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HomeBusiness & MoneyFinance is now demanding 500 euros back from tens of thousands

Finance is now demanding 500 euros back from tens of thousands

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The tax authorities want up to 500 euros per nose back from tens of thousands of pensioners. They were mistakenly paid the 2022 cost-of-living compensation twice.

Tens of thousands of primarily low-income earners now have to pay back up to 500 euros. (Symbolic image)
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Currently, tens of thousands of pensioners throughout Austria are being confronted by the authorities with bad news: the tax authorities want money back from them! It is about up to 500 euros per nose, which those affected are to pay back. The unsightly mail not only makes heads spin, but also makes the telephone lines of the Chamber of Labour glow with all the worried inquiries.

“The communication of the Ministry of Finance could not be worse,” criticized one of those affected to the “Kleine Zeitung“, which reported on the case on Friday. Because just because of the notice, “you don’t know what happened at all”.

Background to the debacle: The income tax assessments for 2022 of a considerable part of domestic pensioners are being reopened because a breakdown was noticed retrospectively. During the period in question, many pensioners unknowingly received double the inflation tax credit decided by the government. According to the Ministry of Finance, 36,000 such cases are currently known.

New bonus – these people will now receive 750 euros

The government’s confusing cash bonus snap shots in the fight against inflation apparently became a stumbling block for the finance industry itself.

This is how the breakdown happened

With the anti-inflation package against dizzying inflation, a one-off inflation deduction of up to 2022 euros was introduced for 500, which was primarily intended to relieve employees and pensioners with low incomes. Taxpayers should automatically receive the money through the employee assessment, i.e. the tax equalization.

But then the government rushed ahead and brought forward the one-off payment for pensioners and had it distributed via the PVA pension insurance institution as early as September 2022.

And suddenly, there was a two-pronged approach, reports the “Kleine”: Pensioners who made their income tax adjustment for the previous year in spring 2023 were automatically mistakenly awarded the tax deduction a second time by the tax authority because the corresponding data had not yet been fully registered in the IT system behind it. It was only when the corrected annual pay slips were received that the glitch was discovered.

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Money must be repaid

“The authority has to roll this up ex officio,” says tax expert Bernhard Koller from the Styrian Chamber of Labour. Although the approach of the finance department is unpleasant, it is legally in order. Those affected could file an appeal, but in practice would have no chance of getting away with it. The money must be repaid, according to the AK, whose own hands are tied.

But it’s not all bad, says Koller: “The only advantage of reopening the procedure is that you could still deduct something from your tax if you forgot something.

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