last resort to force the taxpayer to submit the return. According to the Haus & Grund owners’ association, penalties of up to 25,000 euros could be threatened.

In addition, the authorities can demand a surcharge for delays – for example 25 euros per month of delay or part thereof. However, most federal states want to forego late payment surcharges or penalties for the time being. The tax authorities have signaled that they will send out reminder letters first.

If the property tax return is not submitted at all, the responsible tax office will estimate the tax base. This, in turn, is likely to have a predominantly negative effect on the owner. “An estimate by the tax office has never been advantageous for taxpayers,” Jörg Leine, tax expert at “Finanztip” told the “Tagesspiegel”. It means “more property tax than necessary, and that for many years”.

Can I object to the decision?

Objections can be lodged against the real estate tax assessment, which is issued on the basis of the declarations of the citizens – just like with income tax. The Association of Taxpayers (BdSt) refers to this. Anyone who wants to defend themselves against the tax assessment must already object to this value assessment within one month, it says. If no objection is filed, the decision becomes final.

The objection can be filed free of charge by the owner himself with the tax office. The letter of objection must be addressed to the competent tax office, must be clearly recognizable as an objection and must state exactly which decision is being objected to. The objection does not have to contain a reason. According to the BdSt, it can be submitted promptly. As a rule, the tax office will request the justification within a period of time.

Costs only arise if there is a lawsuit before the tax court. This is the case if the objection was rejected by the tax office and the taxpayer wants to take further action against it.

When will the new property tax be due?

The new property tax calculation is to apply from 2025. Property tax is one of the most important sources of income for municipalities. You receive the income from the property tax. According to the Federal Ministry of Finance, it is currently almost 15 billion euros a year.

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

How high will the property tax be as a result?

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. The property tax multiplier is a factor that municipalities can use to calculate property taxes and thus influence revenue. It is given as a percentage. Municipalities can raise or lower the tax rate independently.

Therefore, it is now up to the municipalities, said Florian Köbler, Federal Chairman of the German Tax Union. “In this context, I would like to remind you of the promises made by the municipalities that there should be no serious additional burdens for the citizens as part of the property tax reform.”

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