Solidarity Surcharge (Solidaritätszuschlag)

General / Persons liable to pay tax

The solidarity surcharge (Solidaritaetszuschlag) is an additional fee on income tax, capital gains tax and corporate tax in Germany. This means that the solidarity surcharge is to be paid by every natural and legal person that owes one of the above-mentioned taxes in Germany.

The solidarity surcharge was introduced in 1991 and was mostly justified by the costs of German reunification, but also additional costs for the then Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) and its consequences as well as support for countries in central, eastern and southern Europe.

For a long time now there has been a controversial discussion in Germany about ending the solidarity surcharge. It has also often been the subject of proceedings before the Federal Financial Court (Bundesfinanzhof) and the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht), where its constitutionality was always confirmed even with regard to a permanent existence.

Since there is no political unity regarding a termination, we should not expect it to be ended soon, although it was introduced as a temporary additional tax.

Basis for taxation

The basis for applying the solidarity surcharge is the level of the tax amount to be paid from income, capital gains and corporate tax.

Rate of tax

The solidarity surcharge is 5.50 percent of the tax payment for all taxpayers. The solidarity surcharge has developed as follows in recent years:

Time period Rate
1 July 1991 - 30 June 1992 7.5 %
1 July 1992 - 31 December 1994 0.0%
1995 - 1997 7.5 %
1998 - present 5.5 %
   

Reporting and payment

There is no special tax return required for reporting and paying the solidarity surcharge to the tax office. This is always done in parallel with the tax type upon which it is charged as an additional tax.