With an application, the parliamentary group Freie Wahler and FÜR Karlsruhe campaigned for a provisional waiver of the trade tax assessments in Karlsruhe. The background to this was the continuing lack of clarity about the legality of the interest rate level. The Federal Constitutional Court and the Federal Fiscal Court examined whether the amount of the calculated interest rate was constitutional.
However, the city had not taken into account the ongoing investigation procedures, although there were serious doubts as to the existence of the interest rate. Because the interest rate on additional tax claims and tax refunds has remained unchanged for decades at 6% and has not been adjusted despite years of low interest rates.
Doubts under constitutional law have arisen and have been confirmed: The Federal Constitutional Court considers an annual interest rate of 6% (from 2014) to be unconstitutional. Now the interest rate is overturned by the constitutional court.
Despite warnings from the parliamentary group, the city administration had not reacted to the ongoing examination procedures: This meant a great deal of additional work for the local companies, which regularly had to object to the trade tax assessments in order to keep the tax assessments open.
The parliamentary group finds it unnecessary: “Of course we had to wait for the judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court and the Federal Fiscal Court in order to then reassess the situation. For a long time it was not certain whether the current interest rate would remain. However, the waiting period has turned into torture for our companies: While other cities suspended the tax assessments in full, the administration in Karlsruhe continued to let the companies regularly object,” analyzes city councilor Petra Lorenz.
Now the administration has to put in extra effort to correct the mistakes of the past: Those who have paid too much interest get their money back. Those who have benefited from tax refunds with generous interest rates may now have money to pay back.
This reactive work is now left to the city administration, which did not want to react to the forthcoming decision of the Federal Constitutional Court. All in all, an unnecessary effort for the city’s administration and companies because they didn’t react quickly enough.