ZM – The Zusammenfassende Meldung

One of the lesser known parts of the German tax system is simply called the “ZM”, which stands for “Zusammenfassende Meldung”.  For anyone running a business in Germany, it is another form to fill in on a regular basis.

It all has to do with the VAT (Value Added Tax) system within the European Union.  Put quite simply, if you buy something in a shop or pay for a service, then you pay VAT.  For consumers, that’s the end of the story.  The shop owner or service provider pays the VAT on to the tax office.

But if the customer is a business as well, they usually have a way to claim that tax back again from their local tax office (although there are some exceptions). [Read more…]

Leasing a car in Germany (and why you might want to)

Ford FocusMany companies in Germany who provide their employees with company cars do not actually buy the cars outright, instead they prefer to lease them and my company car is no exception.

By leasing the car, I pay a monthly fee to a leasing company, often a bank, who have purchased the vehicle from my usual dealer.  That fee allows me to drive the car up to an agreed number of kilometres each year.

And when the lease runs out, I just return the car to the dealer and can lease a new one.

Buy why not buy the car outright as a business and then sell it again later? [Read more…]

New in 2011: flight taxes

Departures Board at Frankfurt Airport - ©Can Stock Photo Inc. / AlexTThis summer the German Government introduced a new tax of flight tickets. It is called the Luftverkehrsabgabe, and means that passengers have to pay between 8 and 45 Euros per flight and applies to all commercial passenger flights that take-off at German airports from 1st Januar, 2011.

Just to make sure that people did not start booking their flights for next year early, the tax came into force on 1st September this year, so that it would be levied on any tickets purchased from that date onwards for flights in 2011.

One of the results has been that Ryanair have announced that they will be reducing the number of their flights from German airports, including Frankfurt-Hahn, which will be a blow to the economy on the rural parts of the country where such airports are located.  Some estimates put the number of jobs that will be lost at around 3000.

But with less flights taking off, surely the revenue from other taxes will go down as well?  Will the new tax have any effect, other than to reduce the choice of German travellers and push up prices?

Luftverkehrsabgabe

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