The Bundestag passes several laws on problems that have been discussed for a long time. It is about the vehicle tax reform, relief for municipalities and companies in the Corona crisis or also about preventing goods returned to mail order companies from ending up in the garbage.
Billions in relief for municipalities, more air for ailing companies in the Corona crisis – and a vehicle tax reform for more climate protection: the Bundestag passed important laws on Thursday evening.
Motor vehicle tax reform
From 2021 the vehicle tax will increase for new cars with high fuel consumption. This is supposed to encourage citizens to buy more economical cars. Cars that have already been registered are not affected. In principle, the total revenue from vehicle tax of currently around 9.5 billion euros should be retained according to the Union parliamentary group. As before, the vehicle tax base is calculated from a displacement and a CO2 component. The first element remains unchanged at 2 euros (9.50 euros for diesel) per 100 cubic centimeter or part thereof. The second element is tightened: with every gram of CO2 per kilometer (g / kg), the tax increases in six steps from 2 euros to 4 euros from 195 g / km above an allowance of 95 g / km.
In order to also promote vehicles with particularly low emissions, the tax of 30 euros per year for cars with CO2 emissions of up to 95 grams per kilometer should not be levied for five years, until December 31, 2025 at the latest. This should apply to first registrations until December 31, 2024. According to the Bundestag, the core of the draft law is an extension of the ten-year vehicle tax exemption for all-electric vehicles registered for the first time until the end of 2025. The tax exemption is limited to December 31, 2030.
Environmentalists and the Greens criticized that the reform was doing too little for climate protection. Union finance spokeswoman Antje Tillmann called the signal from the reform “significant”. When buying a new car, the motor vehicle tax creates a stronger incentive to opt for a car that emits less CO2 per kilometer, without prohibitions or penalties.
Promotion of electric mobility
Tenants and apartment owners have a legal right to have a charging station installed for electric cars. Specifically, it is about the right to have such a charging connection installed at your own expense. This also applies to measures for burglary protection or accessibility. “Conversions are now easier so that residential complexes meet energetic standards and older owners still have barrier-free access to their apartment in old age,” said Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht of the SPD. With the requirement to have a charging station installed, the turn to e-mobility is being targeted.
Relief for the municipalities
Because of the Corona crisis and the tense situation of many companies, the trade tax as the most important source of income for the municipalities has collapsed. The federal government is now jumping aside and compensating for losses of around 6.1 billion euros for this year. The countries also want to help with billions. The federal government also wants to contribute more to the costs of accommodation and heating for Hartz IV recipients, which also costs billions. An amendment to the Basic Law was necessary for both measures. The Federal Council is dealing with the law this Friday, approval was considered certain. The German Association of Cities had already welcomed the relief – but also called for additional billions in aid from the federal government for the years 2021 and 2022.
Relaxation in bankruptcy law
In view of the continued tense situation of many companies in the Corona crisis, insolvency law will be further relaxed. In cases of over-indebtedness, the obligation to submit an application is suspended until the end of the year. This is supposed to give troubled companies more room to apply for state aid and push ahead with restructuring efforts. The further suspension applies to companies that are overindebted due to the pandemic, but are not insolvent. In March, the obligation to file for insolvency was suspended until the end of September – for cases in which the insolvency or over-indebtedness of companies is due to the consequences of the corona pandemic.
Above all, the law regulates competition between take-back systems. The collection rate for batteries will be increased from 45 to 50 percent – but in practice it was recently a good 52 percent. There were additional demands from the opposition, for example for a deposit system, new rules for taking back e-bike batteries, higher collection rates or to prevent fires.
New “duty of care”
New obligations for retailers are planned so that returned clothing and other new goods do not end up in the garbage. The law passed by the Bundestag contains a new “duty of care”. The Federal Council still has to agree. There is then a fundamental obligation to ensure that the goods remain fit for purpose and do not become waste. To whom and which goods this applies, and which sanctions are threatened, still need to be regulated. The law also provides that in the future, for example, manufacturers and sellers of disposable cups or cigarettes can share the costs incurred for disposal.