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The federal finance court has suspended interest on tax payments. They are distant from reality. The Federal Constitutional Court must decide on the reduction of interest rates.

Federal finance COURT: repayment rates of tax offices too high

The federal finance court has suspended interest on tax payments. They are distant from reality. The Federal Constitutional Court must decide on the reduction of interest rates.

Federal finance COURT: repayment rates of tax offices too high

According to federal Finance Court (Buas), high repayment interest on taxes is unconstitutional. The current six percent interest per year on unpaid taxes is "remote from reality," said Rudolf Mellinghoff, president of supreme German Tax Court. The Buas refore suspended execution of repayment interest rates from year 2015. The court thus disagreed with a judgment of anor Senate which considered repayment interest for year 2013 to be unproblematic.

At present, interest on tax claims and tax refunds is 0.5 percent due monthly, i.e. 6 percent per annum. Because of low-interest phase, this violates general equality sentence, Buas argued.  In fact, interest rates should offset financial advantage that taxpayers have when y delay payments. At present this advantage is no longer given.  The key interest rate of European Central Bank (ECB) has been below one per cent since 2011.

In specific case, Buas has now suspended payments. After an audit, plaintiff should pay just under two million euros in taxes. For period from 1 April 2015 to 16 November 2017, Tax Office refore demanded a repayment interest of around 240,000 euros. The decision was taken in an expedited way: The main procedure is pending.

According to a court spokesman, or taxpayers could rely on judgment in comparable cases and periods against ir tax authorities. The tax notices concerned should be considered provisional, provided that opposition has already been inserted.

The high interest rate for tax payments dates back to year 1961, from time of economic miracle. Anyone waiting for a tax refund from Tax Office will benefit from same interest rate. The tax revenue, however, is more frequent: more than two billion euros of interest has been taken by Treasury over past few years in audits alone, says Buas.

The Federal Constitutional Court must ultimately decide wher interest rates should be reduced. There are several lawsuits against amount of repayment rate pending. The Court has already obtained opinions from professional associations and senates of federal financial Court.  It is said from Federal ministry that it will be ensured that decision of Federal Constitutional Court can be brought to effect in affected tax cases. Az. IX b 21/18)

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