NewsThe king's new taxes

The king's new taxes

Thailand’s monarch resides on Lake Starnberg, but he doesn’t pay a cent in taxes. Tutzing’s council wants to change that.

At some point it was enough for Stefanie Knittl. Thailand’s King Rama X has lived with his entourage in a luxury villa in Tutzing for years – and doesn’t pay a cent in second home tax? He apparently rules his country from the posh Starnberger See in a controversial and authoritarian way – but nobody wants to officially confirm his existence in Bavaria and his villa ownership?

And so Knittl, the only SPD councilor in Tutzing, asked about it at the previous meeting. It is “scandalous” that the administration does not provide any information and is “put off with the argument of tax secrecy”. After all, a lot of money is at stake; we are talking about a higher six-digit euro amount.

The king, whose name is Maha Vajiralongkorn, and his love for Upper Bavaria – that is a tiresome story for the administrations, the citizens, the state. The 69-year-old is described as “eccentric”; with an estimated fortune of around 60 billion euros, he is the richest monarch in the world. In 2018 he obviously bought the “Villa Stolberg” on Hauptstrasse in Tutzing with lake access. The municipal administration doesn’t even mention the name of the listed building. Here one speaks only of the “special object”. On the other hand, the exact address of the property can be found on the Internet with just a few clicks.

At the meeting, Stefanie Knittl persisted, insisting that the king’s treatment “violated tax equality”. And so the administration agreed to have an appraisal of the value of the villa drawn up at the beginning of the new year in order to be able to collect the second home tax on February 1st, also retrospectively until 2018. “Normal citizens will receive their tax assessment in a few days”, says Knittl. Now it could be that Rama X. will have to pay for the first time.

In addition to Tutzing, the monarch also regularly spends his time in a luxury hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which he rents in full for his stays. This only became known through Corona. Because some asked themselves how the hotel could be rented if there is a tourist accommodation ban in the lockdown. The district office decided, spokesman Stephan Scharf told this newspaper, that the Thai entourage did not stay on the edge of the Alps for vacation purposes, but that the king works from there. Otherwise you are locked like an oyster at the district office. How often the king stays in Garmisch in the Grandhotel Sonnenbichl, the spokesman does not want to know. Scharf is also unknown whether he is currently there. “That is higher politics, a federal matter.”

100,000 euros a year are missing

The federal government has apparently recognized the problem. According to German law, a foreign politician or statesman is prohibited from doing his job in this country if he is in breach of German law. But Rama X. signs death sentences or imposes draconian prison terms for lese majesty. Amnesty International and other organizations have reported countless reports of massive human rights violations in the Asian country.

The new Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) is now increasing the pressure on the monarch. In this case, the Foreign Office reports in an unusually undiplomatic manner: “We are assuming that no decisions will be made by their representatives on German soil that contradict the German legal system, international law or internationally documented human rights.”

Lucie Vorlickova from the “Tutzinger List” association has been dealing with the king and taxes for a long time. Letters to the municipal administration usually go unanswered according to their presentation. Vorlickova has researched the amount of previously lost taxes and asked realtors. As a result, the rent for such a luxury property is 30 to 50 euros per square meter per month.

These houses are in great demand, and money is not an issue for those who are potentially willing to rent or buy. The villa has 1400 square meters of living space, so the annual rent could be up to 840,000 euros. Twelve percent of this has to be taxed annually, that would be around 100,000 euros. From 2018 to 2022 you would have a tax liability of 500,000 euros. Do Tutzing Mayor Marlene Greinwald (Free Voters) and the local government see it that way too? There was no response to two inquiries from this newspaper.

At the moment, the king is apparently not in his Tutzing villa. There are reports that the king no longer wants to return to Bavaria. In the village, however, there is a rumor that the poodle fool is just on the way to the hotel with 30 dogs in tow and some works of art in his luggage.

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