Taxes on horses

Here we too would like to give some statement regarding the exasperating topic "horse taxes" (German only). As owners of quite a couple of horses we surely cannot affort not to care about it! And we do think that by all means we are not alone. What's it about?

Municipalities in Germany by law have the - quite appropriate - right to raise taxes. The kind and height of the taxes risen can vary for each municipality, they can individually control for themselves. As is widely known, municipalities are - for different reasons - chronically short of cash and therefor of course thoughts are being made how to flush additional money into the cash box. And since a fairy long time the idea of a "horse tax" haunts policy. Meanwhile there even exists an official sample blueprint of a statute that found its way into the net. You may take a look at it here (German only). As a rationale for the institution of such a tax is stated that the keeping of horses was a luxury, therefor horse owners had to be very well-heeled people, thus a tax on the luxury good "horse" was appropriate, and dog owners had to pay taxes for their animals as well. Let's take a closer look at this:

Impactions are getting closer: That way e. g. the municipality of Langenselbold currently planed the introduction of a horse tax, which you may read here (German only). The tax was requested by the SPD-fraction on the 21st of November 2011. Our immediate neighbor municipality Rödermark quite recently also considered the famous idea, refered amongst others here (German only). The request for examination of the introduction of the tax here was filed by the FDP - and therefor has been commented on badly by the SPD-fraction, quote „The FDP obviously has been kicked by a horse“. In Rödermark a tax is contemplated amounting to 100€/a for horses with a rigid measure below 150cm, and above 200€/a. In other towns there is talk about up to 750€/a each horse. And meanwhile the chronically indepted town Bad Sooden-Allendorf has created facts and as Germany's first municipality indeed introduced a horse tax.

What does this tell us? The following crosses our minds:

  • While in Rödermark the request of the FDP was commented on badly by the SPD, this party filed the very same request in Langenselbold - and of course does not comment badly on themselves! This makes us wonder which "line" is being followed by the individual parties? It's blowing hot and cold, obviously this is a farce and can be plausibly explained with political skirmish against the others only! For diversion this is slugged out on the back of the horse owners, whereas we cannot see any rational reasons.
  • The planned height scaling of the tax in Rödermark testifies the "requisite qualification" of the requesting fraction, whereas small horses surely do cost only the half the support and do sh... only half the amount of large ones!
  • "Requisite qualification" also shows the submitted argument, horse owner were very well-heeled. Uncontradictedly, surely there are people like that, but according to our experience most riders do scrimp and save their hobby, being a labor of love for animals, by surrendering other things, so do we.
  • The municipality Rödermark calculated yearly revenues of ca. 20.000€, so real "oodles" do accrue, especially in relation to the debts of the municipality Rödermark, which amount to 9.5 Mio € (with just under 28,000 inhabitants). When deducting the necessary administrative expenses from the estimated revenues, the city planed the introduction of a new nuisance tax (German only). What kind of strange fruit nuisance taxes can bring forth, you might see e. g. here* (German only), we save ourselves further commentings!
  • This is about - as was to be expected - a tax and not about a contribution. Unlike contributions taxes need not be used earmarked in Germany, therefor you may act on the assumption that the amout payed by the riders by no means will be used for the maintenance of bridle paths, or that the farmers and tenants of a shoot whose paths are being used will see a single cent of it. Rather some more crumbs are being scraped up to surrender them to the gravity of the budget gap.
  • And another thing shows the illogicality of the request: How does it collude that on the one hand riders may found a registered association for the exercise of their favorite activity - which of course is tax-exempt like any registered association in Germany - and on the other hand the horses kept for this activity are seized with an extraordinary tax? Why should riding be the only sport imposed with a tax - is it intended to make the Germans even fater than they already are (link in German)? How could it be that a sport whose therapeutical benefits are proven (to be read here, German only) is imposed with a tax? And why at all should such an old cultural asset as the keeping of horses - catchword e. g. Xenophon and his riding doctrine - be seized with a tax? And why on the contrary does Austria afford on public expenses(!) the world-famous Spanish Riding School, whose only purpose today is the fostering of the cultural heritage of the cavalry? Isn't the sole discussion about a municipal tax on horses against this background excruciatingly embarrasing?

What to do about it? The topic is quarreling through policy over and over since quite a while, and maybe someday time has come to approach things a bit more offensive on the part of the riders and horse owners and to bring home to the municipalities the "effectiveness" of such a tax a bit more drastically. Additionally it would be nice if this subject finally was out of favour one day and would not be broached over and over.

Should our city decide to introduce a horse tax, in the worst case we had to calculate with yearly additonal costs of 750€/horse. With our 9 horses# a sum which we simply couldn't cover. Now from different sides the fear has been uttered that the introduction of a horse tax would pave the way to the butcher for one or another horse. For our horses we of course do not want this, and other owners who are attached to their animals surely will feel the same. But to our mind comes to all intent and purposes a counteraction, and this we will present here in public, hoping the responsible persons will think it over:

If a municipality decides to introduce a tax on horses, it is asked to bear the resulting consequences in their whole completeness! If you put a horse into the sausage because it could no longer be funded, you get rid of it and it does not cause any follow-up costs. Well, so let's preclude that the horses are being put into the sausage! And because we cannot fund them any longer, we'll arrange that the municipality has to cater for the consequences of their tax and cannot duck out of it - completely legal! We'll do the following:

  • Have your horses - if not already done so - enregistered as "non-slaughterable" by the next vet. This can be done any time quickly and unbureaucratically, but cannot be revoked. non-slaughterable stays non-slaughterable.
  • Then you take your unfundable horses, bring them to the municipal animal shelter and give them off with the grounds "no more money" (Alternatively you could strikingly tie them up in front of the town-hall and give off their documents with the same reasons).
  • With it, now the municipality has the animals and the costs connected with it on their plate. And now they may calculate whether the additional revenue of the horse tax counterbalances the surging costs for the horses handed over and how much money of the longed for additional revenue stays in the coffers afterwards. They can try to sell the horses, but with especially young or old animals they will have a hard job to do and the more municipalities introduce such a tax the more flooded the horse market will be. And we saved or animals from the butcher, at least this we could do for them!
  • And of course we would regularly show up at the animal shelter of our choice and control wheteher the animals there are being kept species-appropriate! If not...

If you have any comments and remarks on this, or we oversaw anything which renders this idea counterproductive, please mail us!


* For those of you unable to read German: This article is about a tax on sex (sic)! The city of cologne (amongst other towns) imposed such a tax (nevertheless prostitution has been illegal for many years in Germany) and it of course has been on trial but found legal by the court. So if you're undertaking certain kind of actions in the red light district of Cologne, you will pay a tax on this! Unbelievable and ridiculous, right?

# To anticipate those coevals who now allege, with 9 horses we must be stinking rich: This is not the case, even if we of course are no wellfare receipients. In our open stable we do everything by ourselves and we buy in addition only what we cannot manufacture by ourselves (namely forage and if necessary construction material). For great leaps forward on other sectors there's not much left over. Who doesn't want to believe this may take a closer look at the final mileage of my car when a broken clutch finally knocked it out (these are kilometers, not imperial miles, but anyway):

Final mileage

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This page was last modified on 31/03/2013 from Sabine Brockamp