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The Federal Ministry of Finance does not want to defend the solidarity surcharge in court


Is the solidarity surcharge still constitutional? In front of the Federal Fiscal Court, Christian Lindner's Ministry of Finance is apparently keeping his distance.

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Finance Minister Lindner: I would like to abolish the solidarity surcharge


Michelle Tantussi / REUTERS

When the Federal Fiscal Court negotiates the constitutionality of the solidarity surcharge next Tuesday, a prominent advocate will obviously be missing - namely the representative of the Federal Ministry of Finance.

According to a report by the "FAZ", Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) personally decided that his house would withdraw the so-called accession to the procedure before the Federal Fiscal Court.

It would have been the representative's job to defend the solos in court.

But that will probably not happen now.

A spokesman for the court confirmed that the ministry - contrary to what was previously planned - does not want to send a representative to the proceedings.

The about-face is remarkable, because with this step Lindner corrects a decision made by his predecessor Olaf Scholz (SPD), who is now Chancellor.

Lindner has been campaigning for a long time to abolish the solidarity surcharge, which now only applies to people with higher incomes.

SPD and Greens have spoken out against tax cuts for the rich.

In the coalition agreement, the traffic light parties had excluded the sensitive issue of the solidarity surcharge.

In the process, the Federal Fiscal Court must clarify whether the levying of the solis since 2020 is still constitutional.

A couple from Bavaria went to court.

The tax office set a solidarity surcharge of around 2,000 euros for the couple as an advance income tax payment for the 2020 tax year.

The couple requested that this payment be reduced to zero euros.

It stated that the solidarity surcharge was a supplementary levy and could only be levied to cover peaks in demand.

The tax office was unsuccessful.

The Nuremberg Finance Court also dismissed the lawsuit insofar as it related to the 2020 tax year.

Only for 2021 did it significantly lower the advance payment notice.

Since then, a new legal regulation has been in force, according to which only high earners pay the solos.

Is the solidarity surcharge still justified?

The first solidarity surcharge was introduced in 1991 and expired in mid-1992.

It served primarily to cope financially with reunification.

Its successor has been levied since 1995, it was initially seven and a half and then five and a half percent of the income tax to be paid.

However, there was an exemption limit, which in 2019 was EUR 28,569 for married couples assessed together.

Above this limit, the solidarity surcharge was gradually increased to five and a half percent.

From 2021, the limit has been raised significantly, so that 90 percent of taxpayers no longer pay the solidarity surcharge.

The exemption limit is more than 125,000 euros on taxable income for married couples.

The so-called Solidarity Pact II, with which the East German states were supported, expired in 2019.

The couple argued that the solidarity surcharge lost its justification in 2020 and violated the Basic Law.

The two also consider the regulation that will apply from 2021 to be unconstitutional and violate the principle of equality.

They went to the BFH against the decision of the finance court.

This must discuss whether he now also considers the Solidarity Surcharge Act of 1995 to be unconstitutional.

In that case he would have to submit the question to the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe.

As the BFH announced, the procedure involves tax revenue totaling around eleven billion euros per year.

A decision should not be made on Tuesday, it is expected to be announced at the end of January.

File number: IX R 15/20


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2023-01-11

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