Federal Tax Court negotiates the solidarity surcharge

The plaintiffs Margarete and Andreas Berberich are standing in the courtroom of the Federal Tax Court. Holds the Federal Supreme Court
for taxes and customs duties to be unconstitutional, the procedure is submitted to the Federal Constitutional Court.


(Photo: dpa)

munich, berlin The oral hearing before the Federal Tax Court (BFH) in Munich this Tuesday lasted just over an hour: The IX. The Senate examined whether the application of the solidarity surcharge, which will continue to be applied as of 2020, was unconstitutional. The judges did not indicate a trend.

In the end there was at least one decision that was presented by the president of the BFH, Hans-Josef Thesling: The decision in the joint procedure (file number IX R 15/20) will be announced on January 30. Then it is clear if the demand Federal Constitutional Court will be presented in Karlsruhe.

The BFH negotiated a model claim from the Association of Taxpayers (BdSt). With the help of the association, a couple from Bavaria demand the solidarity surcharge. The lawsuit has been going on for three years. The Nuremberg Finance Court had dismissed the claim at first instance (file number 3 K 1098/19), but allowed an appeal to the BFH due to the fundamental importance of the matter.

The Soli is a complementary tax to Personal Income Tax and Corporate Tax. It has been raised since 1995 to finance German unity. And this despite the fact that at the end of 2019 the II Solidarity Pact expired as aid to the development of the eastern federal states and federal-state financial relations were reorganized. In 2021, about 90 percent of all taxpayers would no longer have solos. Above all, top earners and companies still have to pay the surcharge.

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The plaintiffs argue that the surcharge became unconstitutional after the expiration of the II Solidarity Pact. Supplementary taxes are “purpose taxes”. If the purpose no longer applies, the associated tax would also have to be omitted, said the representative for the two plaintiffs, tax attorney Roman Seer.

billion for the federal budget

In addition, the plaintiffs and their lawyers accuse the federal government of violating the Basic Law’s principle of equality, because only a small minority of taxpayers have to pay the tax, but not the vast majority. “It’s really an additional income tax,” said law professor Seer. The president of the Taxpayers Association, Reiner Holznagel, criticized: “The solidarity surcharge has now become a tax on the rich through the back door.”

The solidarity surcharge should inject around twelve billion euros into the federal budget in the current year. Like all tax revenue, the soli is not earmarked. The funds were never used exclusively for the construction of the Orient.

Federal Minister of Finance christian lindner (FDP) had decided that his department would not participate in the BFH proceedings, contrary to the position of his predecessor, the current chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). the PDF He has long been calling for the total abolition of the solis.

FDP deputy parliamentary group leader Christoph Meyer said: “Hopefully today’s negotiations will be the beginning of the end of the solidarity surcharge, even if that ends up being the case.” Federal Constitutional Court will make a final decision.” At the latest when the Solidarity Pact expires, the constitutional basis for collecting the solidarity surcharge will cease to apply.

christopher meyer

The deputy chairman of the FDP parliamentary group speaks on behalf of his party for the end of solos.

(Photo: IMAGO/Future Image)

At the same time, Meyer rejected a reallocation of the soles: if federal revenues were reduced by abolishing the solidarity surcharge, this would not be offset “by other tax or rate increases.” Solos should be “fundamentally abolished.” This also “contributes to reducing the burden on citizens and businesses in the crisis.”

>> Read also: The abolition of the soli would especially relieve people with high incomes

The vice president of the Green Group, Andreas Audretsch, emphasized that the BFH had negotiated the solos “and not the question of a fair fiscal policy”. “The principle that those who earn the most have to make a higher contribution is completely independent of the outcome of the process,” said the Green politician. At a time when many people with little money have to accept severe cuts in daily life, it is “absurd” to take over from the country’s richest.

The Director of the Tax Law Institute of the University of Cologne, Johanna Hey, clear about the post process. She emphasized: “Doubts are not enough. If the BFH approves the solos, the plaintiffs can file an appeal for unconstitutionality.”

More: All important questions and answers about solos

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