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Demands of the tax office Many short-time workers have to pay taxes The short-time allowance has saved many jobs. But many recipients are now realizing that the tax office is demanding an additional tax payment: an additional burden for an already lower income. From Iris Sayram.

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A red pen is on an application for short-time work allowance (Kug) from the Federal Employment Agency. | dpa

Receivables from the tax office Many short-time workers have to pay taxes

Status: 14.06.2021 2:49 p.m.

The short-time work allowance saved many jobs. But many recipients are now realizing that the tax office is demanding an additional tax payment: an additional burden for an already lower income. From Iris Sayram, rbb It is now the third amendment to the short-time work regulation that is going through parliament this week. “With short-time working we secure millions of jobs through the crisis and get the German economy important skilled workers for a quick start now in the summer”, Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) repeated only recently. This statement is not disputed; but after more than a year of short-time work, there are also side effects.

Short-time work requires a tax return

These are particularly noticeable now, as those receiving the benefits have to submit their tax returns for the 2020 pandemic year. Everyone who has “applied for more than 410 euros in the calendar year” has to make the declaration, according to the website of the Federal Employment Agency (BA). The calculation that as an employee subject to wage tax you usually get something back does not always apply here. Some even have to pay back large sums of money to the tax office. “This mainly affects the recipients who were not sent 100 percent on short-time work, but only partially,” says the managing director of the Federal Association of Wage Tax Aid Associations, Uwe Rauhöft tagesschau.de . The Berlin Left MP Sebastian Schluesselburg knows exactly such a case from his public consultation: A woman from the hotel industry was put on short-time work at the beginning of the pandemic. “Your cash flow is already greatly reduced by the high rent and having a small child,” said Schluesselburg. But she has now been completely “blown away” by the additional tax payment of more than 1000 euros – payable within four weeks.

A woman works at a desk in her apartment. | dpa background 05/19/2021

Innovations in the Corona year What about the tax declaration is to be observed The tax return for 2020 differs in some points from the previous routine.

With the decision comes the tax shock

“This is not an isolated case,” says Uwe Rauhöft from the income tax aid association. “If the regular working hours are reduced to 50 percent and short-time work allowance is granted for the other 50 percent, then the wage tax is sometimes reduced very sharply,” explains the expert. The reduced wage tax will fall disproportionately because of the progressive tax rate. “As a result, however, too little wage tax is paid over the year,” Rauhöft continues. With the income tax return this is now noticeable. Those affected often only noticed this when they received the payment notification. “If you don’t expect it beforehand and don’t know, you now have a problem.” The Federal Employment Agency cannot give precise figures on how many recipients are now confronted with back payments. It is only clear that there are not just a few isolated cases. Several million employees have received short-time allowance since the beginning of the pandemic. According to the latest projections by the BA, it was around 2.6 million in March.

A worker assembles a gearbox in a factory | dpa 05/05/2021

ifo estimate Less short-time work in April According to estimates by the Ifo Institute, ten percent fewer employees were on short-time work in April.

Experts complain that there is insufficient information

In the FAQ area of ​​the employment agency there is a note in the last sub-item that “short-time allowance as wage replacement benefit is tax-free”. It also states that the service will be taken into account when determining the tax rate. “This can lead to additional tax claims”. This should have been pointed out more clearly, says tax law expert Sandra Inioutis. The tax advisor knows the problem. “It is a highly complicated process and it is not possible to say in general who it affects.” It is all the more necessary to better educate the recipients here. “Perhaps one should have said from an official point that the basically tax-free service is provided with a” but “”, says Inioutis tagesschau.de .

Hubertus Heil answers questions from journalists (archive picture). | dpa 05/22/2021

Minister of Labor Heil’s plan Short-time work assistance is to be extended Federal Labor Minister Heil wants to extend the financial aid for short-time work due to the Corona crisis.

Little indulgence in repayment

“As if that weren’t bad enough, the tax office is proceeding with full force here,” reports the left-wing politician Schliisselburg. The young family wanted to pay the 1000 euros in two installments, but that would only be possible if all of their own funds were practically exhausted. A credit line must also be used beforehand in order to get a deferral approved. “That is unbelievable. People are being driven into over-indebtedness,” the politician said indignantly. But the law on the possibility of deferral requires that an installment payment is only to be granted in the event of “considerable hardship”. “Unfortunately that is the legal situation. But I would not recommend a deferral either, the interest rate is six percent per year. That will then be even more expensive,” advises expert Rauhöft from the income tax aid association. However, the interest rates for an overdraft facility are likely to be in a similar range or even higher.