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13% increase in tax on pet food!!!!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I don't know where to post this (SOS or IMO), but I'm open to suggestions about what to do about it. Germany has high taxes in general (everything you earn until the beginning of August goes to taxes), but our new coalition government is going too far, IMO. I've been frothing at the mouth about this for two days. Our VAT (value added tax) is 16%, with a special 7% VAT rate for food, pet food,and publications. The government is bankrupt, in part because the politicians are overpaid and enjoy far too many benefits, so the "solution" they've come up with is to raise VAT to 20%. To compensate, the VAT on food will be lowered to 5%, but that for pet food and publications will be raised to 20%! I order cat food (online) by the case for myself, the special needs cats in our local shelter, plus numerous friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, and can take advantage of quantity discounts that way. I got a call from one of the people I order for this evening, asking if I could find a cheaper food for her cat, because she won't be able to afford 20% VAT. This woman is an elderly widow on a low fixed income, whose whole life now revolves around her furbaby. I told her I'd simply order greater quantities, and not to worry about it (we both work, and can absorb the added cost for her), but I'm sure this huge increase is going to have an incredible impact on people's willingness to adopt pets, feed them properly, or even keep them! Not to mention how it's going to affect shelters/rescue organizations. Suggestions?
post #2 of 17
Wow! I wish I had some suggestions for you. Having just spent 3 weeks in Germany, I can speak to how expensive it is over there. Raising the tax that much is completely unreasonable. Sheesh!
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
An Internet buddy has started an online petition, and we're in the process of posting the link on dog/cat sites, along with email and snail mail addresses of the relevant politicians. I wonder if "letters to the editor" of most nationwide newspapers would help? Hubby thinks most people (except for weirdos like me) don't read them.
post #4 of 17
Well, if you can't stop them from imposing the tax, someone needs to come up with a human food kibble with cat food ingredients, so you can buy cat food at human food tax rates!

What if you order cat food from outside of Germany? Do you have to pay the taxes then?
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckiboo
Well, if you can't stop them from imposing the tax, someone needs to come up with a human food kibble with cat food ingredients, so you can buy cat food at human food tax rates!

What if you order cat food from outside of Germany? Do you have to pay the taxes then?
I can order food from other EU countries, provided the supplier will ship to Germany, without having to pay customs duties. Unfortunately, the places I've found that have premium food and will ship are in Austria, and they have 20% VAT on pet food already.
One of the women from our shelter is going to be interviewed by the local newspaper on Tuesday about how the shelter will be affected, and she's hoping to get the local TV news to also interview her. Maybe if enough shelters and rescue organizations do that, it'll put pressure on the politicians.
post #6 of 17
From my reading of this, if I am not wrong this is part of the wider German reform, which includes changes to the tax code to make it more business friendly. The corporate tax code would be signicantly changed such as reduction of its rate by several percent, addition of tax breaks for investment, etc. But to comply with EU budget policies of ensuring that deficit is not too large, Germany needs about 10 billion additional euros. Tax collection on the plus side went up by about 3 billion euros, but there is still a significant gap. Therefore, unless the amount collected from pet food is insignificant, it is unlikely that a petition would work especially since both major parties are committed to the reforms. A less likely alternative is that the Grand Coalition attempt fails badly and new elections are held and that there is somehow a pet food issue.

Although, if you think about it, there is a possibility of making money if you can produce cat food and get it labeled as human food. There was a litigation in UK over whether Jaffa Cakes were actually cakes or luxury biscuits. If they were cakes they did not attract additional taxes.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
From my reading of this, if I am not wrong this is part of the wider German reform, which includes changes to the tax code to make it more business friendly. The corporate tax code would be significantly changed such as reduction of its rate by several percent, addition of tax breaks for investment, etc. But to comply with EU budget policies of ensuring that deficit is not too large, Germany needs about 10 billion additional euros. Tax collection on the plus side went up by about 3 billion euros, but there is still a significant gap. Therefore, unless the amount collected from pet food is insignificant, it is unlikely that a petition would work especially since both major parties are committed to the reforms. A less likely alternative is that the Grand Coalition attempt fails badly and new elections are held and that there is somehow a pet food issue.

Although, if you think about it, there is a possibility of making money if you can produce cat food and get it labeled as human food. There was a litigation in UK over whether Jaffa Cakes were actually cakes or luxury biscuits. If they were cakes they did not attract additional taxes.
Unfortunately, I think your assessment is right on. The amount collected from pet food would certainly be significant, as Germans spend billions on their pets (far more than they do on children's articles, but then, pets outnumber kids). I'm hoping for a "shame factor", not only regarding pet food, but also publications. I emailed my teachers' union representative about the planned hike on Friday (he's rather outspoken), and he's also "frothing at the mouth".
I personally can probably offset much of the (pet food) hike by placing much bigger orders than I do now, just less often, but that's not going to apply to your average pet owner buying food for 1 or 2 pets in retail stores, or to humane societies that barely survive from month to month.
post #8 of 17
Well, one alternative would be to prepare fresh food for the cats. I always thought that fresh food is better than cat food. The only problem is that it takes more time to prepare. Just ensure that the "human food diet" has the requisite nutrition such as taurine.

Come to think of it, perhaps you could suggest that for those who are put to work in Germany so as to be able to obtain welfare, rather than move things aimlessly around, some could be used to service neighborhoods by cooking cat food made from fresh ingredients and then delivering the cat food from house to house.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
That works as long as you don't have dry food fanatics. Jamie will take dry food over any freshly prepared meal that doesn't consist of tuna steaks, lobster, boiled shrimp, hardboiled eggs, or calamari.
post #10 of 17
Are there tax exempt organizations in Germany? For example, I know my church can purchase items without paying the tax, by showing a card. I would guess that the not-for-profit shelters are the same. Any hope of the shelters getting food without paying the tax? (I'm guessing not, or you would alredy do so!)
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckiboo
Are there tax exempt organizations in Germany? For example, I know my church can purchase items without paying the tax, by showing a card. I would guess that the not-for-profit shelters are the same. Any hope of the shelters getting food without paying the tax? (I'm guessing not, or you would alredy do so!)
Unfortunately, no, though many suppliers of "name brands" will sell to shelters at wholesale prices. Our shelter gets Royal Canin at the wholesale price, but many of the cats won't eat dry food, or need special diets, normally due to allergies.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
Come to think of it, perhaps you could suggest that for those who are put to work in Germany so as to be able to obtain welfare, rather than move things aimlessly around, some could be used to service neighborhoods by cooking cat food made from fresh ingredients and then delivering the cat food from house to house.
Now that is a good suggestion! They could do dog food, too. VAT would still have to be charged, though.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to update this. VAT will be raised to 19% in 2007, but the VAT on pet food will remain at 7%. There was a public outcry (lots of animal advocates gave TV and print interviews), and the government changed its mind pretty fast.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat
I just wanted to update this. VAT will be raised to 19% in 2007, but the VAT on pet food will remain at 7%. There was a public outcry (lots of animal advocates gave TV and print interviews), and the government changed its mind pretty fast.

Great news!
post #14 of 17
Now all your government has to do is find a way to balance their budget without raising some other tax. I don't suppose cutting unnecessary spending is an option? Ah, liberals!
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdpesz
Now all your government has to do is find a way to balance their budget without raising some other tax. I don't suppose cutting unnecessary spending is an option? Ah, liberals!
What the German government really has to do is downsize. The U.S. manages with just 435 Representatives, so why does a small country like Germany need over 600 in the Bundestag?
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat
What the German government really has to do is downsize. The U.S. manages with just 435 Representatives, so why does a small country like Germany need over 600 in the Bundestag?
wow that is alot of beurocrats.../// Glad they backed away from such a high tax..
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
They really had to - an awful lot of people involved in animal rescue spelled out what the increase would mean for shelters, rescue groups, and those who practice TNR, in other words, those who are dependent on donations, and have to count every cent. Not to mention people with fixed incomes, like retirees and the disabled.
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TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › 13% increase in tax on pet food!!!!