Real Estate

When residents should pay for the street

Road construction work: the residents have to contribute to the costsimago images / North Press Service

A freshly paved road or a new sidewalk is a reason to be happy for many residents. Until the bill flutters into the mailbox: A citizen should pay 3400 euros for the renovation of a street built in 1966 that bordered his property. The resident did not want to see this and went to court. After all, roads are available to all citizens, he said. Correspondingly, their maintenance should also be financed by public money, i.e. by tax revenues. The Frankfurt am Main administrative court dismissed the man’s suit. That was in 2013. Since then, some countries have abolished the so-called road development contributions. In many regions of Germany, however, residents still have to fear being asked to pay for construction work by their municipality or municipality. The most important questions at a glance.

What work do residents have to pay for?

Road expansion contributions can be incurred for all construction measures that improve the quality of an existing road. This can be, for example, tarring a previously unpaved driveway, creating a new cycle or pedestrian path or setting up new street lamps. The local tax law of the federal states states which measures municipalities and municipalities can specifically make residents responsible for.

Do residents always have to pay?

No. Property owners only have to contribute to the costs if their property borders on the affected street or is accessible from there. In addition, the city has to prove that the renovation actually has advantages for the residents and is not just about maintenance. For example, paving a potholed road is one of the obligations of the public sector – but not taring a previously unpaved driveway.

How are the taxes calculated?

Each municipality regulates this individually. As a rule of thumb, the greater the benefit for the residents, the more they have to share in the costs. This is why the proportion is usually higher on residential streets than on main roads. In a quiet residential area, the municipality usually only pays just under a third of the total costs, but on busy roads it can be 75 percent. However, the rehabilitation of main traffic arteries is usually more expensive. In absolute terms, residents on a thoroughfare or main thoroughfare may therefore have to pay more than their neighbors on the quiet side street. The size of the property and the area of ​​other floors are also included in the calculation of the residents’ fees.

What is the situation like with apartment owners’ associations?

You will also have to pay for the costs. However, the municipality or municipality does not issue the payment notification for each owner individually, but for the community as a whole. How much an owner has to pay depends on the individual regulations of the community of owners. If the residential units are of different sizes, the proportion of the respective living space usually decides on the distribution of the public loads.

Can the costs be deducted from the tax?

Employees can deduct costs for craftsmen up to an amount of 1200 euros per year from tax. The prerequisite for this is that the work was carried out “in the household”, i.e. in the apartment you used yourself or at least on your own property. This does not apply to most road expansion measures, which is why the tax authorities have not recognized the residents’ contributions as craftsmen’s costs for a long time. However, the Federal Fiscal Court relaxed this requirement in 2014. Since then, property owners have not only been allowed to sell tradesmen’s services that are performed “in” their household, but also those that are performed “for” the household. The necessary connection to the household is therefore also given if the city builds outside the property, but the measures serve the property – for example, if the access road to the house is re-tarred.

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