SPD wants to enforce tax for millionaires – praise and criticism


Updated on August 26, 2019, 8:37 pm

Tax for the super-rich: The Social Democrats have submitted a tax concept for large assets. After a good 20 years, the controversial tax will be revived. All major parties have already positioned themselves.

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The owners of the largest assets in Germany should pay 1 to 1.5 percent per year to the state according to the SPD plans for a property tax. Property, real estate, company shares and cash assets are to be taxed, as the acting SPD leader Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel announced on Monday. According to key points decided by the SPD presidium, one to two percent of the richest wealth owners would be affected. "The richest 45 families in Germany own as much wealth as 50 percent of the German population," said Schäfer-Gümbel.

According to the SPD, only persons with assets of several million euros are to be affected. Exactly, she has not yet determined appropriate allowances. In an earlier bill of SPD-governed countries was the speech, the tax from two million euros to raise. It should be twice as much for married spouses and life partners. Legal persons – especially corporations – should also be subject to wealth tax. "Grandma's little 'cottage" should not be affected, Schäfer-Gümbel said.


Especially for economic emergencies, protection rules should apply. Parts of the business assets such as machinery or land should not be sold, so Schäfer-Gümbel. The tax should bring the state around 10 billion euros per year. The countries that would receive the money should make urgently needed investments in education, for example. The administrative burden should be at 5 to 8 percent, ie a maximum of 800 million euros per year.


The party has been debating wealth tax for years. Since the beginning of 2019, an SPD commission under Schäfer-Gümbel is preparing a concept. First, however, had the land tax reform to be launched, the SPD politician. Background is a judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court: As a result, the then applicable wealth tax since 1997 is no longer charged. Money and other assets were unequally valued – real estate based on obsolete assets. This should be changed by the real estate tax reform.

According to Schäfer-Gümbel, the fact that the SPD briefly presents its key points from the elections in Brandenburg and Saxony is a coincidence. Her profile, however, wants to strengthen the party, which is in deep crisis. "Of course, this will ultimately affect our profile – that's welcome," said Schäfer-Gümbel. At the SPD party congress in December, on which the concept is to be decided, the SPD wants to define its profile as a left-wing popular party. At the same time, she hopes for a new "dynamic" in the tax debate – at the end of which there should be implementation opportunities even in the Bundesrat.


CSU boss Markus Söder criticized the debate after an exam of the praesidia of CDU and CSU in Dresden as "completely out of time" fallen. The wealth tax would come under any circumstances – that was "the wrong instrument at the wrong time". FDP General Secretary Linda Teuteberg said in Potsdam: "This is the opposite of what we need now in the face of the impending economic downturn." The SPD proposal endangers the preservation of jobs. It was necessary to relieve the burden on small and medium-sized companies.

Schäfer-Gümbel countered that it was by no means said that falling taxes would help companies to overcome a crisis. In the financial and economic crisis after 2008, it was rather measures such as an expansion of short-time work that would have helped. Incidentally, even in the crisis of that time, there were big winners.

That it is in the current term with the grand coalition nothing with the wealth tax, admitted the Ministry of Finance – even if Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) is on the plans. The economic forum of the SPD called the plans therefore as "symbol politics". Germany currently needs no debate on the reintroduction of property tax, but a "fundamental reform of its tax system," says an opinion of the SPD-affiliated association.


Basically for such a tax are green and left. It was "without question correct that higher assets have to make a larger contribution to the tax revenue," said Green Party chief Robert Habeck in Dresden. Since there is no financial transaction or digital tax, it is now important to do "the possible, the obvious". In the general election campaign, the Greens had argued after a long dispute for a "constitutionally solid, productive and realizable wealth tax for super-rich".

The left finds the SPD plans too timid. It wants to burden assets above one million euros with five percent. The annual revenues of 80 billion euros are to flow into a comprehensive investment program – for weak regions in eastern and western Germany. This was decided by the party executive.

According to a survey by the Institute Civey for the "world" would welcome 58 percent of German citizens a wealth tax – 33 percent rate the idea negative. (Sg / dpa)

At a retreat in Berlin, the ministers talked about several topical issues. On the agenda were climate issues and economic topics as well as the social cohesion of society.

Teaser image: © Daniel Bockwoldt / dpa

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