Everything that changes in October 2023 in Germany
As we welcome October 2023, Germany prepares for a series of changes that will affect its residents. From financial adjustments to shifts in daily routines, here’s a comprehensive overview of what’s on everything that changes in October 2023 in Germany.
1. Heating Cost Subsidy Expires
The heating cost subsidy (Heizkostenzuschuss) for those heating with wood, oil, or other “non-conducted fuels” will expire at the end of this month. However, if you act quickly and apply by October 20th, you could still receive up to €2,000 from the government’s budget. Remember, these subsidies are limited, so don’t delay. Note that if you use gas or district heating, you won’t be eligible. To check eligibility and apply, visit the federal fuel assistance office (Brennstoffhilfe). If you reside in Bavaria, Berlin, or North Rhine-Westphalia, remember that you should apply at the state level, not federal.
2. Tax Return Deadline
For those who need to file a tax return for 2022 without the assistance of a tax advisor or association, the deadline is approaching fast. Your Steuererklärung tax return must be submitted to the tax office by October 2nd, with Monday designated as the final day due to September 30th falling on a Saturday.
3. Cheaper Gas Prices
Starting on October 1st, consumers can expect relief as gas prices are set to become more affordable. They will reduce both the control energy levy and conversion levy to zero cents per kWh, resulting in significant savings for households with various consumption levels. However, these reduced rates will apply only to new contracts, so consider shopping around for the best deal.
4. Higher Interest Rates for Student Loans
Beginning October 1st, students financing their education with loans should be prepared for higher interest rates, surpassing eight percent. This increase is tied to the Euribor interest rate, impacting KfW student loans as well.
5. Deutsche Bahn Ticket System Change
Deutsche Bahn is changing its ticket system, now requiring customers to provide a mobile phone number or email address when purchasing long-distance savings tickets through travel centers or agencies. This alteration aims to enhance communication with customers regarding journey updates.
6. WhatsApp Compatibility
WhatsApp users with older mobile phone models must be aware of significant changes as the service will cease to work on these devices starting in October 2023. Ensure your device runs at least Android version 5.0 to continue using the messenger.
7. Sick Leave Regulations
Sick leave by telephone, introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic, is set to become a permanent feature from October 1st. Patients can call their doctor’s office to obtain a sick note under specific conditions, primarily for minor illnesses.
8. Closure of Binding Brewery
After over 150 years of operation, the historic Binding brewery in Frankfurt will close its production facilities and bottling plants by the end of October due to rising costs for raw materials, energy, and logistics. However, the Radeberger Group’s headquarters, to which Binding belongs, will remain in Frankfurt.
9. State Elections in Bavaria and Hesse
Two significant state elections in Bavaria and Hesse on October 8th could lead to changes in German politics. The governing “traffic-light” parties face challenges, while the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) may gain momentum.
10. More Trains to Zurich
Travel enthusiasts will have increased access to Zurich as 13 daily trains from Stuttgart, up from 8 previously, will connect the two cities, thanks to a timetable change. More cross-border services and night trains are expected in December.
11. Lidl’s Beef Purchasing Conditions
Lidl is changing its beef purchasing conditions. It will soon only offer beef from husbandry forms 3 or 4, which provide slightly better conditions for animals. Expect 1.5 to 4 square meters per cow and the availability of a year-round yard. Dehorning of calves will remain permitted.
12. Credit Card Fees Increase
Paying with VISA and Mastercard credit cards will become more expensive due to increased fees for merchants, which could potentially lead to higher product costs for customers. Consider using debit cards, Giro/EC cards, or cash for everyday purchases.
13. Daylight Saving Time Ends
On a lighter note, we will end daylight saving time, and we will set the clocks back from 3 am to 2 am during a Saturday to Sunday transition. Although discussions about abolishing seasonal clock changes in Germany and the EU persist, people welcome this extra hour of sleep.
As October unfolds, be sure to stay informed and adapt to these changes for a smoother transition into the new month in Germany.
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