Reich flight tax
The Reich Flight Tax was introduced on December 8, 1931 with the “Fourth [Emergency] Ordinance of the Reich President for Securing Economy and Finances and for the Protection of Internal Peace” (RGBl. 1931 I, pp. 699-745) in order to curb capital flight . The Reichsfluchtsteuer (Reich Flight Tax ) was due upon giving up domestic residence if the assets exceeded 200,000 Reichsmarks (ℛℳ) or the annual income was more than ℛℳ 20,000. The tax rate was set at 25 percent of the taxpayer's assets.
During the time of National Socialism , the assessment bases of the Reich Flight Tax were changed considerably. It also no longer primarily served the original purpose of preventing wealthy German citizens from moving abroad. Rather, the emigration of Jewish citizens - even after the beginning of the war in 1939 - was quite desirable and was forced by the persecution of the Jews . It was not until October 23, 1941 that Heinrich Himmler's decree prohibited emigration. After 1933, the Reich Flight Tax was instrumentalized for the purpose of plundering the Jews and thus assumed the “function of partial expropriation” of the Jewish emigrants who had decided to flee their homeland due to the pressure of persecution.
The 1929 by the United States outbound global economic crisis led to credit terminations international donors. In 1931 Germany had around ℛℳ 24 billion in foreign debts and had to repay around ℛℳ 5.25 billion in foreign currency in the first half of the year alone. The German government restricted the free movement of capital and implemented restrictions on foreign exchange . In addition, she was forced to adopt a drastic austerity policy and increased income tax. With these measures it triggered a strong flight of capital abroad. Wealthy people who wanted to emigrate and who were in danger of defaulting as taxpayers were supposed to be deterred from their plans by the Reich flight tax, thereby protecting the Reichsmark.
The idea of proving the tax-saving relocation abroad as an "unpatriotic desertion" with an exit tax was not new. As early as 1918, the German government had passed a “law against tax evasion” (RGBl. I, p. 951); this was repealed in 1925.
Ordinance of December 8, 1931
The Reich Flight Tax was just one of many other measures that were legally regulated in the “Fourth Ordinance of the Reich President for Securing the Economy and Finances and for the Protection of Internal Peace”: It also concerned price and interest rate reductions, housing, social insurance, and labor law Regulations, securing the budget and lowering wages, as well as a ban on uniforms and measures against the abuse of weapons
As a temporary "measure for capital and tax flight", people who were citizens of the German Reich on March 31, 1931 and who had moved or would move their domicile or habitual abode abroad from this point in time to January 1, 1933, should pay a Reich flight tax if they have taxable assets of more than 200,000 Reichsmarks or an annual income of over 20 20,000. The tax rate was set at 25% of total assets. For persons who had given up their domestic domicile or habitual residence between March 31, 1931 and the entry into force of the Reich Flight Tax, the tax was applied retrospectively, for other taxpayers with departure. A separate tax assessment was only issued upon request. The most recent wealth tax assessment with the addition of certain company shares and benefits due to death was decisive . In the event of non-payment when due, drastic surcharges were levied for every half month or part thereof after the due date, amounting to 5 percent of the outstanding amount. Foreign officials and their families, persons who only established their domicile or habitual abode in Germany after December 31, 1927, or persons for whom the state tax office has certified that moving out of Germany was in the German interest or economically viable were exempt from the Reich flight tax justify it. For repentant emigrants who took up residence or habitual abode in Germany no later than two months after the tax was incurred, the tax and surcharges were retrospectively withdrawn. Linked to the return was the legal fiction that within the five years following the return the taxpayer was subject to unlimited tax liability in Germany , even if he moved abroad. If a significant part of the property of the returned tax debtor was abroad, the tax authorities could demand security for the income and property tax to be set up in Germany for the next five years.
Taxpayers who sought to evade this levy were threatened with imprisonment for no less than three months and an unlimited amount of fines. You should be advertised for arrest by name with a "tax profile" published in the Reichsanzeiger and arrested if you are visiting Germany. Your domestic assets were confiscated as security for the outstanding flight tax, surcharges, fines and costs. All domestic and domestic companies were also prohibited from making payments or other services to the taxpayer. Persons or companies that were debtors of the taxpayer had to notify the tax office of the claims and other claims due to the taxpayer. If a third party made a payment to the taxpayer, he was only released from the obligation to pay to the Reich if he was in good faith.
The law was supposed to expire at the end of 1932, but was extended to December 31, 1934 in 1932 (RGBl. I, p. 572).
Interaction with foreign exchange management
The proper payment of the Reichsfluchtsteuer by the taxpayer did not result in the taxpayer's assets remaining in the country after the Reichsfluchtsteuer was paid due to the foreign exchange management introduced on August 1, 1931 by the Ordinance of the Reich President on Foreign Exchange Management (RGBl. 1931, 421) was allowed to transfer abroad. The transfer was subject to approval and could only Sperrmark accounts of the German Golddiskontbank or special foreign trade banks done.
The existing ordinance on the Reich Flight Tax was significantly changed with the "Law on Changes to the Regulations on the Reich Flight Tax" of May 18, 1934 (RGBl. 1934 I, pp. 392–393). It was extended six times during the National Socialist era . December 1942 (RGBl. I, p. 682) continued indefinitely.
A major change was that in 1934 the property limit was reduced from 200,000 Reichsmarks to 50,000 Reichsmarks. In addition, the assessment bases were changed to the detriment of the emigrants. A far larger group of people was thus affected by the compulsory levy. The Reich Flight Tax, which was originally aimed at those who moved abroad voluntarily and in order to reduce their own tax burden, now mainly affected Jews who wanted to leave their home country due to violence, concentration camp imprisonment and impairment of their gainful employment (up to and including a ban on employment) or had to.
Before 1933 the tax revenue from the Reich flight tax was of little significance; in the second accounting year it was only just under 1 million Reichsmarks. With the start of the refugee movement initiated by terror, the Reich flight tax became a significant part of the Reich budget. In total, the Nazi state collected 941 million Reichsmarks through the flight tax. According to estimates, more than 90% of this amount comes from emigrants who were persecuted for racial ideology.
|Survey period||Tax revenue in ℛℳ|
A “clearance certificate” from the tax office, with which the payment of the Reich flight tax and other taxes was confirmed, was the prerequisite for legal permanent departure. If there was any suspicion of an intention to leave the country, the foreign exchange offices of the tax offices were able to demand a security deposit equal to the estimated amount of the Reich flight tax from 1934. A close-knit network was created in order to be able to uncover intentions to flee: The Reichspost reported forwarding orders from Jews, freight forwarders were supposed to report moves, notaries reported property sales and life insurance companies reported requested repurchases . Post and telephone surveillance of individual suspects was agreed with the Gestapo .
The payment of the Reichsfluchtsteuer was not linked to the fact that other assets and possessions could be taken into exile. The exemption limit for foreign currency was set at 10 Reichsmarks in 1934. Bank and securities balances were transferred to blocked accounts and could only be transferred abroad at high discounts . A so-called Dego tax had to be paid to the Deutsche Golddiskontbank for removal goods that were purchased after January 1, 1933 .
The regulations on the Reich Flight Tax were repealed by the "Law to Repeal Obsolete Tax Regulations" of July 23, 1953 (BStBl. 1953 I p. 276). An alternative draft law against capital flight, which was controversial in the cabinet, was not tabled in the Bundestag, since all measures that could be taken against capital flight were already contained in Law No. 53 of the British and American military governments, other regulations and numerous individual provisions on foreign exchange control .
In 1973 the Foreign Tax Act was introduced, which aims to prevent or make more difficult the shifting of income or assets abroad and the resulting reduction in domestic tax revenue.
The American Military Government Act No. 59 of 1947, which was relevant for the western zones of occupation, stipulated in Article 19 that the Reich flight tax was to be reimbursed insofar as it could be traced back to persecution-related emigration. The Federal Compensation Act (BEG, version of September 18, 1953) provided for maximum amounts and unfavorable conversion formulas in Section 21. In the BEG of 1956/1957 this limitation in § 59 was lifted and the Reich flight tax as well as the Jewish property tax were refunded.
- Dego levy
- Emigration tax
- Blocking mark
- Law against treason of the German economy
- Tax Adjustment Act of 1934
- Home purchase contract
- Action 3
- Ha'avara Agreement
- Martin Friedenberger, Karl-Dieter Gössel, Eberhard Schönknecht (eds.): The realm finance administration in the national socialism. Presentation and documents (= publications of the House of the Wannsee Conference Memorial and Education Center. Volume 1). Edition Temmen, Bremen 2002, ISBN 3-86108-377-9 .
- Martin Friedenberger: Fiscal plundering. The Berlin tax and financial administration and the Jewish population 1933–1945 (= Center for Research on Antisemitism. Series of Documents, Texts, Materials. Volume 69). Metropol Verlag, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-938690-86-4 (also: Technische Universität Berlin, dissertation, 2007).
- Dorothee Mußgnug: The Reich Flight Tax. 1931–1953 (= writings on legal history. Volume 60). Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-428-07604-4 .
- Enactment of the Reich Flight Tax in the Reich Law Gazette 1931 (later repeatedly extended)
- Martin Friedenberger et al. (Ed.): The Reich Finance Administration in National Socialism. 2002, p. 12.
- Gaby Zürn: Forced Emigration and Expropriation 1933 to 1941 - Examples of Hamburg Jews. In: Arno Herzig (Ed.): The Jews in Hamburg from 1590 to 1990. Volume 2: Scientific contributions from the University of Hamburg to the exhibition Four hundred years of Jews in Hamburg. Dölling and Galitz, Hamburg 1991, ISBN 3-926174-25-0 , pp. 487-497, here p. 489.
- Christoph Franke: The role of the foreign exchange offices in the expropriation of the Jews. In: Katharina Stengel (ed.): Before the destruction. The state expropriation of the Jews under National Socialism (= scientific series of the Fritz Bauer Institute. Volume 15). Campus-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main u. a. 2007, ISBN 978-3-593-38371-2 , pp. 80-93, here p. 80.
- Susanne Meinl , Jutta Zwilling: Legalized robbery. The plundering of the Jews under National Socialism by the Reich Finance Administration in Hesse (= scientific series of the Fritz Bauer Institute. Volume 10). Campus-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main u. a. 2004, ISBN 3-593-37612-1 , p. 40.
- Dorothee Mußgnug: The Reich flight tax. 1993.
- RGBl. I, p. 572 . alex.onb.ac.at. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
- RGBl. 1934 I, pp. 392-393 . alex.onb.ac.at. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
- Dorothee Mußgnug: The Reich flight tax. 1993, p. 33.
- on purchasing power see Reichsmark
- Details from Susanne Meinl, Jutta Zwilling: Legalized robbery. The plundering of the Jews under National Socialism by the Reich Finance Administration in Hesse (= scientific series of the Fritz Bauer Institute. Volume 10). Campus-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main u. a. 2004, ISBN 3-593-37612-1 , p. 299.
- Martin Friedenberger et al. (Ed.): The Reich Finance Administration in National Socialism. 2002, p. 13 and doc.p. 30.
- Martin Friedenberger et al. (Ed.): The Reich Finance Administration in National Socialism. 2002, p. 13.
- Raul Hilberg: The Destruction of European Jews , Volume 1, Fischer Verlag 1982, ISBN 3-596-24417-X , pp. 106ff
- Martin Friedenberger et al. (Ed.): The Reich Finance Administration in National Socialism. 2002, p. 14.
- Federal Archives and Federal Archives 249th Cabinet meeting on September 23, 1952
- Dorothee Mußgnug: The Reich flight tax. P. 65 f.