German Terms of the Day: die Steuern und Abgaben

Newcomers often mention Germany’s high prices when it comes to labor costs and products. One one hand, some employees enjoy good benefits, and let’s not forget the many kinds of taxes employers in Germany have to pay.

Let’s take a pub owner and the list of applicable taxes and shares he has to pay:

  • Schankerlaubnis (public entertainment license), Getränkesteuer (alcoholic beverage tax), Vergnügungssteuer (entertainment tax), Mehrwertsteuer (value-added tax or VAT), Einkommenssteuer (income tax), Vermögenssteuer (property tax/personal tax), Grundvermögenssteuer (immovable property tax), Gewerbekapitalsteuer (trade capital tax), Gewerbeertragssteuer (tax on profits), Lohnsteuer (payroll tax), Lohnnebenkosten (nonwage labor costs), Hundesteuer (dog license fee), Kapitalertragssteuer (capital returns tax);

 

  • Add the employer’s obligatory share of his employees’ Krankenversicherung (health insurance), Pflegeversicherung (long term care insurance), Berufsgenossenschaft (employers’ liability insurance coverage), Familienausgleichskasse (family compensation fund), Invalidenversicherung (disability insurance), Angestelltenversicherung (employees’ insurance), Arbeitslosenversicherung (unemployment insurance), Lebensversicherung (life insurance);

 

  • Feuerversicherung (fire insurance), Einbruchsversicherung (burglary insurance), Unfallversicherung (accident insurance), Haftpflichtversicherung (liability insurance), Solidaritätszuschlag (solidarity tax), Rechtsschutzversicherung (legal protection insurance), Industrie-und Handelskammer (chamber of industry and commerce);

 

  • The owner also has to pay his monthly expenses for Gas (gas heating),  Wasser (water), Elektrizität (electricity), Heizung (heating), Müllabfuhr (garbage collection), Schornsteinfeger (chimney sweep), Telefon (phone charges), Zeitungen (newspaper subscriptions), Zeitschriften (magazines), Radio- und Fernsehengebühren (quarterly payment for radio and television licensing fees), Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte or GEMA (performing rights society), etc.

I had read somewhere that a village pub about 30kms north of here had to close its doors. Paying a monthly fee of euro 700, so his guests could watch sport shows, was no longer feasible.

If you have a dog, you also have to pay the Hundesteuer (dog license fee).

I believe we all should pay our tax with a smile. 

I tried, but they wanted cash.

Sequoia Trees in the Oberursel Forest

There are two Sequoia trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum) near the Frankfurter Forsthaus located in the Oberursel forest.

If you live in the Oberursel area, enter the Rosengärtchen at the U-Bahn station An der Waldlust. Walking downhill a bit, you’ll soon see a sign pointing you to the Tierheim (animal shelter). Follow this road into the woods, pass the Tierheim, and you will soon come to and intersection and see the trees on the left side. Walking time: 20 – 25 minutes

These trees were planted around 1860. One of our international friends asked me if I knew who planted them. As of now, I have only learned that 1860 was a significant year in Europe’s history.

As these tree have been planted close to the Frankfurter Forsthaus in the Oberursel forest (closer to Oberstedten and Bad Homburg), I suppose it might have something to do with all the important people and events in Bad Homburg.

Certain events in 1960:

* Bad Homburg got connected to Frankfurt by rail.

* Emporer Wilhelm II. started using the Bad Homburg castle as his summer residence on a yearly basis.

* The Bad Homburger Kurverein was founded.

* In the year of 1860 alone, there were  275 000 Kurgäste (spa visitors) in Bad Homburg.

* The Gotische Haus (Gothic House) bordering the city limits of Bad Homburg came into possession of the  forest landgraviate( landgräfliche Forstverwaltung).

Sequoia sign in Oberursel Forest

Sequoia sign in Oberursel Forest

Oberursel Forest

Oberursel Forest

Sequoia cone and seeds

Sequoia cone and seeds

Looking for information about 1860 Deutschland, there are about 9,560,000 results. Searching for 1860 Bad Homburg, the net comes up with 126,000 results.

 Who planted these two Sequoia trees? If you know, feel free to share it here with us.

 

What Goes into the Biomüll?

When you first arrive in Germany,  your new residence comes with quite a few new rules. Among them is the business of how to separate the trash.

Biomüll Tonnen

Some of you care to do so, so here is the list of waste items for the brown container (German: Biotonne):

  • kitchen waste – anything raw or cooked
  • vegetables and fruits (no citric fruits though)
  • cheese, fish, meat, bones, and cold cuts
  • egg shells and nut shells
  • milk, flour, and cereal products
  • dry goods having gone past the expiration date (without the packaging)
  • oils and fats (solidified)
  • coffee grounds, filter bags, tea bags, and tea leaves
  • paper towels, paper napkins, and tissues
  • newspaper used for wrapping
  • lawn cuttings
  • shrubs, fallen leaves, and bark
  • other organic waste, such as  hair, feathers, cat litter, wood shavings, and sawdust (only from untreated wood)
  •  hay, straw, and pots made of peat and cardboard

 

German Lesson: der Brunnen

Some expats new to the area asked about the meaning of the word Brunnen and Brunnenfest in general. The German word Brunnen stands for fountain, well, and natural spring. The town of Oberursel has more than 60 fountains.

For the Oberursel Brunnenfest, each year a new Brunnenkönigin (fountain queen) gets chosen. This years’s Brunnenkönigin, Nadine I. represented Brunnenfest 2016, and one part of her official duties is to inaugurate the next fountain for the year.

This year’s fountain was the Urselbachbrunnen, located at the ‘Haus am Urselbach’. (Urselbach stands for Ursel Creek)

Brunnen in Oberursel

One of the 66 fountains in Oberursel

There are 26 fountains belonging to the town of Oberursel, and about another 40 fountains are in private hands.

Sorting Trash in Germany: Organic Waste or Biomüll

Organic waste is Biomüll in German, and since January 2015, we here in Hessen, have to separate our organic waste from the Restmüll (general waste).

General waste contained about 50% of organic waste, which is about 5000 tons of such. This also means in terms of truckload numbers, that those extra 500 organic waste loads used to get taken to the incineration plant at a higher cost. To compare the cost – burning 1000 kg Restmüll costs euro 240, whereas 1000 kg of recycling organic waste costs only euro 60.

What is Biomüll for the good German and law-abiding, trash-sorting citizen? Here is a comprehensive list of what goes into the brown Biotonne (organic-waste container). This list was taken from our local newspaper (issue: September 2014)

  • Leftover and spoiled food
  • Moldy bread
  • Dairy products
  • Meat and fish
  • Bones
  • Hair, feathers, wood shavings
  • Produce (including exotic fruits and peelings)
  • Horticultural waste and trimmings such as grass, tree, bush, as well as flowers, weeds, dead leaves, needles, bark, fallen fruits
  • Tea leaves and coffee grounds incl. paper filters
  • Flower bouquets
  • Decorative plants
  • Old soil
  • Paper towels and paper napkins
  • Nut and egg shells

You can buy biodegradable paper bags or wrap your organic waste in old newspapers to dispose of it.

Organic Waste containers in Germany

Organic Waste containers in Germany

At the moment, our apartment building of 8 families only really makes use of one container. When we inquired, whether we could return one container, we were told we would be charged even more for the pick-up.

That kind of budgeting is waste, too.