The year 2020 kept us on our toes, so we can only hope that 2021 is not quite so unpredictable. While we anticipate life beyond our firework-free Silvester evening, let’s outline the bureaucratic changes likely to affect expats living in Germany in 2021.
2021 will be Frau Merkel’s last year as Chancellor – a federal election is planned for 26.09.2021.
The most controversial of all the changes is the introduction of a basic pension (Grundsicherung) for low earners. Anyone who was professionally active for more than 33 years but did not accumulate enough after retirement will receive a “basic pension”, designed to ensure that the retiree’s basic living costs are covered.
VAT will revert back to 19% on 01.01.2021 after having been reduced to 16% in 2020.
The tax-free threshold for income will increase from 9,408 to 9,744 EUR.
Minimum wage will increase from 9.35 EUR per hour to 9.50 EUR on 01.01.2021 and 9.60 EUR on 01.07.2021.
The minimum monthly remuneration for apprentices will increase to 550 EUR.
Child allowance (Kindergeld) will increase from 204 to 219 EUR per child per month for the first two children. Larger families will receive 225 per month for child number 3 and 250 monthly for every child after that.
ALGII (also called Hartz IV or social welfare) payments increase from 432 EUR to 446 EUR per month.
Most taxpayers won’t have to make “Soli” contributions to rebuild the Eastern parts of German anymore.
The TV tax/broadcasting contribution (Rundfunkbeitrag) increases to 18.36 EUR per month.
If you’re buying a property, you won’t foot the entire bill for the broker/real estate agent’s commission (up to 7% of the purchase price). From 23.12.2020, you’ll share the cost with the vendor.
Emissions tax increases for vehicle owners with cars emitting more than 195g / km.
You should be able to get a digital medical certificate from your doctor in 2021.
You’ll be able to catch a train from Berlin to Hamburg every 30 minutes.
Single-use plastic products will be banned in Europe from July 2021.
British citizens will become non-EU residents after Brexit (find out more about that here).
If you are registered in Germany with the authorities as neither male nor female, Germany plans to make it possible to mark your gender with an “X” on your passport or residence permit.