IN FOCUS / 2015-03-23
Tax declaration: average refund of 873 euros
Taxpayers liable to submit a tax declaration to the local tax office for the previous year have to do so by 31 May. In 2010, there were roughly 13.1 million taxpayers subject to unlimited tax liability in Germany who had income from dependent employment and possibly from capital.
11.4 million of these taxpayers received a refund in the context of income tax assessment. The average refund was 873 euros. The amount refunded was most often between 100 and 1,000 euros (62%). For roughly 10% of those concerned, the refund was less than 100 euros. In 1% of the cases, the local tax offices refunded amounts of over 5,000 euros.
1,4 million taxpayers had to make additional payments to the local tax office, the average amount being 897 euros. Just like the tax refunds, the additional payments of taxes were most often between 100 and 1,000 euros (62%). 20% of the taxpayers had to pay small amounts of less than 100 euros. Only 2% of the taxpayers were affected by large amounts of over 5,000 euros.
IN FOCUS / 2015-03-12
Eastern and western Germany still differ when it comes to voting
25 years ago – on 18 March 1990 – the first free and also last election to the People's Chamber was held in the GDR. Since German reunification on 3 October 1990, all Germans have the right to free elections, which is laid down in the German Basic Law. Nevertheless there still are differences today in the way people vote in eastern and western Germany.
At the last Bundestag election of 2013, voter turnout was higher in the former territory of the Federal Republic and Berlin-West (72.4%) than in the new Länder and Berlin-East (67.6%). The situation was the same in the 1990 Bundestag election when more voters went to the polls in the western part (78.6%) than in the eastern part (74.5%).
There also are differences in how people cast their second votes in eastern and western Germany. For instance, the party DIE LINKE received much more support in the eastern part (22.7%) than in the western part (5.6%) in the Bundestag election of 2013. In 1990, that party had also fared much better in eastern Germany (11.1%) than in western Germany (0.3%) when it took part under its former name of PDS. In contrast, the SPD won notably more votes in the former territory of the Federal Republic in both 1990 and 2013 (1990: 35.7%; 2013: 27.4%) than in the new Länder (1990: 24.3%; 2013: 17.9%).