Economy & Politics

Short-time workers face surprises at the tax authorities

Is short-time work tax-free? At first glance only Photo: dpa / Jens B├╝ttner

Officially, bridging the loss of wages is tax-free, but recipients still pay an additional fee afterwards. Now unions want to suspend the regulation for this year.

Stuttgart – The German Tax Union and the DGB are campaigning to suspend a regulation on the tax burden on short-time benefits this year. The regulation, according to which the tax rate on the remaining income is subsequently increased at recipients of this benefit, can hardly be conveyed to the people, said the head of the German tax union, Thomas Eigenhaler, of our newspaper. DGB country chief Martin Kunzmann also speaks in favor of this approach.

Tax returns are mandatory

Short-time work allowance, for which around ten million employees are currently registered, is intended to narrow the gap between current and regular salaries and is tax-free. However, the tax rate that would have resulted had the short-time allowance been taxed would be applied retrospectively to the remaining income. As a result, the short-time work benefit will later be indirectly charged.

In order for the tax authorities to collect the money, all employees who have received more than 410 euros in short-time work benefit per year must file a tax return the following year.

“Estate is justifiable”

Given the wide range of subsidies that the state is currently granting to companies and employees, it is justifiable to also grant people in short-time work a corresponding discount, said Eigenhaler. Since millions of employees do not file a tax return, ten million short-time workers would otherwise create many new tax cases.

The DGB does not consider the progression reservation to be unjust from the outset. In view of the “great pragmatism” that politicians are currently exercising towards taxable companies, it is justified to accommodate short-time workers, too, explained Kunzmann.

Ministry defends today’s regulation

The country’s finance ministry defends the current regime. A waiver would lead to lower income and would also help people with a low total income less than high earners. The CDU parliamentary group in the state parliament also wants to stick to the regulation. A waiver would break the principle that the level of income taxation depends on economic performance, said fiscal policy spokesman Tobias Wald.

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