Lindner’s deadline push upsets country colleagues

DThe federal states are reacting cautiously to the proposal by Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) to extend the deadline for submitting property tax returns. His counterpart in Düsseldorf was openly upset that the FDP politician was building up pressure. “It would be more expedient if Federal Finance Minister Lindner had first sought talks with the finance ministers at state level instead of communicating such announcements via the press,” North Rhine-Westphalia Finance Minister Marcus Optendrenk (CDU) told the FAZ

The same picture can be seen with the relief package: “Decisions are made in Berlin that go beyond the heads of the federal states that have not been coordinated with the federal states,” criticized the CDU politician. This is not how trusting politics between the federal and state governments works. With regard to the extension of the deadline, Optendrenk said: “We should first wait and see how things develop and agree on a uniform line at federal and state level.” This is planned for the next conference of finance ministers. “There is no reason to anticipate these discussions and to act hectically.” In North Rhine-Westphalia there are currently 1.9 million declarations.

Berlin’s finance senator Daniel Wesener (Greens) called the statements of the finance minister “unhelpful”. The finance ministers of the federal states had agreed to evaluate the receipt of the declarations on property tax in the next week and to discuss how to proceed. “We should also stick to that,” said the Green politician of the FAZ. In the capital, almost exactly a quarter of taxpayers have now submitted their tax returns.

Hard sanctions are not to be expected

Wesener speaks of a “strong dynamism” in the past few weeks. So far, only a few explanations have been received from tax consultants. “We know from experience that they maintain particularly strict deadline management and only submit them shortly before the end of the submission period,” he emphasized. In Stuttgart, too, it was said that they did not want to anticipate the conversation. However, Finance Minister Danyal Bayaz (Greens) had already indicated that he was open to Lindner’s request. To date, around 1.5 million declarations on the new property tax have been received in Baden-Württemberg, giving a tax rate of almost 27 percent.

Taxpayers who do not meet the deadline at the end of October obviously do not have to fear severe penalties. The automated late payment surcharge has been suspended for the new property tax, according to the Berlin tax authorities. It can be heard from Stuttgart that reminders are planned to be sent out in early 2023 to everyone who has not yet submitted. The new property tax is to be levied for the first time in 2025. The municipalities are entitled to the revenue. With the assessment rate, they finally decide on the specific load.

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