From October, Deutsche Bahn customers will have to provide their cell phone data or e-mail address if they want to buy a long-distance savings ticket/Photo: Femi Awoniyi

Germany: New Laws and other Changes in October 2023

Like almost every month, October 2023 brings some important changes for people living in Germany. Among other things, state elections will be held in Bavaria and Hesse, Deutsche Bahn to introduce new rules for selling discounted tickets and there are deadlines to submit final accounting report of the Corona Aid and to apply for heating cost subsidy. More on these and other new developments in October:

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State elections in Bavaria and Hesse
State parliament elections will be held in Bavaria and Hesse on 8 October 2023. All eligible voters are expected to vote on party political representation in the state parliaments. The outcome of the elections may also influence the composition of the Bundesrat, the upper chamber of the federal parliament.

School vacations in RLP and BW
Students in Rhineland-Palatinate can look forward to two school-free weeks (Herbstferien), with the vacations there lasting from 16 to 27 October. After that, it’s Baden-Württemberg’s turn, and only for one week – from 30 October to 3 November, during which schools will be closed.

Corona vaccine for children
Biontech/Pfizer’s new adapted Covid-19 vaccine for children of ages five to 11 years is scheduled to become available on 2 October.

More pay for craftsmen
Workers in scaffolding will get more money starting in October 2023. The minimum wage per hour will rise from 12.85 euros to 13.60 euros. Roofers will receive three percent more pay from October too, with a minimum of 21.12 euros.

Submission of final account for Corona aid
Entrepreneurs who received bridging aid I to IV (Überbrückungshilfen I bis IV) as well as November and December aid must submit their final accounting statement by 31 October. As with the original application, the Schlussabrechnung must be prepared by a tax advisor or certified public accountant.

The Corona-Hilfen were granted without red tape. Whether they were also rightly paid will now be examined retrospectively. Those who fail to submit a final statement must refund the money they received.

The deadline for submitting the final statement was extended first from 30 June and now a second time from 31 August to 31 October. The postponements were necessary due to the high volume of applications.

More information at: https://www.ueberbrueckungshilfe-unternehmen.de/DE/Home/home.html

Deadline for applications for heating cost subsidy ends
In order to cushion the increased costs of heating supplies over the past year, the German government launched a heating cost subsidy (Heizkostenzuschuss) for private households using “non-grid-bound energy sources” such as wood pellets, heating oil and liquid gas.

Anyone who owns an oil or wood heating system can apply for financial support for heating costs for 2022 retroactively until 20 October 2023. The prerequisite is that the bill for 2022 was more than twice as high as in 2021.

The assistance is capped and is paid out if the subsidy amount is at least 100 euros. The maximum support is 2000 euros per household.

Deutsche Bahn changes ticketing system
Starting in October, Deutsche Bahn customers will have to provide their cell phone data or e-mail address if they want to buy a discounted ticket for long-distance travel.

According to the company, this will also apply when purchasing at travel centers (Reisezentren) and agencies. The contact information is already stored for users of the Deutsche Bahn app or the online site. Nothing will change here.

Deutsche Bahn says it wants to provide better information about train cancellations and delays. However, consumer advocates criticize the fact that the obligation to provide digital data poses major hurdles for some groups of people, such as senior citizens and people with disabilities.

The regulation does not apply when tickets are purchased at ticket machines, Deutsche Bahn explains.

Time change to winter time
In the night from 28 to 29 October this year’s daylight saving time ends and the “normal” Central European Time (CET) applies again. On Sunday 29 October, clocks will be set back one hour at 3 am. That means you can sleep one hour longer!

Don’t forget! 2022 tax return’s deadline ends on 2 October
The deadline for filing the tax return (Steuererklärung) for 2022 is 30 September. However, because the day falls on a Saturday, the tax return can still be submitted to the tax office until Monday, 2 October. This applies to those who prepare their tax return without the help of a tax advisor.
Taxpayers who consult a tax advisor or income tax assistance association can breathe a sigh of relief as they can submit the 2022 tax return to the tax office latest by 31 July 2024.

Femi Awoniyi

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