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Germany: What’s New in July?

Welcome to the second half of 2022. It brings several changes to Germany. They affect employees, pensioners, shoppers, families and other population groups. There is bad news in regard to Corona tests.

Berlin, July 1st, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — Until yesterday, all German citizens had the right to get tested for Corona once a week. From today, those tests cost 3 Euro (3.14 U.S. Dollars or 2.59 Pounds Sterling). The federal government says the country could not afford free tests anymore, considering the upcoming cold season could become difficult and require many Corona tests. Children up to 5 years of age are exempt. So are women who are at the beginning of a pregnancy.

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Pensions and Taxes

Germans who were born between 1953 and 1958 and got their driver’s licenses before 1999 will have to get them updated. It will cost them 25 Euro (26.16 Dollars or 21.55 Pounds). While this might be annoying to some, many of the affected people are pensioners by now, meaning they are among the 21 million Germans whose pensions will rise right now. In the area of former West Germany, the increase is 5.35 percent, in the new federal states even by 6.12 percent. It is the biggest increase in decades.

Let’s go back to the bad news: From today, Germany’s property tax will be computed in a different way. This means that real estate owners should forget about the property taxes they paid in the past and recompute it. The change could prove complicated, also because Germany’s federal states intend to use different calculations. Real estate owners who use software or online platforms will usually run into fewer problems.

Landlords and Tenants

From today, landlords and tenants are forced to provide information about the rents they charge or pay. That way, compiling comparisons is supposed to be easier, especially in big cities. Those affected will be chosen randomly. Persons who refuse or fail to provide information will be fined. Sanctions that can be put in place against recipients of social welfare in Germany who do not accept jobs offered to them will be more harmless for a while, starting today.

Families receive a one-time payment of 100 Euro (104.63 Dollars or 86.24 Pounds) per child. This bonus is part of the federal government’s latest relief package. Because of the inflation and the rising food prices, social welfare recipients can expect bonuses as well. At the same time, Germany’s minimum wage increases to 10.45 Euro (10.92 Dollars or 9.01 Pounds). In October, it is supposed to be 12.00 Euro (12.54 Dollars or 10.34 Pounds).

Parcels and Bottles

DHL is increasing its prices for sending parcels today. Consumers will have to pay deposits for plastic bottles and cans that contain beverages. Only cardboard containers that contain beverages and all bottles with milk products are exempt. In January, the regulations for bottle deposits were tightened. The second step applies from today. Germany’s tobacco tax does now include Shisha tobacco and liquids for electronic cigarettes too.

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