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23 March 2017

March 2017 month­ly re­port

Translated abstract of the Federal Ministry of Finance's March 2017 monthly report

Federal budget trends up to and including February 2017

Trends in the federal budget


Actual 20161



Actual2 as of
February 2017

Expenditure (€bn)3


Year-on-year change in % (year to date)

Revenue (€bn)3316,8322,149,8

Year-on-year change in % (year to date)

Tax revenue (€bn)289,0301,046,9

Year-on-year change in % (year to date)


Fiscal balance (€bn)


Financing/use of surplus:


Cash resources (€bn)


Revenue from coin (€bn)


Transfer to reserve funds (€bn)

Net borrowing/current financial market balance4 (€bn)0,00,0-11,6
1 Actual figure (provisional) and subject to the entry into force of the supplementary budget for 2016
2 As per accounts.
3 Excluding revenue and expenditure from internal offsetting.
4 Changes in reserves can only be calculated following the final closure of the budget.
5 (-) debt repayment; (+) borrowing
Source: Federal Ministry of Finance

Revenue trends

Federal revenue totalled around 49.8bn in the January–February 2017 period, representing a rise of 16.4% (+€7.0bn) over the same period in 2016. Tax revenue, which accounts for the largest share of total revenue, was up by 21.0% (+€8.1bn). At €1.1bn, other revenue was only slightly below the 2016 figure.

Trends in federal revenue






change in %
(year to date)

January to February 2016

January to February 2017


in %



in %


I. Tax revenue


Federal share of joint taxes:


Revenue from personal and corporate income taxes (incl. final withholding tax on interest and capital gains)


of which:


Wages tax


Assessed income tax


Non-assessed taxes on earnings


Final withholding tax on interest and capital gains


Corporation tax

13,7214.313,2494.1678342 -49.6

Value added taxes (VAT)


Trade tax apportionment


Energy duty


Tobacco duty


Solidarity surcharge


Insurance tax


Electricity duty

6,5692.16,5302.01,1061,024 -7.4

Motor vehicle tax

8,9522.88,9002.81,6221,617 -0.3

Nuclear fuel tax


Spirits duties


Coffee duty

1,0400.31,0500.3171170 -0.6

Aviation tax


Supplementary grants to Länder


EU GNI own resources

-19,911-6.3-21,680-6.7-4,090976 -123.9

EU VAT own resources

-4,250-1.3-2,440-0.8-1,169-433 -63.0

Grants to Länder for public transport


Grants to Länder for motor vehicle tax and HGV toll


II. Other revenue

27,8398.821,0216.54,0792,947 -27.8

Revenue from economic activity

6,8472.25,4681.74543 -4.4

Interest revenue


Loan repayments, holdings, privatisation revenue

2,8900.91,8000.615551 -67.1

Total revenue1

1 Excluding revenue from internal offsetting.
Source: Federal Ministry of Finance.

Expenditure trends

Expenditure amounted to €62.2bn in the first two months of the year, an increase of €0.9bn (+1.4%) over the same period last year.

Federal spending is separated into consumption and investment expenditure. Consumption expenditure rose by 2.4% (+€1.3bn) on the year in the January–February 2017 period. This rise was largely the result of an increase in human resources spending and in the ongoing grants and subsidies for public administrations and other areas. Consumption spending was significantly tempered by lower interest payments, however. Interest expenditure was down by €1bn (12%) compared with the same period last year. Investment expenditure declined by 10.0% ( €0.5bn) on the year, which was due to a reduction in federal financial assistance. Fixed asset investment rose at an above-average pace, up by 16.4% in year-on-year terms.

Trends in federal expenditure by function







change in %
(year to date)

January to February 2016

January to February 2017



in %



in %


General public servic

72,181 23.277,807 23.612,49212,541+0.4

Economic cooperation and development

7,732 2.58,501 2.61,5671,590+1.5


34,613 11.136,62 11.15,8365,756 -1.4

Government, central administration

14,580 4.716,326 5.02,7642,972+7.5

Revenue administration

4,507 1.54,56 1.4693712+2.8

Education, science, research, cultural affairs

21,472 6.923,935 7.32,9953,031+1.2

Support for school and university students and training programme participants

3,516 1.13,977 1.2677767+13.3

Science, research and development outside of higher education institutions

11,406 3.712,729 3.91,0801,012 -6.3

Social security, family youth affairs, labour market policy

160,593 51.7170,486 51.831,90833,716+5.7

Social insurance including unemployment insurance

106,939 34.4111,943 34.024,05925,172+4.6

Labour market policy

34,566 11.137,057 11.35,4606,014+10.1

of which: Unemployment benefit II under Book II of the Social Code

20,349 6.621,000 6.43,5703,808+6.7

Unemployment Benefit II, government housing and heating allowances under Book II of the Social Code

5,384 1.76,500 2.07901,025+29.6

Family assistance, welfare services, etc.

8,065 2.68,275 2.51,3711,394+1.7

Social benefits for the consequences of war and political events

2,026 0.72,111 0.6399450+12.9

Health, environment, sport, recreation

2,074 0.72,324 0.7271298+10.0

Housing, regional planning and local community services

2,427 0.83,324 1.0402456+13.6

Housing, home ownership savings premium

1,866 0.62,378 0.7396447+12.9

Food, agriculture and forestry

900 0.31,25 0.46671+7.4

Energy and water supply, trade and services

4,252 1.46,039 1.81,5831,341 -15.3

Regional support measures

719 0.21,585 0.52426+8.2

Mining, manufacturing and construction

1,705 0.51,546 0.51,3481,06 -21.4

Transport and communication

18,313 5.920,818 6.32,2292,346+5.2


8,660 2.89,154 2.8770868+12.7

Railways and public transport

5,623 1.86,420 2.0820606 -26.1

Financial management

35,232 11.323,117 7.09,388,412 -10.3

Interest expenditure

17,501 5.618,471 5.68,4277,413 -12.0

Total expenditure2

310,581100.0329,1 100.061,28262,156+1.4
1 Actual figure (provisional) and subject to the entry into force of the supplementary budget for 2016
2 Excluding expenditure from internal offsetting.
Source: Federal Ministry of Finance.
Trends in federal expenditure by economic category







change in %
(year to date)

January to

February 2016

January to

February 2017


in %


in %


Consumption expenditure


Personnel expenditure


Salary payments




Current material expenditure


Non-personnel expenditure


Military procurement

9,9633.211,2583.41,288936 -27.3



Interest expenditure

17,4985.618,4625.68,4267,413 -12.0

Current grants and subsidies


to public administration


to other sectors




Private enterprises


Pensions, assistance etc.


Social insurance funds


Other asset transfers


Investment expenditure

33,18310.736,07111.04,5834,125 -10.0

Financial assistance

24,3587.826,0357.94,0103,458 -13.8

Grants and subsidies

22,7877.322,6396.93,6313,242 -10.7

Loans, guarantees


Acquisition of holdings; capital contributions

5010.21,4690.4278113 -59.4

Fixed asset investment


Construction measures


Acquisition of movable assets


Acquisition of real property


General reduction/increase in expenditure


Total expenditure2

1 Actual figure (provisional) and subject to the entry into force of the supplementary budget for 2016
2 Excluding expenditure from internal offsetting.
Source: Federal Ministry of Finance.

Fiscal balance

The fiscal balance stood at 12.3bn for the January–February 2017 period. In other words, expenditure exceeded revenue by this amount.

Revenue and expenditure are subject to strong fluctuations over the course of the fiscal year and thus have an uneven effect on cash funds in individual months. Net borrowing also tends to fluctuate considerably over the course of the year. This means that the fiscal balance at this point in the year and the corresponding net borrowing figures are not reliable indicators of the end-of-year figures for the fiscal balance and net borrowing.

Trends in general government tax revenue

Current-year trends in tax revenue (excluding local authority taxes)1








2017 estimates4


in €m

in %

in €m

in %

in €m

in %

Joint taxes


Wages tax2


Assessed income tax


Non-assessed taxes on earnings

489 -36.41,969+3.319,220 -1.2

Final withholding tax on interest and capital gains

855+100.72,002+18.25,240 -11.8

Corporation tax

365+1.666.1683 -49.626,750 -2.5

Value added taxes (VAT)


Trade tax apportionment


Increased trade tax apportionment

32 -11.0176+195.23,664+1.9

Total joint taxes


Federal taxes


Energy duty

1,463+0.61,74+2.640,000 -0.2

Tobacco duty


Spirits duty incl. alcopops duty

239 -0.1453+4.42,050 -1.0

Insurance tax


Electricity duty

498 -3.81,024 -7.46,530 -0.6

Motor vehicle tax

733+4.61,617 -0.38,900 -0.6

Aviation tax


Nuclear fuel duty


Solidarity surcharge


Other federal taxes


Total federal taxes


Länder taxes


Inheritance tax

474+10.1994+11.45,307 -24.3

Real property transfer tax


Betting and lottery tax

149 -0.2341+13.61,850+2.3

Beer duty

41 -3.595 -6.6667 -1.6

Other Länder taxes


Total Länder taxes

1,785+4.33,677+6.121,235 -5.0

EU own resources


Customs duty

469+1.1831 -2.25,300+3.7

VAT-based own resources

236 -71.0433 -62.92,440 -42.6

GNI-based own resources

2,015 -52.7-976X21,680+8.9

Total EU own resources

2,720 -50.9288 -95.329,420+0.5




22,334+8.344,147+6.6288,292 -0.1


2,720 -50.9288 -95.329,420+0.5

Local authorities’ share of income tax and value added tax


Total tax revenue (excluding local authority taxes)

1 Methodology: Total cash income from the various taxes is recorded and allocated to the various government levels as stipulated by law. Actual tax amounts collected in the current month by individual government levels may differ from target amounts due to technical reasons.
2 After deduction of child benefit refunds by the Federal Central Tax Office.
3 After supplementary grants; any discrepancies with table on federal revenue are due to methodology used.
4 Source: Working Party on Tax Revenue Estimates, November 2016.

Tax revenue in February 2017

Total tax revenue (excluding local authority taxes) posted another robust year-on-year gain in February 2017, up by 8.3%. The sharp increase in revenue from joint taxes (which were up by 9.0% on the year due to higher receipts from wages tax and value added taxes) played a key role in this result. Revenue from assessed income tax and corporation tax also posted strong increases in February 2017. Receipts from final withholding tax on interest and capital gains were also up tangibly in February compared with the same month last year. In contrast, there was a decline in revenue from non-assessed taxes on earnings. Receipts from federal taxes were up significantly on the year (+6.5%), and revenue from Länder taxes again recorded strong gains (+4.3%).

EU own resources

Payments of own resources to the EU, including customs duties, fell by 50.9% in February 2017 compared with the same month last year. On a cumulative basis, an even greater year-on-year decline of 95.3% was recorded in the January–February period. This was the result of three factors. First, the Federation received €4.7bn in January 2017 as a result of corrections and EU amending budgets from previous years, giving the 2017 federal budget a one-off boost. Second, Germany was granted a discount on its VAT-based own resources as a result of the implementation of the Own Resources Decision. This will reduce transfers of VAT-based own resources by 50% in 2017 compared with 2016. Third, Germany’s annual contribution of GNI-based own resources was set about €2bn lower in the 2017 EU budget than in 2016, leading to lower monthly transfers. Overall, therefore, it is anticipated that Germany’s transfers of own resources to the EU will be lower this year than in 2016. Payments are subject to fluctuations over the course of the year, depending on the EU’s financing needs at any given time.

Cumulative overview of the January–February 2017 period

Tax receipts increased by 6.2% overall in the January–February 2017 period. This upward trend was apparent in receipts from joint taxes (+6.7%), taxes accruing to the Federation (+4.1%), and taxes accruing to the Länder (+6.1%).

Distribution among the Federation, Länder and local authorities

The Federation’s tax receipts (after accounting for supplementary federal grants to the Länder) rose by 24.6% on the year in February 2017. The main factor in this large increase was the drop in own resources payments to the EU, as described above. There was also a 7.7% increase in the Federation’s share of revenue from joint taxes. This was due to a change in the formula for distributing VAT revenue, as part of a move to increase federal support for the Länder and local authorities to help them pay for refugee-related costs. This led to changes in the allocation of VAT revenue to the Federation, Länder and local authorities compared with the previous year. The Länder’s tax revenue increased by 8.3% on the year in February 2017. This was because the Länder now receive a higher percentage of VAT revenue, combined with growth in receipts from joint taxes and taxes accruing to the Länder. Local authorities’ shares of receipts from VAT and joint taxes were up by 28.8% and 14.4% respectively over February 2016.

Joint taxes

Wages tax

The steady upward trend in wages tax revenue in recent months continued, buoyed by the ongoing positive employment situation and further wage increases. Gross revenue from this tax increased by 4.4% on the year in February 2017. Child benefit payments, which are financed from wages tax receipts and must be subtracted from this figure, increased by 2.7% over the same month last year. On balance, cash receipts from wages tax were up by 5.0% in year-on-year terms in February 2017.

Corporation tax

Receipts from corporation tax were up on the year in February 2017. However, revenues from this tax are usually subject to strong fluctuations over the course of the year. Prepayments are due in March, June, September and December, and the months in between tend to be marked by lower revenues. A 16% increase in retroactive prepayments for 2016 as a result of assessments for 2015, combined with rising back payments and falling refunds, all point to a continuation of the upward trend in corporate profits. Prepayments are generally adjusted based on the most recent assessment. Hence when there is a sustained upward economic trend, there is a time lag of between one and two years before rising profits have a noticeable impact on tax revenue. The March result for corporation tax revenue will however be more significant in terms of identifying the general trend. After deducting investment allowance payments, which are continuing to decline in volume terms, cash receipts from corporate tax stood at €0.4bn for February 2017. However, a high volume of corporation tax refunds is still expected for 2017 due to high court rulings which have not yet had an impact on revenue (Federal Fiscal Court rulings on the STEKO case and section 40 of the Capital Investment Companies Act).

Assessed income tax

Gross revenue from assessed income tax was up by 36.9% over February 2016. Given that a large part of the revenue from assessed income tax is dependent on the current economic situation, receipts from this tax showed a similar trend to corporation tax. Retroactive prepayments for 2016 also rose by 16%, and the balance of back payments and refunds showed a significant improvement. As is the case with corporation tax, the figures for prepayments in March will reveal more about the general trend. Cash receipts from assessed income tax stood at approximately €1.0bn in February 2017, after subtracting employee refunds, investment allowance payments and owner-occupied homes premiums.

Non-assessed taxes on earnings

February 2017 saw a year-on-year drop of 26.1% in gross receipts from non-assessed taxes on earnings. After deducting refunds by the Federal Central Tax Office, which are financed from this revenue and which were up by 9.5%, cash receipts from non-assessed taxes on earnings fell by 36.4% in February. However, taken in combination with the revenue increase in January, there was still a slight year-on-year increase in the January–February 2017 period (+3.3%).

Final withholding tax on interest and capital gains

In February 2017, receipts from final withholding tax on interest and capital gains doubled compared with February 2016. The trend in recent months suggests that revenue from this tax will see something of a stabilisation at a lower level. The rise in February could be due to revenue from the taxation of capital gains. No reliable information can be provided on this question, however, as statistical data on the breakdown of revenue from interest and from capital gains is not available.

Value added taxes

VAT revenue once again posted above-average growth in February 2017 (+7.0%) following a considerable increase in the previous month. There may be a trend reversal in the coming months, though, given the fact that VAT revenue can display high volatility over the course of the year. Receipts from domestic VAT grew by 5.7% in year-on-year terms, while the yield from import VAT climbed by 12.1%.

Taxes accruing to the Federation

The Federation’s total tax receipts were up sharply by 6.5% on the year in February 2017. The most significant increase involved revenue from tobacco duty, which rose by 41.8%. The trend in tobacco duty receipts is determined by purchases of excise stamps by the tobacco industry and is therefore dependent on tobacco companies’ sales strategies. The revenue increase in February 2017 is therefore more of an adjustment after the weak trend in previous months than an indication of increasing tobacco consumption. Receipts from energy duty recorded an increase of 0.6% while revenue from insurance tax rose by 3.6%. Other taxes posting revenue gains included aviation tax (+5.5%), the solidarity surcharge (+10.6%) and coffee duty (+16.7%). In contrast, receipts from electricity duty were down by 3.8% on the year in February 2017. Trends in revenue from other taxes had only a minor impact on the overall results for federal taxes.

Taxes accruing to the Länder

Revenue from taxes accruing solely to the Länder rose by 4.3% on the year in February 2017. Inheritance tax receipts were up by 10.1% on the year. Year-on-year revenue gains were also recorded for real property transfer tax (+2.9%) and fire protection tax (+3.4%). Receipts from betting and lottery tax remained at almost the same level as in the same period last year ( 0.2%), while beer duty revenue fell by 3.5% on the year.

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