Many owners find it annoying and overpriced: the dog tax. In certain exceptional cases, the annual compulsory contributions are waived.
The dog tax is used to tax the keeping of dogs. This is a municipal tax that is used to finance municipal tasks. Because the dog tax is a public levy, dog owners cannot control what exactly they finance with their contribution.
How much is the dog tax?
The amount of the dog tax varies depending on the city and municipality. The dog breed and the number of dogs kept also determine the levy. In a big city, the dog tax is significantly more expensive than in a small municipality. If the dog is classified as dangerous, then the owner must also pay a higher sum. The size of the four-legged friends does not matter: owners do not pay more tax for large dogs than for small ones.
In most cases, the contributions are between 40 and 200 euros per year. In exceptional cases, the tax may be higher. However, there are certain circumstances under which owners can be exempt from dog tax or at least pay a reduced contribution.
Especially in cities, the dog tax can be © expensive IMAGO/Michael Bihlmayer
When will I be exempt from dog tax?
In certain cases, the dog tax does not apply to pet owners. Assistance dogs that have been specially trained for people with disabilities are exempt from dog tax. These include, but are not limited to, guide dogs for the blind, signal dogs for the deaf and assistance dogs for people with reduced mobility. These four-legged friends support their owners in everyday tasks and make a significant contribution to their protection as well as their mobility and independence. The tax exemption can be made with a written application to the local town hall. As a rule, the severely disabled person's pass must be presented. In addition, the special training of the dog must be proven with appropriate documents.
There is also no need to pay dog tax for rescue dogs that are trained in the search and rescue of missing persons. These include, for example, avalanche detection dogs or water rescue dogs.
In the case of purely commercial purposes, the dog tax does not apply
No dog tax is payable for four-legged friends who are in the service of the police, the military or other state institutions. Service dogs are used for various tasks such as drug search, forensics or security patrols and play a central role in public safety. The exemption from dog tax is a recognition of their official obligations.
A tax exemption also applies to four-legged friends who support shepherds in their work. Shepherd dogs keep the herd together and provide protection from predators. Hunting dogs, which are used for forestry, field and hunting protection, are also exempt from tax. It should be noted, however, that they must be in the service of professional hunters, confirmed game wardens, forest officials, employees in the private forest service or commissioned field and forest wardens. If a private individual owns a terrier or dachshund that is not used for hunting, then there is no tax exemption.
In general, no tax has to be paid if the four-legged friends serve a purely commercial purpose. That's why dog breeders or dog dealers don't have to pay dog tax. The attitude here serves an exclusively commercial purpose. Depending on the municipality, the adoption of a shelter dog is also waived for six months to three years.
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When is there a reduction in dog tax?
In other cases, dog tax must be paid, but a reduction can be applied for. One possible scenario concerns guard dogs that are used exclusively to guard a business or an agricultural property in the outdoor area. The guarded building must be at least 200 meters as the crow flies from the nearest inhabited building. If the four-legged friend also serves personal purposes and, for example, also guards the private apartment on the same property, then there is no benefit.
A tax reduction can also be applied for therapy dogs, as they are used in a therapeutic environment such as hospitals, nursing homes or schools. Further exceptions apply to dogs that live in the shelter as well as to dogs whose owners receive unemployment benefits, social assistance or similar. When applying, a copy of the social assistance notice or the unemployment benefit notice must be submitted.
The amount of the discount depends on the regulations of the respective municipality. In most cases, the information can be found on the website of the town hall. A reduction of 30 to 50 percent is to be expected.