August 2023: 7 changes affecting expats in Germany

August 2023: 7 changes affecting expats in Germany

It feels like summer has only just begun and the end is already around the corner. August brings with it a Steuererklärung deadline which you still have time to meet and the final flicker of the fluorescent tube lamp in the EU market.

1. Deadline for 2021 tax declarations

You still have time if you haven’t gotten around to it yet. If you use the services of a tax advisor, the deadline to submit your tax declaration for 2021 is on August 31, 2023.

Self-employed and freelance workers are the largest group who are required to submit an annual tax return (Einkommensteuererklärung). If you were working in Germany in 2021 and you are unsure about whether you need to submit an Einkommensteuererklärung you can find out more information on the German annual tax return information page.

Salaried employees are not obliged to submit an Einkommenssteuererklärung in Germany, although nine out of every 10 people who choose to do receive a tax refund.

2. Düsseldorf-Wuppertal train line will reopen

Some good train news for once: from August 4, building works that have been disrupting the train route between Düsseldorf and Wuppertal for the past six weeks will finally finish up.

Summertime disruptions on the route have been a regular occurrence in recent years.

3. School summer holidays will end in most states

In Germany, the beginning of the school holidays is staggered throughout June and July in order to minimise disruption to transportation. Come August 7, pupils in Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, will return to the classroom. 

Pupils in Bremen, Lower Saxony and Saxony Anhalt are the next group to return to school, on August 16, followed by students in Thuringia on August 19.

Those in Hamburg, Berlin, BrandenburgMecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein will return between August 23 and 26. Students in the remaining federal states will return in September.

4. Fluorescent lamps and light tubes will be banned

In 2022, the EU Commission decided to phase out the production of certain fluorescent lights, many of which contain mercury. The new regulation should save 18,2 billion euros and 1,8 tonnes of toxic mercury.

From August 1 it will no longer be possible to purchase fluorescent tube lighting in Germany and from August 25, there will be a ban on producing or selling T8 and T5 fluorescent lamps.

5. Less money for electric car owners

To aid the transition to renewable energies, Germany offers subsidies to residents with a plug-in hybrid car. But from August 1, the rules will change in regards to which kind of plug-in hybrid cars the subsidy applies.

According to the new regulations, residents will only be eligible for the subsidy if the vehicle has a minimum range of 80 kilometres. In the case of company cars, subsidy recipients will have to prove that more than half of the distances they travel are powered by electricity.

6. Germany to get an alternative universe Ausbildung

With one hand still firmly on the fax machine, Germany is set to dip its toe into the future. From August 1, a new Ausbildung (apprenticeship) program will be available in the federal republic, namely the Gestalter für immersiver Medien Ausbildung. 

This is a vocational training program for aspiring immersive media designers, i.e. those who would like to design augmented reality technologies and other computer-generated environments and their related apparatus (such as VR goggles). Perhaps a bed-based trip to Bürgeramt is in store for 2025?

7. Higher wages for two industries

Two groups of workers are set to bump up their pay packets this August. People in North Rhine-Westphalia who work transporting money and valuable goods will be getting a pay rise from August 1. 

From the beginning of the month, money and valuables transporters on minimum wage will see their pay rise from 20 euros per hour to 20,64. Employees in this industry have a higher minimum wage than the national rate because of the high risk and responsibility involved in the role.

Across the country, trainees in the painting and varnishing industry will also get a pay rise. From the first of the month, people in the first year of their training will see their wages rise to 770 euros per month, people in their second year to 850 euros and those in the third or fourth year of their training can soon expect a paycheck of 1.015 euros per month.

Thumb image credit: defotoberg  /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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