Sixty countries and territories across 5 continents have joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate system/Photo: European Commission

Germany: New Laws and Regulations in February 2022

Like at the beginning of every new month in Germany, new regulations come into force in February. These affect, among others, deadline for the submission of tax returns, validity of the EU vaccination certificate and new rules on hate online. Here’s overview of the most important changes:

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Validity of EU vaccination certificates

From 1 February, the validity of EU vaccination certificates will be reduced to nine months, unless one has received a booster shot. After a booster vaccination, the document remains valid for twelve months. The vaccination certificate is important, for example, when travelling to other countries. The cut-off date is when you have completed the primary vaccination cycle.

The vaccination certificates can be saved in the various Corona apps and read electronically. The expiry date of the certificate is also stored digitally.

New vaccine becomes available in Germany

With the vaccine from the US manufacturer Novavax, another type of vaccine is coming onto the market in addition to mRNA and vector vaccines. The Novavax product is a protein vaccine and functions similarly to a so-called dead vaccine, i.e. one that contains killed pathogens.

Germany will initially receive 1.75 million doses of Novavax, according to the Federal Ministry of Health.

New extension for tax returns’ submission again

If you have your tax return for 2020 prepared by a tax advisor or the Lohnsteuerhilfe, the submission deadline has been extended again this year. Instead of 28 February, the documents do not have to be submitted until 31 May. This extension is intended to relieve tax advisors in view of the burdens caused by the Corona pandemic.

New rules for hate on the net

As of February, operators of large social networks in Germany are obliged to report user content relevant under criminal law to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). These new regulations in the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) are intended to strengthen the fight against hate on the net and in particular to facilitate investigations into such contents.

TikTok has already announced a lawsuit against the new regulation, as they do not want to pass on any data to the German authorities.

Stricter climate requirements for funding new buildings

Those who build energy-efficiently can obtain financial support from the KfW development bank. However, the criteria for this will become stricter in February. From then on, the “Efficient House 55” funding standard will officially expire.

New projects must now meet the “Efficiency House 40” standard or better. These requirements are intended to reduce the emissions of new buildings. The umbrella organisation of the housing industry (GdW) as well as the Central Association of the German Construction Industry (ZDB) criticised that the costs for these stricter requirements were not in proportion to the CO2 emissions saved.

Femi Awoniyi/© AfricanCourierMedia

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