September 2023: 8 changes affecting expats in Germany

September 2023: 8 changes affecting expats in Germany

The nights are no longer close and there is a fresh back-to-school breeze in the air - the autumn is almost here. With the passing of the seasons, here are eight changes affecting expats in Germany in September 2023.

1. Vehicle registration moves online

There is to be another tiny step in the direction of Deutschland digitalisiert. From September 1 anyone in Germany who wants to register a vehicle will not have to schlep to the KFZ Zulassungsstelle, but will be able to settle everything on the internet instead!

Previously, drivers have had to sit around and twiddle their thumbs while waiting for their registration documents to arrive in the post. Now, these documents will be digital, and for the 10 days following their online registration, drivers will be able to get behind the wheel even if their online certificate has not yet landed in their inbox.

2. Deutsche Bahn discounts for the young and old

A nice discount to ease the back-to-school blues, from September 1 Deutsche Bahn will be offering passengers who are either under the age of 27 or above the age of 65 a discount when they buy a Bahn Card 100.

That said, even with the discount the cards will be expensive, likely in the thousands of euros, since they offer passengers free, nationwide transport on all trains for one year.

3. DB Hamburg-Konstanz service to end

One of Germany’s longest train journeys, the weekend service that runs from Hamburg to Lake Constance (Bodensee) is set to be discontinued by Deutsche Bahn this month. The weekend service was introduced as part of DB’s summer timetable and will cease service from September 10.

4. Tax deadline for 2022

The most thrilling topic - September brings with it another tax deadline in Germany. The deadline to submit your annual income tax return (Einkommensteuererklärung) for the tax year of 2022 is on September 30, 2023. 

Since September 30 falls on a Saturday, and the Finanzamt is closed at the weekend, you actually have until October 2 to get it into them, but it is always best not to dilly-dally. If you need, you can also apply to your local tax office for an extension, which is usually granted automatically. 

5. ELSTER inbox to change storage settings

Another tax-related update; ELSTER, Germany's online tax office system designed by the Finanzamt to enable anyone to submit their tax returns online, is making some changes.

You may have already gotten the warning email. From September 18, the platform will delete emails in your ELSTER inbox that the tax office does not consider important. Until now, all emails have stayed in your ELSTER inbox forever, so it may be worth logging in and having a look through your inbox before September 18 to see if there are any documents you want to download for safekeeping.

6. EON to lower energy and gas prices

Customers of EON can look forward to saving a little money on their utilities this September since prices at the company are set to fall from the first of the month.

EON is predicting that the cost of electricity will go down by 18 percent and the cost of gas will go down by 28 percent. Customers don’t have to do anything in order to benefit from the drop in price.

7. Hardship fund application window closes

Applications to receive Germany’s Hardship fund (Härtefallfond) will close on September 30. The Hardship fund is designed for retired people whose pensions only just reach the threshold of basic income support and who are part of certain groups.

These groups include pensioners affected by the East-West pension transition, Jewish refugees and people who moved to Germany from the former Soviet Union after 1993. If their applications are accepted, pensioners can receive up to 5.000 euros extra per year.

8. Halogen pins will be banned

In August we waved goodbye to fluorescent lamps and light tubes, this month it’s time to bid farewell to halogen pins.

Another step in the EU plan to make household lighting more energy efficient, from September 1 new halogen pin lamps will no longer be produced. Products already on the market can continue to be sold.

Thumb image credit: Jan Hendrik /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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