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Austrian report Austrian report
by Euro Reporter
2013-04-03 06:49:58
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Austria challenges Germany's new pension tax ruling

A change to German tax law will require around 150,000 Austrians currently in receipt of a German pension to pay taxes on their income, with retroactive effect from 2005.

The German tax authorities will shortly send out demands for Austrian pensioners to submit a tax declaration dating back to 2005. The move follows the decision to modify German legislation. The new legislation provides that German pensions paid out to foreign taxpayers will be subject to taxation in Germany.

The Austrian Finance Ministry intends to challenge the decision to seek hefty back payments and to seek a sustainable solution to protect low-income pensioners in particular. Wolfgang Nolz, the Austrian Finance Ministry's new capital markets presenter, is to lead a delegation to the German tax authorities in Neubrandenburg to request that tax exemptions, reductions, deferrals, or paying in instalments be allowed in certain such cases.

Nolz said that it is unprecedented in European history that a country suddenly decides to tax pensions and to seek arrears many years later. Some pensioners will be faced with huge tax bills amounting to several thousand Euros a year, Nolz pointed out, insisting that it is simply not feasible for aging pensioners to settle this sum in one go.

The Austrian Finance Ministry aims to install an ombudsman by May to support those affected by the decision. Until then, Austrians may seek advice from the Austrian tax authorities. .

 

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Austria posts smaller than estimated budget deficit on provinces

Austria’s budget deficit held at 2.5 percent of gross domestic product last year, beating the government’s forecast and keeping it below the European Union’s ceiling.

Austrian provinces narrowed their deficit to 0.1 percent of GDP and municipalities swung to a 0.1 percent surplus last year, partly offsetting costs of bank bailout measures, the statistics office in Vienna said in a statement today. The finance ministry had increased its deficit forecast to 3.1 percent in October, above the EU’s ceiling of 3 percent of GDP, following bank aid.

“I thank the provinces and municipalities for their impressive budgetary discipline that is making a significant contribution to the credibility of the Austrian budget policy,” Finance Minister Maria Fester said in a statement. “We’re well on our way towards a balanced budget.”

The shrinking deficit of provinces as well as higher tax revenues spare Fester from presiding over a widening budget gap in a year when Greece, Italy and Spain trim their shortfalls. It also cements the Alpine nation’s space among euro-area countries with the soundest public finances and the lowest refinancing costs, such as Germany, Finland and the Netherlands.

Austria’s 10-year yield, which fell to a record low of 1.634 percent last week, was little changed at 1.68 percent at 11:27 a.m. in London. That’s about 41 basis points more than what Germany has to pay creditors for debt with the same maturity.

Nationalized banks KA Finns AG, Hypo-Alpe-Adria International AG and Oesterreichische Volksbanken AG (VBPS) each needed more than 1 billion Euros of additional aid last year. Including dividends and fees the banks are paying, the aid sparked a hole in public finances equivalent to 0.9 percent of GDP. More funds for KA Finanz and Hypo Alpe are earmarked in the 2013 budget.

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Austria remains an importing country

Once again, in the 2010/2011 season, the Austrian agricultural sector was only able to cover part of the country's demand. For grain and potatoes, 88 percent of the demand was covered, for wine 66 percent, for fruit 52 percent, for oilseed 50 percent and for vegetable oil 50 percent, figures from 'Statistik Austria' show.

The value of the agrarian import increased from 8.2 to 9.3 billion Euro and the value of the agrarian export increased from 7.3 to 8.5 billion Euro. The agrarian sector had a share of 7.4 percent of the total foreign trade volume of 242 billion Euros, with 17.8 billion Euros, says the statics bureau. 

Less vegetable based food and feed was produced in the 2010/2011 season in Austria. The production volume decreased by 6 percent to 4.8 million tonnes for grain. For potatoes the production volume decreased by 7 percent to 671,700 tonnes and for fruit the production volume even decreased by 15 percent to 429,657 tonnes. The vegetable production stagnated at 654,000 tonnes.

To cover the need in the country, 2 million tonnes (+24%) of grain was imported, 1.3 million tonnes (+1%) of fruit and vegetable, 217,800 tonnes (+7%) of potatoes, 878,600 hectolitres (+27%) of wine, 529,100 tonnes (-2%) of oilseed and 418,900 tonnes (+29%) of vegetable oil.

 


        
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