Germany to simplify tax rules by 2012

GERMANY could simplify its tax rules by 2012 to allow the public to file a tax declaration every other year instead of annually, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in a radio interview yesterday.

Cutting taxes and simplifying the complex rules were central pledges of the ruling centre-right’s coalition reform agenda but doubts about scope for the former in the crisis has prompted Schaeuble to place more emphasis on the latter for now.

In an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio, Schaeuble said the prospect of halving the number of declarations was tangible.

“It’s a key point, and I think we have a good chance of putting that into effect by 1 January 2012,” he said.

On Saturday a newspaper said German federal net new borrowing will likely be more than one-fifth lower than previously forecast in 2011.

The finance ministry reiterated its position that federal new borrowing in 2010 would likely amount to some €50bn (£43.4bn) – roughly €30bn less than once predicted – but added that the total could end up being lower next year.