Double taxation

Before the  German Retirement Income Act (AltEinkG) came into force on 1 January 2005, there were different views as to whether the taxation of pensions under this Act could lead to double taxation. According to the legislature, double taxation does not occur if, under tax law, the extent to which pension payments are made untaxed corresponds at a minimum to the extent to which contributions are made from taxed income. Following on from an initiative by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Berufsständischer Versorgungseinrichtungen (Joint Association of Professional Pension Schemes – ABV), the legislature added an escape clause to the law, which aims to prevent double taxation in certain cases. The escape clause says that, on request, people drawing a pension who made contributions above the applicable maximum contribution to the statutory pension insurance scheme for at least ten years (the ten-year period does not need to be continuous) only need to pay tax at the lower rate on the portion of their pension resulting from these additional contributions. This means that for those who start drawing their pension at the age of 67, the share of income taxed will stand at just 18% and not 27%. This escape clause continues to apply solely to contributions made until 31 December 2004.