Germany will see the introduction of numerous new regulations in the new year, affecting various aspects of our lives. Let's examine them.
Marijuana Legalization: Starting April 1st, marijuana will become legal in Germany. Adult residents will be able to carry up to 25 grams of cannabis, and at home, they can have up to 50 grams of their own production, equivalent to owning up to three plants. Read more about the legalization of cannabis in Germany
Changes for Tenants: Good news for those who don’t watch television: if you rent a home, your landlord likely passes the cost of cable TV on to you. But from July of next year, you will no longer have to bear these costs.
Tax Reduction: We will all pay less in taxes because the tax allowance, Grundfreibetrag, will increase by almost 700 euros. This is the amount of income on which no taxes are levied in Germany, and it will now increase by 700 euros. Advantage! If you have children, the tax allowance per child, Kinderfreibetrag, will increase by more than 350 euros, which will also reduce your tax burden.
VAT Increase on Restaurant Food: From January 1, 2024, the cost of food in restaurants will rise. The German government is raising the VAT on restaurant food from 7% to 19%. This means that, for example, a dish that previously cost 10 euros will now cost us 11 euros and 90 cents due to the VAT increase of 1 euro and 90 cents.
Meat Origin Transparency: Starting February 11, stores selling meat by weight must declare the product's origin, a requirement that previously applied only to packaged meat.
Electronic Prescriptions: Prescriptions for medication sold strictly by prescription will become electronic. You will now be able to receive such prescriptions through an app or a plastic medical card, though the option to obtain a printed electronic prescription will remain.
Electronic Hospital Atlas: From April of the new year, Germany will introduce an electronic atlas of hospitals, which will allow you to explore the services provided by each of the 1700 hospitals in the country.
Heating with Renewable Energy Sources: All new heating systems must now be equipped so that 65% of the heat is generated by renewable energy sources, such as heat pumps.
Gas Price Increase: From March 1st, the cost of gas in Germany will rise again. The government is increasing the VAT on gas from 7% to 19%, returning it to the rate before the energy crisis.
Black Boxes in Cars: From July, every new car in Germany must be equipped with a "black box" that will record parameters such as speed and engine revolutions. Access to this data will only be possible by court order.
New Winter Tire Requirements: Car owners should pay attention to winter tires, as from October next year, the requirements for winter tires will change: they must have a mountain symbol displayed, simply having M+S (Mud+Snow) will not be enough.
Cancellation of Subsidies for Electric Cars: Unfortunately, those planning to purchase an electric car will face bad news, as the German government has canceled all subsidies for electric cars — there are no longer funds in the budget for these purposes.
Insurance Threshold Changes for High Earners: Those who earn well will take home less, as the thresholds for medical and pension insurance are being raised. This will affect those who earn more than 50,000 euros gross per year for medical insurance and more than 90,000 euros gross per year for pension insurance.
Social Benefit Bürgergeld Increase: The social benefit Bürgergeld will increase by more than 10% to 563 euros per month. The minimum wage will rise from 12 euros to 12 euros and 41 cents per hour, and the threshold for working under the Mini Job system will be set at 538 euros per month.
Changes in Receiving Elterngeld: From April, only families with an annual income of less than 200,000 euros will receive the child care benefit Elterngeld. Newly minted parents will no longer be able to receive the benefit simultaneously in the first month after the child's birth, as was previously possible.
Cancellation of the Kinderreisepass: The children's passport, Kinderreisepass, is being canceled. Now children will only be able to obtain a standard passport with biometric data.
Carbon Tax Increase: The carbon tax will increase by 50%, from 30 to 45 euros per ton, which will lead to higher costs for gasoline and gas for consumers, as the government seeks to accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources.
EU Standardization of Charging Cables: The European Union is standardizing charging cables — USB-C will now be the mandatory standard for all small electronic devices.
Expansion of the Pfandsystem Deposit System: The bottle deposit system, Pfandsystem, is being extended to milk and dairy products in large packaging, such as yogurts and kefir.
Citizenship Law: And possibly the most significant news: in the new year, a new citizenship law is likely to be adopted, which will allow the acquisition of German citizenship after just five years, or in some cases, even three. Moreover, it will no longer be necessary to renounce the previous passport.
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