GERMANY

 

COUNTRY

GERMANY

REGION

Central Europe

POPULATION

79,903,481 (July 2021 est.)

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

Germany is Europe's most industrialized and populous country, famed for its technological achievements. It is one of Europe’s largest nations, with one of the largest populations. Although it has played a major part in European and world history, it has been a single, unified nation for less than 100 years.
The legal system in Germany is not a common law, but a civil law system. Statutory law codified in acts or statutes plays the leading role. Case law precedent is only of comparatively minor significance, although decisions of the German Federal Supreme Courts may sometimes create an effect similar to case law under a common law system. However, German judges are never bound by precedents but only by the codified law enacted by Parliament.

Some sectors of the German economy have been dealing with difficult markets, notably the automotive industry and manufacturers of machines. These have seen some increased restructuring activity even before the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

After a weak first half of 2019, the German leveraged buy-out (LBO) market performed significantly better in the second half and eventually outperformed 2018 in terms of total transactions. However, almost half of these were re-capitalisations/re-financings and add-on financings. Debt funds have managed to increase their market share in this segment to 50%, and in some cases have managed to offer pricing comparable to that of banks.

The real estate market has continued its growth in the light of continuing negative interest rates and ample liquidity in the market. Banks have provided finance at historically low rates, but with rising property prices, mezzanine finance is playing a more prominent role, with a number of new lenders entering the market. Obtaining financing for investment in the residential property market in Berlin has become more difficult as a result of the newly introduced rent freeze, the constitutionality of which has not yet been tested.

The Schuldschein market has continued to go from strength to strength with a volume of approximately EUR25 billion in 2019.

The inclusion of environmental, social and governance (ESG) finance and sustainable finance criteria is increasingly becoming a feature of various types of financial debt instruments such as bonds, loans and Schuldschein instruments.

The COVID-19 crisis saw a vast increase in the amount of debt provided or guaranteed by the KfW and the German Association of Guarantee Banks (counter-guaranteed by the German Government) in order to alleviate the liquidity problems experienced by many entities. A number of different programmes are available depending on the size of the borrower in question.

WIFI SPEED

Average connection speed (Mbit/s) - 28.7
Median connection speed (Mbit/s)- 19.59
Median 5G connection speed (Mbit/s)- 93.41

ELECTRICAL OUTLET

For Germany, there are two associated plug types, types C and F. Germany operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.

PER CAPITA GDP

$53,919 (2019 est.)
$53,768 (2018 est.)
$53,255 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

CLIMATE

Temperate and marine; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; occasional warm mountain (foehn) wind

RESIDENCY- BY- INVESTMENT

In Germany, there is no state program offering golden visas for investment. It is also not possible to invest in real estate for residency. However, there is the option, for wealthy individuals, of obtaining a residence permit in Germany by business investment bringing economic benefits. This results from special permission contained in § 7 AufenthG (the German Residence Act). Germany offers the cheapest residency in Europe for self-employed private entrepreneurs and investors.

§ 21 GERMAN RESIDENCE ACT

The encouragement of innovation and entrepreneurship is a declared goal of the German Residence Act. Company founders, sole proprietorships, managing directors, and legal representatives of partnerships and corporations are therefore particularly privileged by the provision of § 21 German Residence Act.

INVESTMENTS/ REQUIREMENTS

  • There is no minimum investment.
  • Entrepreneurs and Business Investors are admitted into Germany if they invest in a German business venture that created at least five jobs in Germany bringing economic benefits. The duration of the residence permit is usually two or three years which can be prolonged.
  • Business capital – EUR 50,000
  • Legal fee – EUR 30,000
  • Total: EUR 80,000 (approx.)

KEY BENEFITS

  • You will be given an immediate residency visa to live in Germany.
  • Family and children can apply for German residency as well.
  • Permanent residence card after 5 years of living in Germany.
  • German citizenship after 6-8 years under German naturalization laws.
  • German Residence permit offers free movement in the Schengen area

NATURAL RESOURCES

Coal, lignite, natural gas, iron ore, copper, nickel, uranium, potash, salt, construction materials, timber, arable land

ETHNIC GROUPS

Georgian 86.8%, Azeri 6.3%, Armenian 4.5%, other 2.3% (includes Russian, Ossetian, Yazidi, Ukrainian, Kist, Greek) (2014 est.)

LANGUAGES

German 86.3%, Turkish 1.8%, Polish 1%, Syrian 1%, Romanian 1%, other/stateless/unspecified 8.9% (2020 est.)

note: data represent population by nationality

RELIGIONS

Roman Catholic 27.1%, Protestant 24.9%, Muslim 5.2%, Orthodox 2%, other Christian 1%, other 1%, none 38.8% (2019 est.)

MEDIAN AGE

total: 47.8 years
male: 46.5 years
female: 49.1 years (2020 est.)

URBANIZATION

urban population: 77.5% of total population (2021)
rate of urbanization: 0.13% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)
total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

PHYSICIAN DENSITY

4.25 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

GOVERNMENT TYPE

Federal Parliamentary Republic

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

4.98% (2019 est.)
5.19% (2018 est.)

TAXES

Personal Income Tax Rate (highest marginal tax rate) - Income tax in Germany is progressive. Rates start at 14% and incrementally rise to 42%. A top rate of 45% is also present for those with very high earnings.

The income tax rate for individuals (such as employees) is between 15% and 45%. In addition, a solidarity surcharge of 5.5% is levied on this rate.

Individuals tax resident in Germany are taxed on their worldwide income. The income tax rate ranges from 14% to 45% (for 2020). There is an initial general tax-free amount of EUR9,408 for individuals and EUR18,816 for married couples (for 2020). There is an additional tax-free amount of EUR1,000 (for 2020) for all employees. Depending on the personal situation, taxable persons can claim various deductions (such as child allowance).

In addition to the income tax, a "solidarity surcharge" of 5.5% on the tax is levied. Members of certain religious organisations must also pay an additional church tax.

Employees whose residence or usual place of abode is in Germany, are considered tax residents and taxed on their worldwide income.

All other employees are only taxed on income arising from their employment in Germany.

However, most German double tax treaties provide that the employee's home jurisdiction can tax the employee if all of the following apply:

  • Presence in Germany does not exceed 183 days in any 12-month period (some treaties refer to the calendar year or tax year).
  • Remuneration is paid by or on behalf of an employer who is not resident in Germany.
  • The remuneration is not borne by a German permanent establishment of the employer (foreign company).

Non-tax residents are taxed on their German source income only. The tax rate for non-tax resident employees is, in principle, the same as for tax resident employees, but there are special provisions for non-tax resident employees, including:

Expenses can only be deducted if they are related to German source income.

Special expenses, such as certain insurance payments, which cannot be deducted from the taxable income.

Corporate Income Tax Rate (excluding dividend taxes) – Corporation tax is levied at a uniform rate of 15% and is then subject to a surcharge of 5.5% (solidarity surcharge). This results in a total tax rate of 15.825%

Corporations are subject to corporation tax. The tax rate is currently 15%, in addition a solidarity surcharge is levied (5.5% on the amount of the corporate tax to be paid). Corporation tax is assessed on the basis of the gains of the corporation within the fiscal year. The tax liability of a business depends on whether it is tax resident in Germany or not. In addition, any double tax avoidance treaties should be considered.

Tax resident
A corporation is tax resident in Germany if it has a registered seat or at least a place of management in Germany.

Non-tax resident
A corporation is non-tax resident in Germany if it has neither its registered seat nor a place of management in Germany. A non-tax resident corporation is subject to limited tax liability on its German income.

Germany has double tax treaties with about 100 countries including the US and all European countries. With regard to income and wealth taxes, Germany has entered into double taxation treaties with about 90 countries, including the UK and the US. With regard to IHT and gift tax, Germany has entered into double taxation treaties with the following states:

  • Denmark.
  • France.
  • Greece.
  • Sweden (IHT has been abolished in Sweden).
  • Switzerland (the treaty refers only to IHT).
  • The US.

However, in addition to the (few) double taxation treaties, it is possible to have foreign taxes credited against domestic IHT and gift tax. Germany implemented the OECD CRS rules under national legislation at the end of 2015 (Gesetz zum automatischen Austausch von Informationen über Finanzkonten in Steuersachen). In addition, there are guidelines on implementing the CRS under European law.

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