Pension, taxes, easing, etc. – that changes for consumers

Pensions are increasing, VAT is falling, the obligation to report corona-infected pets is likely to come: a lot will change from July. Here you will find a large overview.

After the recent outbreaks in North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin, the number of corona infected people in Germany is increasing again. Nevertheless, all federal states have recently relaxed contact restrictions, business is open again – normality is returning.

From July onwards, therefore, some regulations will expire that should help tenants in particular in the Corona crisis. However, the most important change from July onwards is the reduction in VAT. It is part of a multi-billion stimulus package that is supposed to get the corona-stricken economy going again.

But what will change from July 1st – or in July? t-online.de gives a great overview. You can also get it in the video above or here.

Lower VAT

As of July 1st, consumers can look forward to: VAT drops from 19 to 16 percent. This also applies to the reduced rate, which applies to books or groceries, for example. This falls from seven to five percent.

The changes are part of the Corona stimulus package, which the leaders of the grand coalition agreed on in early June. The lower VAT rate will apply for half a year – until the end of 2020. From January 1, 2021, the conventional rate will again apply.

However, experts fear that many retailers will hardly pass on this low VAT rate to customers. Because they are not obliged to do so.

Higher pensions

The approximately 21 million pensioners in Germany will get more money from July. As a result of the annual pension adjustment, benefits increase by 4.2 percent in the east and 3.45 percent in the west.

The so-called standard Interest grows to 1,538.55 euros in the west (plus 51.37 euros) and 1,495.35 euros in the east (plus 60.30 euros). The standard pension is a comparative figure and means that someone who has been an average earner for 45 years and paid contributions to the pension fund would receive this standard pension.

The basis for the annual pension adjustment is the wage development of the past year. The development of contributions and the ratio of contribution payers to pensioners also play a role.

Because of the Corona crisis, many people earned less – were or are on short-time work. There are also fewer contributors than in previous years. However, a reduction in the pension is not possible, which prohibits a protective clause.

Pension increase in the West could fail in 2021

As a result, the pension increase could be canceled in the west next year. This was the last assessment by Alexander Gunkel, CEO of Deutsche Rentenversicherung.

In the east, pensions could only increase by 0.7 percent next year. The East pensions should adjust to the West pensions in the long run.

End of deferral for certain contracts

Because of the Corona crisis, consumers recently had a so-called right to refuse performance for primary care contracts that were concluded before March 8. So they could postpone payments for electricity, gas, or the phone line – for three months. This special rule expires on July 1st.

This also applies to special rules for certain small loans that were closed before March 15. So far, consumers have also been able to pay interest or repayments over three months. Loans that were closed from July 1st must be repaid on time. You can find more information here.

The deferral of rent expires

In the corona pandemic, landlords were not allowed to give notice if the tenant was unable to pay the rent from April 1. Tenants were able to defer these payments for hours.

This possibility ends on July 1st. In return, this means: As a tenant, you have to pay rent as normal again. The deferred payments must be made up by the tenants by June 30, 2022. Otherwise they may face termination.

Corona reporting requirements for pets

It probably doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen: Certain pets and zoo animals can also be infected with the corona virus. In order to better research this, there will soon be an obligation to report corona cases in animals.

The Federal Council will vote on this on July 3. It is not yet clear when exactly it will apply. In any case, it is questionable whether pets can infect people. But one thing is clear: The obligation to report does not mean that pet owners have to have their cats or dogs tested by a veterinarian.

Relaxation of the entry stop

After the entry restrictions due to the Corona pandemic, the EU wants to allow access for citizens from 14 third countries again from Wednesday – but not for travelers from the USA. As the European Council announced, the 27 EU governments agreed on a list of safe states on Tuesday.

It says: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. In addition to the United States, Turkey, Russia and Brazil are also absent, where the current spread of the virus is rated as more serious than the EU average. It will be discussed again in mid-July.

The EU also gave travelers from China the green light. However, the People’s Republic will only be added to the list if it lets EU citizens into the country itself. The list is officially only a recommendation for the EU member states, who could continue to restrict entry from the 14 countries classified as safe.

To curb the coronavirus pandemic, all EU states except Ireland and the non-EU states Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland agreed in mid-March to initially ban travel to the EU that was not absolutely necessary. This entry stop had been extended several times.

New rules in online trading

From July 12, a new EU-wide regulation will come into force: the so-called “Platform-to-Business” regulation (“P2B” regulation). This should ensure that companies get more rights on online platforms.

Smaller and private sellers in particular benefit from this: In the future, platforms such as Amazon or Ebay will have to provide more transparent information about their terms and conditions. The regulation also applies to social networks, app stores or price comparison portals on the Internet.

Insurance card changes color

A car accident abroad can sometimes lead to problems – even if there was only one sheet metal damage. It is therefore all the more important to be able to prove that you are covered by liability insurance.

There is an agreement within the EU that the license plate is sufficient to prove this insurance protection. However, in some countries such as Italy – or non-EU countries such as Turkey or Albania – additional proof may be necessary. This is evidenced by the previously green insurance card.

Green card turns white

From July 1, it will change color – and will henceforth be printed on white paper. The advantages are, among other things, that the card can now also be sent as a PDF and printed out by the customer himself, according to the Association of the German Insurance Industry (GDV).

So far, the insurers have sent the cards or made them ready for collection at their representatives. Important: It is only valid when printed out on paper; the mere presentation of the PDF document does not apply.

In a transition period until the end of the year, insurers will distribute both versions – on classic green, but also on white paper. Anyone who already has a card can continue to use it until the end of its validity, according to the GDV.

Minimum wages for carers increase

Unskilled assistants in geriatric care will be better paid starting in July. Your minimum wage increases in western Germany and Berlin to 11.60 euros, in the east German states to 11.20 euros per hour. It is clearly above the statutory minimum wage of currently 9.35 euros.

Temporary expansion of the driving ban for trucks

In order to relieve the stress on the roads during peak travel times, the Sunday truck ban is extended as usual from July 1 to August 31. Trucks with a weight of more than 7.5 tons and trucks with trailers are not allowed to drive on a large part of the German motorways on Saturdays between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays. However, exceptions apply to the transport of fresh food.

As far as traffic is concerned, there will be another innovation from July: Trucks with a total length of up to 25 meters will have to have an electronic turning assistant in the future. This is to give the driver an acoustic warning of the impending collision with a cyclist when turning.

However, this initially only applies to new trucks. There is a two-year transition period for retrofitting older long trucks.

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