Germany suspends beer tax to help breweries during pandemic

The German government has moved to give breweries greater financial leeway during the novel coronavirus pandemic by giving them the option to defer the annual beer tax.

“In order to improve the liquidity of breweries in the current difficult situation and to protect jobs, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the state counterparts have agreed that the beer tax can be deferred”, a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Finance told dpa.

Applications to defer the tax could be submitted to the main customs offices until 31 December 2020 for taxes already due now or taxes that become due before that date, the ministry said.

“The main customs offices are to accommodate the breweries to avoid undue hardship. Charging interest on the deferral can be waived, as a rule,” the ministry spokesman said.

The German Brewers’ Association called the deferral option an important signal for the industry, which is under great pressure.

Many breweries have run into financial problems in connection with the coronavirus pandemic as exports have largely ceased, events have been cancelled and restaurants have had to close.

A standard crate with 20 half-litre bottles of beer would be charged 0.94 euros ($1.02) in beer tax, according to information from the”Lebensmittel Zeitung,” a trade publication.

The beer tax is paid to the federal states and the payments from 2019 are expected to amount to a total of some 650 million euros ($703 million), according to finance ministry figures.

Source: dpa

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