Electricity Tax Act (Germany)

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Basic data
Title: Electricity Tax Act
Abbreviation: StromStG
Type: Federal law
Scope: Federal Republic of Germany
Legal matter: Tax law
References : 612-30
Issued on: March 24, 1999
( BGBl. I p. 378 , ber. 2000 I p. 147 )
Entry into force on: April 1, 1999
Last change by: Art. 207 VO of June 19, 2020
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1328, 1352 )
Effective date of the
last change:
June 27, 2020
(Art. 361 of June 19, 2020)
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The Electricity Tax Act (StromStG for short) regulates the taxation of the consumption of electricity through an electricity tax in Germany.

Electricity tax

The current tax was introduced as part of the 1999 "Law on the introduction of the ecological tax reform" ( " eco-tax "). The electricity tax is an indirect consumption tax that a) is incurred by the electricity supplier if electricity is drawn from the supply network by an end consumer, and b) for self-generators who draw electricity for self-consumption. Electricity suppliers pass the electricity tax on to the end consumer in the electricity price . The electricity tax has been 2.05 ct / kWh since 2003; There are reduced tax rates for various purposes (e.g. traction current, manufacturing industry). Companies in the manufacturing sector can also, under certain conditions, waive a large part of the electricity tax to be paid or have the electricity tax paid back (“peak compensation”).

The main customs offices are responsible for collecting the electricity tax . The federal government is entitled to their revenue as federal tax. In 2012, the tax revenue from electricity tax amounted to € 6.973 billion, in 2013 € 7.009 billion.


The electricity tax was introduced on April 1, 1999 in order to make energy more expensive through higher taxation (and thus to follow the example of other EU countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria) as well as to relieve the Social security contributors to reduce non-wage labor costs. Together with an increase in the mineral oil tax, it was part of the start of the ecological tax reform , which was supposed to make energy more expensive and work cheaper.

Approx. 90% of the income from the electricity tax goes into the pension fund. This made it possible to reduce the employee and employer share in the contributions to the pension insurance . In 1998 - before the introduction of the electricity tax - the employer's share was 10.15% (50% of the total contribution rate of 20.3%); Thanks to the income from the ecological tax (in addition to the electricity tax, a surcharge on the mineral oil tax), the contribution rate could be reduced to 19.5% on April 1, 1999 (and accordingly the employer's share to 9.75%, i.e. by 0.4%) . In 2013 the total contribution rate was 18.9%, the employer's contribution was therefore 9.45%.

Tax object and tax amount

Development of tax rates
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004-2006 2007-2014
Pf / kWh ct / kWh
Standard tax rate 2.0 2.5 3.0 1.79 2.05
reduced tax rate for:
• Night storage heating 1.0 1.25 1.5 0.9 1.23 full sentence
• Traction current / driving operations 1.0 1.25 1.5 0.9 1.02 1.142

The consumption of electricity is taxed in the German tax area (Federal Republic of Germany excluding Büsingen am Hochrhein and Helgoland ) ( § 1 StromStG). The administration is incumbent on the federal customs administration , the revenue is due to the federal government .

The regular tax rate since 2003 has been € 20.5 / MWh (corresponding to 2.05 ct / kWh) ( Section 3 StromStG). For the development of tax rates and examples of tax relief, see the overview on the right.

Tax debtor

The tax is always due if an end consumer draws electricity from a supplier located in the tax area from the supply network or if a self-generator draws electricity for self-consumption. In these cases, the tax debtor is the supplier or the self-generator ( § 5 StromStG). If consumers purchase electricity from a supplier who is not based in the tax area, the tax also arises from the consumption of electricity from the supply network, and the end consumer is liable for the tax ( Section 7 StromStG). The tax also arises if electricity is illegally taken from the supply network.

The term end consumer comes from the Energy Industry Act , end consumer is someone who takes electricity from the supply network and uses it for their own purposes, i.e. end customers. According to § 2 StromStG, a supplier is someone who provides electricity. The term perform is to be equated with “deliver”; typical suppliers are public utilities or energy supply companies.

Tax debtors must calculate their tax liability themselves and register (monthly or annually) with the main customs office (tax registration, § 8 StromStG). Electricity suppliers and self-generators generally require a permit from the main customs office ( Section 4 StromStG); unless the self-generator has a license as a supplier or the self-used electricity is exempt from electricity tax (see below, e.g. emergency power systems or electricity that is generated in systems with a nominal electrical output of up to 2 megawatts and in the " spatial connection "is consumed with the system).

Tax relief

Tax exemptions and tax reductions

The following are exempt from electricity tax ( Section 9 (1) StromStG):

  • Electricity from renewable energy sources , if it is taken from a network that is fed exclusively from such energy sources. Renewable energy sources in this sense are water and wind power , solar energy , geothermal energy , landfill gas , sewage gas and biomass .
  • Electricity for use in generating electricity. According to the definition, electricity is withdrawn for electricity generation when it is consumed in the ancillary and auxiliary systems of an electricity generation unit, in particular for water treatment , steam generator water supply, fresh air supply, fuel supply and flue gas cleaning or in pumped storage power plants by the pumps for conveying the storage media to generate electricity.
  • Electricity from systems with a nominal electrical output of up to 2 megawatts, if it is consumed by the system operator in a spatial context to the system.
  • Electricity that is generated in emergency power generators for temporary power supply.
  • Electricity that is generated on board ships or aircraft and consumed there.

A reduced tax rate (of 11.42 euros / MWh) applies in accordance with Section 9 (2) StromStG for rail transport and trolleybuses as well as in accordance with Section 9 (3) StromStG for the land-based power supply of (non-private) watercraft (tax rate of 0 , 50 euros / MWh).

Relief for companies in the manufacturing sector

Companies in the manufacturing sector can apply for a waiver or reimbursement of electricity tax for electricity drawn for certain processes and procedures; for electricity that was withdrawn for other purposes, in most cases a charge of 5.13 euros / MWh is granted on request (companies still pay 15.37 euros / MWh). Under certain conditions, a large part of this sum can be waived or reimbursed ("peak compensation"). According to § 2 StromStG, companies in the manufacturing industry to which these regulations apply are those that fall under Sections C (mining and quarrying of stones and earth), D (manufacturing industry), E (energy and water supply) or F (construction industry ) are to be assigned to the classification of economic sectors of the Federal Statistical Office, edition 2003 ( WZ 2003 ).

The discharge takes place with regard to the international competitiveness of the German economy.

Electricity for certain processes and procedures

According to § 9a StromStG, the tax on electricity that is withdrawn for certain energy-intensive processes and procedures is waived or reimbursed upon application. These processes or procedures include, for example:

  • electrolysis
  • Manufacture of glass, bricks, cement
  • Metal production and processing
  • chemical reduction processes.

The tax exemption for certain processes and procedures was used by around 5,000 companies in 2014.

Tax relief for companies

According to § 9b StromStG, companies in the manufacturing industry and companies in agriculture and forestry are granted a reduction of € 5.13 per megawatt hour to € 15.37 per megawatt hour for electricity used on application, provided that a base amount of € 250 is exceeded.

In 2014, almost 53,000 companies took advantage of the discount for the manufacturing sector.

Peak compensation

There is also the peak compensation in the Energy Tax Act .

Relief through peak compensation

According to § 10 StromStG, companies in the manufacturing industry can benefit from the so-called peak compensation under certain conditions. In doing so, the company can be waived or reimbursed the remaining tax burden after the application of § 9b StromStG. This “relief in special cases” (the so-called peak compensation) is only granted if the tax burden exceeds € 1,000 per calendar year (deductible / base amount). The amount of the relief depends on the difference in the electricity tax, which goes beyond the base amount, and the (fictitious) relief that results from the fact that the pension insurance contributions have fallen since the introduction of the electricity tax (for general pension insurance from 20.3% before it was introduced the electricity tax to currently 18.9%; with an employer's contribution of 50%, this means a reduction of 0.7% for employers in 2013; the "difference"). A maximum of 90% of this difference will be waived, reimbursed or remunerated. This calculation formula means that companies with high electricity consumption and few employees (subject to pension insurance) benefit particularly from the peak compensation.

tax € 12,505.00
./. Base amount 0€ 1,000.00
Subtotal € 11,505.00
./. Difference between employers' contribution and general
pension insurance (0.7% of € 500,000)
0€ 3,500.00
Tax exceeds the difference by 0€ 8,005.00
90% of which (= reimbursement amount) 0€ 7,204.50

Example for the calculation: A manufacturing company pays 12,505 euros in electricity tax in 2013 (the reimbursement according to § 9b StromStG has already been deducted). The company employs 20 people and pays a pension-insured salary of € 500,000 for them. The company applies for a refund of the electricity tax in accordance with Section 10 of the Electricity Tax Act. The amount to be reimbursed is calculated according to the overview below.

The applications must be submitted to the main customs office in whose district the applicant has his place of business or residence.

In 2014, around 29,500 companies made use of the peak compensation.

The Federal Government's determination in accordance with Section 10 (3) No. 2 of the Electricity Tax Act was announced at the end of 2019 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 2941 ).

New regulation from 2013

On November 9, 2012, the Bundestag passed a law amending the Energy Tax and Electricity Tax Act. The background to the new regulation was, on the one hand, the need to meet the requirement of the European Commission to demand a consideration from the beneficiary companies for granting the tax relief. The necessary extension of the state aid approval of this tax relief, which expired at the end of 2012, was only possible under this condition. On the other hand, the federal government is implementing the announcement made in its energy concept from 2010 that it will exploit the efficiency potential in industry by linking tax breaks with the introduction of energy management systems.

Companies that want to take advantage of the peak compensation are therefore required to provide services in return for increasing energy efficiency. On the one hand, companies must have a certified energy management system according to ISO 50001 or a registered environmental management system according to EMAS ; Notwithstanding this, small and medium-sized companies within the meaning of Recommendation 2003/361 / EC of the European Commission can also operate alternative systems for improving energy efficiency that require less compliance effort: These must either meet the requirements of the DIN EN 16247-1 standard or meet the requirements Annex 2 of the "Ordinance on systems for improving energy efficiency in connection with the relief from energy and electricity tax in special cases ( Peak Compensation Efficiency System Ordinance - SpaEfV)", which specifies the Energy and Electricity Tax Act .

For the application years 2013 and 2014, a transitional regulation still applies, according to which companies only have to prove when submitting the application that they have started to introduce such a management system. The requirements for verification are also regulated in the Peak Adjustment Efficiency System Ordinance. A “horizontal approach” or a “vertical approach” can be chosen for the introduction. With the “horizontal approach”, the management system must cover 25 percent of total energy consumption in 2013 and 60 percent in 2014. With the “vertical approach”, in 2013 a small part of the requirements from the standard or regulation, in 2014 a larger part of the requirements must be met. The fulfillment of the requirements must be proven by a certificate from an accredited certifier or an environmental expert.

From 2015, the granting and the amount of the peak compensation also depend on whether the manufacturing industry in Germany as a whole achieves the 1.3 percent annual increase in energy efficiency agreed between the federal government and German industry. For this purpose, the improvement in energy efficiency across all companies concerned will be determined in an annual report from 2015 and published by the federal government in the Federal Law Gazette. If the goal is not achieved, the peak compensation decreases or can be omitted entirely.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Archived copy ( Memento of the original from April 14, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Emergence of environmental taxes @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.umweltbundesamt.de
  2. ^ Draft of a law for the entry into the ecological tax reform. (PDF; 108 kB). Printed matter 14/40 of the Bundestag; Retrieved July 4, 2013.
  3. a b B. Khazzoum et al .: Energy and Taxes: Energy and Electricity Tax Law in Practice . Gabler-Verlag, 2011, ISBN 978-3-8349-2272-4 .
  4. a b c IHK Lippe zu Detmold: Information sheet on energy and electricity tax ( memento of the original dated November 19, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 328 kB). As of November 2015, accessed November 19, 2015 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.detmold.ihk.de
  5. Draft law of the federal government - Draft of a second law to amend the Energy Tax and Electricity Tax Act (PDF; 324 kB). Printed matter 17/10744 of the Bundestag; Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  6. Energy Concept of the Federal Government of October 28, 2010 ( Memento of the original of December 14, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 2.4 MB). Retrieved November 23, 2012. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.bmu.de
  7. Recommendation of the Commission of 6 May 2003 on the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises . (PDF) Retrieved November 23, 2012.