The same old story with the German tax office|Die alte Leier mit dem deutschen Finanzamt

To be perfectly honest, I'm quite surprised that the German tax office is still able to surprise me. I thought I had pretty much “seen it all” when it comes to taxes, but obviously I've been wrong.

I received a letter from the German tax office. For a change, they didn't send another tax assessment, but a dun. At first, I had no clue what they wanted from me as I usually pay my taxes on time (or at least a few days before the respective deadlines). To be perfectly honest, I hate this topic. More than anything. Therefore, I'm letting some professionals do it for me as I simply suck at it. Whenever I receive a letter from the tax office, listing some amounts that I have to pay, I need to read it several times until I finally start to grasp what they actually want from me.

This time, it wasn't too hard to figure out what the letter was about – after all, the words “dunning letter” were printed in a rather obvious way (on the right side – where else do you put your headers?!). And then there were some amounts listed that were due “4.Vj.09” which translates to fourth quarter 09.

Which makes this just more confusing as I paid my taxes at exactly that time (like every year – due to the fact that I'm having so many side jobs and need to pay taxes for them afterwards). However, as far as I knew, my last tax demand didn't list another (ridiculously large) amount that had to be paid at the end of last year despite my tax payment for 08. Let me show you the document:

Olis Steuerbescheid

In case you're not one of the 3 (my tax adviser, Vasco and some other random person that might exist in this country could make that many people, so I'm bravely trying my chances with “3”) people in this country that like to deal with taxes – and therefore know exactly what this document “wants to say” – let me explain it to you:

At December the tenth, 2009, I had to pay these amounts: “viel zu viel”, “Kneipenabend” and “Fahrt mit der Deutschen Bahn” (“way too much”, “a long evening in a club” and “a ride with Deutsche Bahn”). Which is making a lot of sense! If you're listing dates on the “x-axis” or in other words, in the column header, you ALSO place dates in the several lines, on the “y-axis”. And because it would be too easy to figure this out if they would split the cells, they just leave out ANY element that could make it clear that the amounts in the last column apply to different years. Nice! Environmentally friendly!

To proof that I can do a lot more than bitching around, here's: my take on the tax demand.

I know, it's looking way too easy to understand for a German office (ANY German office for that reason…) and they would never accept such a proposition. However, I felt like making clear what I would have preferred. This structure is immediately outlining that there are 5 (!) different dates on which you'll have to pay – all on the x-axis. The confusion's all gone.

Yea, that would be way too easy. If they would send out tax demands in this format, they couldn't charge fines for people who aren't part of group of the few enlightened…

Additionally, I think I should mention that – according to the dunning letter – I have to pay a lower amount than what's listed on my tax demand. The person on the phone (the German tax office doesn't work with e-mails, that would be too advanced) couldn't explain that to me, but after a longer conversation, I was able to make it up myself and explain it to her. I told her that I sent too much money (because something changed on my tax demand, but I had already made the payment) with my last payment and this amount has already been worked in the new document. As a result, I received a letter telling me that there is a certain amount on my “tax bank account” (I can't remember opening that account). Which is complete bull, considering the fact that I have to pay a huge amount that was due at the end of last year – so my account should be waaay in the red.

It's good to know that even the people working in the tax office can't figure out how it's actually supposed to work. But why giving it a complete make-over, Germany is rather proud of it's tax system… after all, it's a nice backup for all these publishers that can bring out another edition of their “tax guides” every year…

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  1. #1 by s3rp on January 18, 2010 - 17:05

    soulwarrior :
    Ansonsten schönen Dank für die Grüße! Einerseits vermisse ich die BattleForge Community auch, andererseits musste ich halt nach vorne schauen und mich neu orientieren. Stillstand ist der Tod und so.

    Klar muss es weitergehen für Dich und ich will Dich auch nicht länger aufhalten.

    Wünsche Dir viel Erfolg bei smava

    so far
    Mark a.ka. s3rp

  2. #2 by s3rp on January 15, 2010 - 13:23

    Hallo Seelenkrieger 😉

    Wenn Du einen übersichtlichen VZ-Bescheid haben willst, dann musst Du nach NRW kommen. Hier bei uns ist es nämlich etwas genauer =)

    p.s.: wir missen Dich immer noch im BF-Forum

    • #3 by soulwarrior on January 15, 2010 - 22:35


      haha, muss ich mir wohl mal überlegen. Eigentlich wüsste ich nicht, in welche Stadt es mich da ziehen sollte. Wenn ich schon aus Berlin raus gehe, dann am liebsten in ein anderes Land. Unter anderem wegen des Steuersystems, doch da spielen noch andere Faktoren mit rein.

      Ansonsten schönen Dank für die Grüße! Einerseits vermisse ich die BattleForge Community auch, andererseits musste ich halt nach vorne schauen und mich neu orientieren. Stillstand ist der Tod und so. 😉


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