Trends in general government tax revenue
Total joint taxes
Total federal taxes
Total Länder taxes
EU--European Union own resources
Total EU own resources
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 Working Party on Tax Revenue Estimates, May 2017|
|Source: Federal Ministry of Finance|
Tax revenue in August 2017
Total tax revenue (excluding local authority taxes) rose by 6.8% on the year in August 2017. This increase was driven mainly by revenue from joint taxes – and within this category, especially from wages tax and non-assessed taxes on earnings – which continued its strong upward trend with a gain of 10.4%. Receipts from taxes accruing solely to the Federation declined by 7.9%, due to further repayments of nuclear fuel duty following the Federal Constitutional Court’s ruling of 13 April 2017. Receipts from taxes accruing solely to the Länder were up by 9.3% on the year in August, thanks primarily to higher yields from inheritance tax and real property transfer tax.
EU own resources
Transfers of own resources to the EU, including customs duties, were down by 42.7% on the year in August. Taken cumulatively, own resources payments were down sharply by 31.7% on the year in the first eight months of 2017. Transfers have declined significantly this year as a result of (a) balances resulting from EU adjustments and amending budgets and (b) the implementation of the EU’s new Own Resources Decision. Overall, it is anticipated that Germany’s transfers of own resources to the EU will be lower this year than in 2016. The amount of the monthly transfers is determined by the EU’s financing needs at any given time.
Cumulative overview of the January–August 2017 period
Total tax receipts were up by 4.1% on the year in the first eight months of 2017. This positive trend was driven mainly by a cumulative rise of 6.8% in revenue from joint taxes. In contrast, yields from taxes accruing solely to the Federation and from taxes accruing solely to the Länder posted drops of 8.0% and 1.0% respectively.
Distribution among the Federation, Länder and local authorities
The Federation’s tax receipts (after accounting for supplementary federal grants to the Länder) rose by 9.4% on the year in August 2017. This positive outcome was led by a strong 9.2% increase in the Federation’s share of revenue from joint taxes and a 51.6% decline in transfers of EU own resources from the federal budget. Another factor boosting the Federation’s tax receipts in August was a decline in supplementary federal grants to the Länder. In contrast, revenue from taxes that accrue solely to the Federation was down by 7.9% on the year in August. Länder tax receipts posted a year-on-year gain of 9.7% in August, after accounting for supplementary federal grants. This increase was driven by higher receipts from joint taxes (up 11.4%), taxes accruing solely to the Länder (up 9.3%) and federal subsidies for public transport (up 12.7%). The local authorities’ share of revenue from joint taxes was up by 12.6% on the year overall.
The upward trend in wages tax revenue seen in recent months continued in August 2017, buoyed by sustained positive employment trends and rising wages. Gross wages tax revenue climbed by 8.0% on the year in August. Child benefit payments, which are financed from wages tax receipts, were up by 0.7% compared with the same month last year. At the same time, taxpayer repayments of old-age pension allowances exceeded allowance payments, due among other things to the discontinuation of eligibility criteria. On balance, €50m in old-age pension allowances was repaid. As a result, cash receipts from wages tax were up by 10.4% on the year in August. In cumulative terms, cash receipts from wages tax increased by 6.7% on the year in the eight-month period from January to August 2017.
The positive trend in corporation tax receipts continued in August. August tends to be a low-yield month for corporation tax, so revenue was mainly generated from assessment activities. For example, there was a year-on-year increase in retroactive prepayments that were determined during the assessment process. The balance of back-payments and refunds remained virtually unchanged. Gross receipts from corporation tax were up by approximately €0.15bn. The deduction of investment allowance payments had only a negligible impact on cash receipts. Taken cumulatively, cash receipts from corporation tax increased by €0.15bn on the year in the eight months from January to August 2017. However, a high volume of corporation tax refunds is still expected over the course of 2017 as a result of high court rulings (Federal Fiscal Court rulings on the STEKO case and section 40a of the Capital Investment Companies Act).
Assessed income tax
As with corporation tax, revenue trends from assessed income tax were driven by assessment activities. Here, retroactive prepayments were up only marginally on the year, while the balance between back-payments and refunds (excluding employee refunds) narrowed. As a result, gross receipts from assessed income tax fell by 29.6% on the year in August to roughly €0.6bn. Refunds made to employees assessed for income tax declined by 16.5%. Payments of investment allowance and owner-occupied homes premium now have only a slight impact on revenue from assessed income tax; thus on balance, cash receipts from assessed income tax remained constant on the year. On a cumulative basis, cash receipts from assessed income tax rose by 16.2% on the year in the January–August period.
Non-assessed taxes on earnings
Taxes on dividend distributions by corporations are the main source of revenue in the category of non-assessed taxes on earnings. As in July, gross revenue from non-assessed taxes on earnings posted a major year-on-year gain in August – from €1.1bn in 2016 to €3.0bn this year – presumably due to a shift in the timing of dividend payments over the course of the year. Refunds paid out by the Federal Central Tax Office, which are subtracted from revenue totals, also increased. Overall, cash receipts from non-assessed taxes on earnings surged in August by 157.3% on the year, to €2.8bn. Cumulative cash receipts from non-assessed taxes on earnings in the first eight months of 2017 were up by 10.2% on the year.
Final withholding tax on interest and capital gains
Revenue from final withholding tax on interest and capital gains posted a year-on-year gain of 16.9% in August, continuing the positive trend seen in the past few months. Given the ongoing low interest-rate environment, this cannot be attributed to taxes on interest. It is more likely to be linked to trends in capital gains. It remains fair to assume that stock market trends are leading many investors to realise profits by selling their shares, resulting in an increased yield from capital gains tax. However, no separate statistics are kept on the two revenue components, so it is not possible to provide reliable information on this question. In cumulative terms, revenue from final withholding tax on interest and capital gains was up by 23.1% on the year in the first eight months of 2017.
Value added taxes
The yield from value added taxes recorded only a slight year-on-year gain of 0.5% in August. Receipts from domestic VAT fell by 1.6%, while import VAT revenue rose by 7.7%. For the eight months from January to August 2017, value added tax revenue was up by 4.5% on the year.
Taxes accruing to the Federation
Receipts from taxes accruing solely to the Federation were down by 7.9% on the year in August 2017. The reason for this decline is the Federal Constitutional Court’s decision of 13 April 2017 (2 Bvl 6/13), which ruled that the Nuclear Fuel Duty Act is unconstitutional and therefore null and void. Taxes collected on the basis of this law – a total of approximately €6.3bn – were paid back in June 2017. An additional €1.0bn was paid back in August. The bulk of this latter amount consisted of interest payable on tax refunds in accordance with section 233a of the Fiscal Code.
High-revenue federal taxes posting gains in August included energy duty (+2.1%), tobacco duty (+17.7%), solidarity surcharge (+6.9%), insurance tax (+2.8%) and motor vehicle tax (+1.4%), while receipts from electricity duty dipped by 3.0%. Taken cumulatively, receipts from taxes accruing solely to the Federation were down by 8.0% on the year in the first eight months of 2017.
Taxes accruing to the Länder
Receipts from taxes accruing solely to the Länder were up by 9.3% on the year in August 2017. Sharp gains were posted by both real property transfer tax (up 11.3%) and inheritance tax (up 10.2%). In cumulative terms, the yield from Länder taxes in the first eight months of 2017 was down slightly on the year by 1.0%, due to a decline in inheritance tax revenue.