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Germany

SPD mulls 300-euro rebate for German taxpayers

Germany’s Social Democrats are considering adding a 300-euro tax rebate to their bag of Bundestag election promises, a leading newspaper reported on Thursday.

A tax declaration form

The SPD scheme has already been met with criticism

A report in the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the plan would see taxpayers, who do not have supplementary income in addition to their regular wage, receive the lump-sum payment in return for not filing a tax return.

The report also said that couples would be entitled to a 600-euro bonus and that all 30 million German taxpayers would be eligible for the payment. Around three billion euros - to be taken from a new stock exchange tax - would be made available for the bonus scheme.

An SPD spokesman described the reports on Thursday as speculation and said that no firm decisions had been taken on the matter.

Plan hosed down

Green Bundestag candidate Juergen Trittin

Juergen Trittin has labeled the plan an expensive gift

But the plan has already been talked down by opposition politicians keen to snuff out early SPD campaigning for the upcoming federal election.

FDP general-secretary Dirk Niebel labeled the scheme as typically socialist, while his deputy, Carl-Ludwig Thiele, said it would give tax authorities the added task of monitoring whether taxpayers applying for the bonus were earning a secondary income.

The chairman of the Christian Social Union party's association of small and medium businesses, Hans Michelbach, said the bonus would only complicate people's taxes, labeling it "the worst form of rip off."

The Green Party's leading candidate for the Bundestag elections, Juergen Trittin, criticized the plan for being what he described as an expensive gift. "The money would be more sensibly used to reduce social security contributions," he said.

The Bundestag elections are to be held in September. Frank-Walter Steinmeier is running as the SPD's candidate to become chancellor.

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