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Public finance & taxes

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Therefore, the information offered here is not updated regularly. See our GENESIS-Online database for current data.

In brief

Expenditure, revenue and financial balance

The Federation, Länder, municipalities and social insurance institutions have manifold public tasks which cause high expenditure. To finance them, relevant revenue is available mainly from taxes and similar charges, but also from other sources. The difference between revenue and expenditure is taken to calculate the financial balance (deficit or surplus) of the overall public budget.

Funds, institutions, enterprises

Public funds, institutions and enterprises (in short: public enterprises) are created by hiving off tasks from the core budgets of the central, regional and local authorities (Federation, Länder, municipalities/associations of municipalities), by business start-ups, or by acquisition of interest. Originally, it was especially supply, disposal and transport tasks that were hived off from the core budgets of the central, regional and local authorities (Federation, Länder, municipalities/associations of municipalities), while today public enterprises work in nearly all economic branches. About 90 percent of public enterprises operate at the municipality level.
Public enterprises may be set up under public or private law. The only decisive criterion is that the Federation, Länder or municipalities/associations of municipalities hold – directly or indirectly – more than 50 percent of the nominal capital or voting rights. Public enterprises have a commercial or cameralistic accounting system of their own.

Debt,financial assets

The annual debt statistics provide detailed information on the current debt recorded by the core budgets and extra budgets of the Federation, Länder, municipalities and associations of municipalities as well as, from reference year 2010, of the social security funds. This allows to show the total debt of the overall public budget.

Apart from the level of debt on 31 December of each year, the statistics cover the type of debt, for example securities debt, loans for strengthening cash resources and loans, the latter two of which include a breakdown by creditor. Representation according to the creditor principle is the basis for showing the debt owed to the non-public sector and the general debt.

EU Budgetary Frameworks Directive

In the context of the economic and financial crisis in the European Union, in 2011 the Member States adopted a legislative package (the so-called “Six-pack”) with new rules for economic and fiscal surveillance.

This package includes Council Directive 2011/85/EU of 8 November 2011 on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States (the so-called EU Budgetary Frameworks Directive). According to this directive, from 2014 onwards the Member States have to publish infra-annual fiscal data for all subsectors of general government as well as annual information on contingent liabilities and participation of general government in the capital of private and public corporations.

Further information is available in the explanatory notes on the statistics.

Development Cooperation

Main objective of development cooperation is to promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries. The development aid statistics, also known as DAC statistics, cover official as well as private flows of bilateral and multilateral development cooperation.

Most public funds go to social security

The German state performs many functions to the benefit of its citizens. The major part of public funds, that is 625 billion euros of total expenditure, went to social security in 2011. Social security mainly comprises social insurance and, amongst others, family allowances, public assistance and youth welfare. Public expenditure for day-care centres amounted to 15 billion euros.

Social security expenditure, accounting for 56% of total expenditure, was the main expenditure component. Second were general services, as they are called, which accounted for 12%. They include, for instance, expenditure for central administration and defence. Another 11% were spent on education, science, research and cultural affairs.

Total public expenditure amounted to 1,110 billion euros in 2011.

Detailed data are provided by the accounting results of the overall public budget (only in German).


Debt financial assets
public budgets

EU Budgetary
Frameworks Directive


EU Budgetary Frameworks Directive

Expenditure and revenue

Monthly data

Quarterly data


Non-performing loans


Public Private Partnership


Government participation

Additional Information

Key figures

Public finance in billion Euro
ExpenditureQ III/ 20181.044,0
RevenueQ III/ 20181.076,1
Financial balanceQ III/ 201832.1
DebtQ III/ 20181,929.8
Tax revenueQ III/ 2018189.0
Joint taxesQ III/ 2018137.3
Federal taxesQ III/ 201826.4
Land and municipal taxesQ III/ 201823.9


Piktogramm Presse

For current press releases on the theme of public finance and taxes please go to our press pages.

© Statistisches Bundesamt (Destatis), 2019

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