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Germany Posts Overall Positive Tax Take In 2012

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

06 February 2013

The German finance ministry has recently published details of the tax revenue of the federation and federal states (Länder) in December 2012.

The figures show that total revenues received by the state and federal governments reached EUR551.8bn (USD746bn) in 2012, 4.7% more than in 2011.

Due to the ongoing positive performance of the labor market cash receipts from wages tax were up by 6.7% in 2012, while revenue from assessed income was up by 16.5%, with prepayments reaching a very high level for the year as a whole.

Cumulative revenue from corporate tax for January to December 2012 was up by 8.3% due to the positive state of the economy throughout the year overall. However, receipts from corporation tax in December 2012 declined by 9.5% compared with the previous year, and prepayments slid by 7%, albeit due to a single, special factor in one federal state.

Starting from a very low baseline figure in December 2011, the yield from the final withholding tax on interest and capital gains rose by 11.7% in December 2012. For the cumulative period January-December 2012, these receipts increased by 2.7% compared with 2011. Continuing low interest rates influenced the results for the year as a whole.

Receipts from value-added tax (VAT) in December were up by 5.8% over the same month a year earlier. The above-average rise boosted the increase for the year as a whole to 2.4%. As in past years, 2012 saw strong month-to-month fluctuations in VAT revenue, with monthly rates of change ranging from –5.5% to +7%. Import VAT revenue slipped by 1.3% in December 2012. As a result import VAT receipts were up just 2.2% for the year as a whole, compared with the 17.2% rise posted in 2011. In general, the yield from import VAT trended downwards over the course of 2012. While the first quarter saw an increase of 6.4%, the fourth quarter recorded a drop of 2.6%, reflecting the weakening momentum of the economy.

Tobacco duty posted a major decline in December 2012 (-13.9%), as the tobacco duty increase set for January 1, 2013 failed to cause purchases to be brought forward to the same extent as the previous year, when the duty rose on January 1, 2012. For 2012 as a whole, however, tobacco duty yield fell by only 1.9% year-on-year.

No tax receipts from nuclear fuel duty were recorded in December 2012; this compared with a take of EUR0.2bn in December 2011. The collection of nuclear fuel duty in 2012 as a whole was strongly impacted by large back payments from 2011 that resulted from a Federal Fiscal Court ruling that payments of nuclear fuel duty could not be suspended during ongoing legal proceedings. This was the main reason for the strong 70.9% gain posted in 2012.

Motor vehicle duty and aviation tax also recorded revenue declines in December 2012, at 11.7% and 14.4% respectively, although both registered positive growth rates for the year overall (+0.2% and +4.8% respectively.)

Energy duty receipts in December 2012 were down by 0.3% on the year due to a decline in revenue from the energy duty on fuel consumption. Energy duty yield in 2012 contracted by 1.8% in year-on-year terms. In contrast, the solidarity surcharge, insurance tax and electricity tax all posted revenue gains in December (+3.2%, +1.8% and +1.7% respectively).

TAGS: tax | value added tax (VAT) | insurance | budget | corporation tax | insurance tax | withholding tax | Germany | revenue statistics | individual income tax

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