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November 2021: 6 changes affecting expats in Germany

November 2021: 6 changes affecting expats in Germany

November 2021: 6 changes affecting expats in Germany

From clock changes to car insurance switches, there are a few things expats in Germany should be aware of as we head into November 2021. Here are six important changes and reminders.

1. New, tougher penalties for driving offences

As of November 10, 2021, a new bill comes into effect in Germany, designed to crack down on bad driving by imposing tougher penalties on a range of offences, including speeding and illegal parking. Some of the increased fines are:

  • Up to 55 euros for parking in no-parking zones
  • 70 euros for exceeding the speed limit by 16 - 20 kilometres per hour in built-up areas
  • 55 euros for parking illegally in a disabled space
  • 100 euros for parking in spots that obstruct emergency services
  • 55 euros for parking in electric car or sharing vehicle spaces
  • 200 - 320 euros and a one-month driving ban for failing to form emergency lane or using the lane
  • 100 euros for illegally driving on pavements, cycle paths or hard shoulder areas
  • 70 euros for trucks who fail to drive at walking pace when turning right in built-up areas 

2. No wage compensation for unvaccinated people 

This regulation has been gradually introduced across Germany, but from November 1 it will apply nationwide: unvaccinated people will not be entitled to compensation, should they lose out on their salary after being ordered into self-isolation. They will, however, continue to receive compensation if they become ill and are unable to work

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people will not qualify for wage compensation if they make an “avoidable trip” to a coronavirus risk area - a country with a high infection rate - and have to quarantine upon their return.  

3. Final (really final!) deadline for tax returns

Technically, the deadline for submitting your annual tax return in Germany falls on October 31 in 2021 (after the government granted everyone a three-month extension to get their affairs in order, due to the coronavirus pandemic). But since October 31 is a Sunday, you actually have until the end of the day on Monday, November 1 to get your stuff to the tax office

And if you live in a federal state where November 1 is a public holiday (namely Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland), you get until November 2 to submit. 

If you employ a tax advisor, you have even more time: the deadline is not until May 31, 2022 for your 2020 return. 

4. Deadline for switching car insurance

Policies for car insurance usually last for one year and - unlike with other types of insurance in Germany - can be cancelled with just one month’s notice, rather than the typical three months. November 30 is therefore the deadline for cancelling your policy in order to switch to a new provider from January 1, 2022. If you don’t give notice by this date, your contract will be extended for another year. 

5. Government’s emergency pandemic powers due to expire

The government is moving to let its emergency pandemic powers lapse at the end of November. These special powers, which allowed ministers to impose sweeping restrictions without having to seek the approval of parliament, are due to expire on November 25. The coalition parties in talks to form the next government (the SPD, Greens and FDP) want to let the powers end, but will likely keep other coronavirus measures in place until March 2022. 

6. Winter sports season begins

Get out your salopettes, skiing season is nearly here! After most venues were forced to remain closed during last season’s shutdown, the people of Germany likely have some pent-up energy to splurge this year. The Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak, will be the first to welcome winter sports enthusiasts, opening its slopes on November 19. 

Most venues are likely to operate under Germany’s 3G COVID pass rules, which are currently in place nationwide. This means that only people who can show proof they are either vaccinated, recovered, or tested will be allowed to use indoor facilities like cable cars. Children below the age of six and pupils at primary and secondary schools will be exempt. 

Bear in mind that the rules could change from state to state, so check local requirements before setting off for your trip. 

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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