Berlin can expect a clear increase in tax revenue this year and next. This emerges from the current tax estimate for the state of Berlin, which the tax authorities published on Friday. This year, compared to the previous estimate, additional income of 541 million euros (totalling 26.7 billion euros) is expected, and in the coming year even additional income of 789 million euros (totalling 27.5 billion euros).
Finance Senator Daniel Wesener (Greens) warned on Friday against exuberance. He said: “The result of the current tax estimate is slightly better than the forecast in November and that indicates at least an encouraging trend. But we should not be fooled.” The growth is offset by significant burdens and risks that are difficult to assess.
In particular, Wesener warns that the recently sharp rise in inflation is responsible for part of the calculated gains, but could eat them up again on the expenditure side. Wesener said: “The Ukraine war, the consequences of the pandemic and ongoing supply chain problems remain risks with significant consequences for public budgets. In addition, there is inflation with rising prices. As a result, the state also takes in more, but it has higher expenses .”
In addition, there would be considerable additional costs for the accommodation and integration of the Ukraine refugees. Around 500 million euros have been earmarked for this in the state budget this year and next. The sharp rise in energy costs is also depressing the finance senator’s mood: heating public buildings is also becoming significantly more expensive as a result.
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In this way, Wesener’s call for moderation is also to be understood against the background of the current budget consultations. In the Berlin House of Representatives, the draft budget from his house is being discussed these days – and the parliamentarians still have all sorts of wishes for which there has not been enough money so far.
According to the tax authorities, even after taking into account the additional costs that the state of Berlin will face, there will be a budget surplus of 211 million euros this year and 299 million euros next year.
But Berlin’s finance senator also puts the brakes on this point: “The higher tax revenues do not automatically mean that Berlin can afford more. In the second half of the year, the consequences of war and inflation are likely to have an even greater impact on public sector revenues.”
The basis for the Berlin tax estimate are the federal figures. According to this, real growth in gross domestic product of 2.2 percent this year and 2.5 percent in 2023 is expected. The tax estimators are assuming that the federal, state and local governments will even take in 40.4 billion euros more this year than expected in November.