ARCHIV - 02.02.2021, Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart: Der Gasverbrauch wird auf einem Gaszähler eines privaten Haushaltes angezeigt. (zu dpa: "Es wird ernst: Höhe der Gasumlage wird bekannt - viele offene Fragen") Foto: Bernd Weißbrod/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

According to the EU, VAT must be levied on the gas surcharge for German customers. “There is no possibility for an exception to this type of tax,” said a Commission spokesman in Brussels on Tuesday.

According to its own statements, the Commission is working together with Berlin on a solution regarding VAT.

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) had asked for an exception at EU level. However, a spokesman for the EU Commission made it clear: “There is no way to exempt this type of surcharge.”

At the same time, he emphasized: “We are in contact with the German government to find solutions that will benefit consumers and have the same effect for them.”

The Federal Ministry of Finance said that no official letter from the EU Commission had been received so far. “Our goal is still to avoid additional burdens for the citizens.”

The state should not generate any additional revenue from the sales tax on the gas levy. According to the ministry, various options are conceivable that would have to be examined under European law. One is with the EU Commission in discussions about ways in which citizens could be relieved again.

“And we will now very quickly discuss this path with the EU Commission,” said Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). “Then it is also legally secure and can be implemented before the levy is charged.”

It was initially unclear what options there are and when the Brussels authority wants to comment on them. The Commission spokesman said the EU Commission shares Germany’s wish that the measure should not have any unforeseen tax effects.

“This is an extremely important part.” Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) had previously announced that he would create compensation mechanisms if no VAT exemption should be possible.

In order to support gas importers, customers in Germany will have to pay significantly more for their gas from autumn. The amount of the state surcharge will be 2.419 cents per kilowatt hour excluding VAT, as announced by Trading Hub Europe, a joint venture of the gas transmission system operators in Germany, on Monday. VAT would be an additional 19 percent of the 2.419 cents – that’s around 0.46 cents again.

For a one-person household with an annual consumption of 5000 kilowatt hours, the levy without VAT means annual additional costs of around 121 euros. With it would be around 144 euros. For a family household with an annual consumption of 20,000 kilowatt hours, the additional costs are around 484 euros per year. If VAT is added, it is 576 euros.

Tax policy in the EU is primarily a matter for the countries, but there are framework conditions that everyone must implement. The regular VAT rate must be at least 15 percent, the reduced rate at least 5 percent.

In Germany, a higher rate of 19 percent and a reduced rate of 7 percent apply. Since the beginning of April, according to EU rules, complete VAT exemptions have only been possible in certain areas such as food and other goods to cover basic needs – but not in the case of energy.