Germany must slightly lower its planned spending in the years to come as tax experts have calculated slower-than-predicted growth in tax revenue. But authorities are still far from having to tighten their belts.
Revenue from taxes in Germany this year would be 2.8 billion euros ($3.6 billion) lower than previously anticipated, a committee of independent tax experts said Friday.
Combined 2013 tax income for national, regional and communal authorities was expected to reach 615.2 billion euros, the panel said, as it also revised downward its tax estimate for the next four years.
On balance, tax revenue until 2017 would be 10.4 billion euros less than estimated in the committee's previous tax report compiled in October last year.
However, unlike in most other countries in Europe the projected slowdown in German tax growth was not a result of the recession on the continent, the experts said, but due to changes in German tax laws and higher contributions to the European Union budget.
The downward revision of the tax estimate was the first since 2011. Nevertheless, it forecast growing tax income, rising from about 615 billion euros in 2013 to more than 704 billion euros in 2017.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble called for the rising tax revenue to be primarily used for reducing debt at all levels of administration, saying that a balanced central government budget was within reach.
Schäuble also said that the slowdown in tax growth gave no reason for demanding neither higher nor lower taxes in Germany.
The twice-a-year estimate provides fundamental data on which the central German government, as well as regional and local administrations, base their future budget spending.
uhe/hc (dpa, Reuters, AFP)