Newsneed for explanation

need for explanation

Created: 08/16/2022 Updated: 08/16/2022, 4:21 p.m

Ein lustiger Name, der Unlust weckt: das Elster-Formular.
A funny name that arouses displeasure: the Elster form. © Christin Klose/dpa

Why we shouldn’t think too long about what the tax office actually wants to tell us. The What’s That? Column

There it is again and still, the tax return. This time the one for 2021. To be handed in as an exception and as a result of Corona only until October 31, 2022, a grace period so to speak, if you do it yourself. So without a tax consultant.

There is no mercy with the many systems with abbreviations such as KAP, R, AUS, ESt 1 A, V and N. But there is help. Those are the explanations for the explanation. In principle, explanations for explanations, and well-intentioned ones at that – and urgently needed ones. In this jungle of vocabulary à la binding effect, protected old shares in investment funds, assignment form, culture tax, pre-financed insolvency money and donation presentation. A speech is different.

The word “explain” is also often used here. But that means something completely different from what the Germans understand by explaining: making something clear, explaining, communicating, justifying, interpreting. There are also combinations such as expressing solidarity or agreeing. And even declare someone dead.

For the helmsmen of our republic, explaining has a completely different meaning, even if the thick dictionaries and long texts on Google & Co. keep silent about it. Bad especially for those for whom German is neither mother nor father tongue. An example from the official information on the income tax return, a question for those who fill it out: “What should I do if I want to declare deviating data?” Well, what? How can such discrepancies be explained?

Here is the saving answer, just between us: There would be nothing to explain. At least not if you interpret the explanation the way all reference books do. But the tax authorities don’t go along with it. It all starts with the term “tax return”. You don’t declare the tax there. Rather, ticks are to be made and numbers given, mostly amounts in euros. But please don’t misunderstand the statement!

It’s not about bragging and flaunting, trying to make an impression and getting fat. Not another inappropriate interpretation. That’s not the case with taxes anyway. Specifying always means making a note or making an entry here – whether in the electronic variant with the beautiful name “Elster” or on the traditional pages. Very easily.

Is that explained correctly now?

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