MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –
Source: CDU CSU
Dear Mr President! Dear colleagues! Dear listeners and viewers! Today we are discussing the Annual Tax Act 2020. I am glad that we are calling it again the Annual Tax Act. I remember times when we made an adjustment law to Croatia and a customs code adjustment law to hide the fact that we were making an annual tax law. Now let’s write it. And what is an annual tax law? This is a collective act – as my colleagues have already pointed out – and almost all tax laws are somehow affected: We regulate things in the Income Tax Act, the Sales Tax Act, the Real Estate Tax Act, the Land Transfer Tax Act, the Tax Code, the Investment Tax Act – many do not even know that there is such a thing.
(Ralph Brinkhaus [CDU / CSU]: Many don’t even want to know! – MEPs from the SPD and the ALLIANCE 90 / THE GREENS are happy)
We have a comprehensive catalog that we have to work through. There are many technical things that we regulate there, including clarifications; we respond to rulings by the Federal Fiscal Court.
The annual tax law is – it has to be said – not a major reform package; the Annual Tax Act is not made for this either. Therefore I cannot go into everything here in the short space of time. I would like to pick out two or three points.
On the one hand, it is about improving the investment allowance. We want to create investment incentives in this special situation. It is therefore correct that we are increasing the depreciation options from 40 percent of the acquisition or production costs for small companies to 50 percent; only small businesses have the option to claim this investment deduction. We as the Union are critical of the fact that the conditions for this are being changed because companies that are currently in it would likely fall out in the future. We will therefore talk to the coalition partner about it again. I would remind you that at the time, during the 2009/2010 financial crisis, we raised the current criteria. I think that would actually be the more correct way than to create a uniform criterion now, which will cause many companies to drop out. We want to set investment incentives and not prevent investments. I therefore believe that we should discuss this together again.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU)
We are discussing apartment rental. That makes sense in the point that advertising expenses can only be claimed where a certain percentage of the local rent is taken. At the same time, however, we are creating a certain bureaucratic monster – it has to be said – by requiring taxpayers to forecast total surplus over 30 years at certain times. Maybe we should discuss this again.
We will then implement the European Union’s digital package. This involves changes in sales tax in the area of e-commerce and mail order. We have already implemented the first stage. Now it is about further administrative simplifications, so that a company that operates in the mail order business only has one country where it has to register its taxable sales. That is not very exciting; but with this we regulate what we have to implement in national law.
What is actually more exciting is what is not in the Annual Tax Act, and we will still have to discuss that.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and members of the FDP)
The Federal Council has already become very active. We have seen that the Federal Council’s Finance Committee has approved a proposal from Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia by a majority. It will be exciting to see how the Federal Council will then come to an end on Friday morning. It’s about the ATAD implementation. This is the EU’s anti-tax avoidance directive, which we should have implemented by December 31 of last year. There is also a ministerial draft by Minister Scholz, but it is somehow resting everywhere.
(Cansel Kiziltepe [SPD]: In the Ministry of Economic Affairs!)
The EU’s infringement proceedings are now in preparation. So, I don’t think we’re doing ourselves a favor in the EU Council Presidency. So, Minister, it would be nice if you could go beyond the ministerial bill and finally submit the bill to us, or we can do it as the Federal Council has proposed, namely through the annual tax law. I think it would be a good arrangement if we could do this.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU – Lothar Binding [Heidelberg] [SPD]: I’ll talk to the Minister of Economic Affairs!)
The Federal Council wisely did not do what the minister intends to do. The problem is, of course, that the Minister thinks he has to regulate more than what is regulated in this directive. It is far from a one-to-one implementation, it is even more restrictive. The companies should be tamed even more. So I believe that if you don’t do one-to-one implementation, we will have to create a regulation here.
I think it is wise that the Federal Council also said that we should have a low tax limit of only 15 percent in the external tax law, not 25 percent. You have to know: The Foreign Tax Act regulates that profits that are relocated abroad must be taxed in Germany if you are in a so-called low-tax country. But with a 25 percent low tax limit, almost all EU countries are now low tax countries. It can’t be like that. We therefore urgently need a change here. I think the 15 percent is the right amount.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU)
In the budget speech, my group leader pointed out what we as a Union also lack: I believe we also need a modernization of German corporate tax law. I am amazed that nothing is coming from the Federal Ministry of Finance.
(Dr. Florian Toncar [FDP]: We are not surprised! – Markus Herbrand [FDP]: They are waiting for your suggestions!)
Minister Scholz has always talked about improvements to the location that he wants to achieve and talked about an option model. But so far we don’t see anything. Therefore, I believe, Minister Scholz, you are called upon to do something here.
At that time we were both at the forum “10 Years Hamburg Forum for Corporate Tax Law” at the Bucerius Law School in Hamburg. You gave a lovely speech there. You said – may I quote -:
We are monitoring economic developments very closely so that we can also react with tax measures if necessary.
And now it comes:
However, this will only be necessary in the event of a significant and serious slump in economic development.
That’s right; but we have that now, Minister. It would therefore be advisable now for you to finally react so that we can restore the international competitiveness of corporate tax law.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and the FDP)
We therefore ask you not only to announce such things, but also to implement them. I think it would be a good opportunity to do so with the Annual Tax Act. So I’m looking forward to the discussions.
(Dr. Florian Toncar [FDP]: More talks!)
Mr. Lothar Binding has already announced that we – we’re already in the discourse – will be advised on all of this. I hope that as a result we will pass an even better annual tax law.
Thank you very much.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and the FDP – Jan Korte [DIE LINKE]: You are no longer really fat with each other, right? Will that be enough until September next year? – Countercall from MP Marianne Schieder [SPD]: Yes, yes, don’t worry! – Jan Korte [DIE LINKE]: I’m just asking! If it lasts, I’ll be worried! But good!)
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.