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German Lawmakers Agree Climate Package

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

23 December 2019

On December 18, 2019, the mediation committee of the lower and upper houses of the German parliament (Bundestag and Bundesrat) announced an agreement on the Government's climate legislation, which includes several tax measures.

The legislation agreed by the committee includes the following main tax changes:

  • A reduction in the rate of value-added tax on long distance rail journeys (those in excess of 50km) from 19 to seven percent from January 1, 2020. Currently, only rail fares for journeys of less than 50km qualify to be taxed at the seven percent reduced VAT rate, with the remainder taxed at 19 percent.
  • An increase in the tax on air fares as follows: intra-EU flights from EUR7.50 (USD8.34) to EUR13.03; intermediate flights of between 2,500km and 6,000km from EUR23.43 to EUR33.01; and long-haul flights in excess of 6,000km from EUR42.18 to EUR59.43.
  • The introduction of a carbon pricing scheme for the transport and building sectors, and greenhouse gases from heating, which are not currently covered by the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme. The scheme will entail the introduction of emissions allowances at EUR10 per tonne of CO2 in 2021, rising to EUR35 per tonne in 2025. From 2026, carbon permits will be auctioned, with the program setting a minimum price of EUR35 per tonne and a maximum price of EUR60 per tonne in this second phase. From 2026, the number of emissions permits will be fixed, before declining on an annual basis in accordance with Germany's emissions reductions targets.
  • A tax deduction for work carried out to make residential buildings more energy efficient. This will be available for owner-occupied properties which are at least 10 years old, with the maximum spend set at EUR200,000.

The climate package was approved by the Bundestag on November 15, 2019, and partially approved by the Bundesrat on November 29, following which the bicameral committee was formed to address concerns from state governments about potential revenue losses.

The climate plan was expected to be approved by the full Bundesrat on December 20, 2019.

TAGS: environment | VAT rates | tax | value added tax (VAT) | air passenger duty (APD) | energy | aviation | environmental tax | travel and tourism | legislation | carbon tax | Germany | Europe

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