ANIMAL LAW - YOUR ATTORNEYS

“Hundesteuer” – German Tax on Dogs

German Tax on Dogs: Tell me more about it!

Almost everywhere in Germany, dog owners have to pay taxes for their fur-friends. The only people exempt from paying these taxation on dogs are: shepherds, dog breeders or blind people or more generally explained: those who need their dog for their job or for living, or who keep it for commercial purposes.

The price of dog tax varies from municipality to municipality. Most municipalities also impose an increased tax for so-called fighting dogs or list dogs (dog breeds classified as dangerous). You have to pay the tax once or twice a year – per dog. You can find out the exact regulations at the responsible public order office in your municipality or at the municipal administration. There you can also find out where you have to register your dog or re-register it after moving.

But who exactly shall pay the taxes? The dog owner or all members of the family that the dog proudly recognizes as his “pack”?  Let’s have a look together at this German Tribunal Case of the Higher Administrative Court of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, decision of 11.05.2021 – 3 M 182/21 OVG, 3 O 183/21 OVG –

The case was based on the following facts: a 25-year-old woman was ordered to pay the tax for a Yorkshire terrier bought by her mother in 2014, for the years 2015 to 2019 in the amount of EUR 108 per year. Until July 2019, the woman had lived with her mother in a flat in Rostock. The mother of the young woman had never paid the dog taxes. The young woman refused to pay the taxation arrears for an amount of 540 €. She had had nothing to do with the purchase of the dog, as this latter had been purchased by her mother with her own funds and she had also always borne the costs of its maintenance. The woman therefore applied to the Schwerin Administrative Court for legal aid for an intended action against the decision of the municipality. Unfortunately, with not a lot of success as in the municipality of the Hanseatic City of Rostock, all members of a domestic community are jointly and severally liable for the dog tax. In this case, as the household was managed together by the two women, it was irrelevant which household member bore which specific costs.

According to the Higher Administrative Court, an exception could exist if the dog was taken in against the will or without the knowledge of the household member. However, this had not been asserted by the applicant. In particular, she had not argued that she had unsuccessfully resisted the inclusion of the dog in the joint household.

Have you registered your dog? Are you paying for its taxes? Do you have questions about this topic? Get in touch with us. 

dog taxes case

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