Skip to content

What will change in Germany in December 2023?

Important changes coming into effect December
Important changes coming into effect from December

Big changes are happening starting December 1, 2023. Lots of renters will get their utility bills in the last month of the year. Some prices for Deutsche Bahn will go up because of the new schedule – and that’s just one of the many things people living in Germany should get ready for in December 2023. People can also expect some new rules that will affect how they manage their money. It’s a good idea to pay attention to deadlines at the end of the year if you want to save money. Here’s a quick look at the important changes in Germany December 2023.

Important changes from December 1, 2023. Utility bills flow into mailboxes

Tenants are generally required to receive their utility bills for 2022 by December 31, or the landlord’s claims may be forfeited. However, alternative timelines could apply based on the specific contract terms. Tenant associations commonly recommend that tenants instantly review received utility bills and inquire with their landlord about any odd high amounts. In case of errors in the service charge statement, tenants can reach out to their local tenant association or seek assistance from a lawyer or tax advisor for a fee. Additionally, specialized companies dealing with extra costs can also provide support.

Electricity and gas tariffs

Electricity and gas prices will reduce for numerous users in December and January. This change will impact usres on basic supply tariffs, encompassing approximately a quarter of households. Consumer protection organizations advise usres to carefully compare offers before making decisions.
Read also: Germany’s new citizenship law: 10 key changes and their impact

Deutsche Bahn increases prices for flexi and Bahncard 25 tickets

The upcoming Deutsche Bahn timetable change, effective December 10, will bring about changes in ticket prices. Flexi tickets will see an average increase of 4.9% in cost. The Bahncard 25 will undergo a three-euro price hike, reaching €62.90 annually, and cardholders will enjoy a 25% discount on every booked rail journey. However, the Bahncard 50, which offers a 50% discount on single tickets, will maintain its current pricing.

Economy and super economy offers will remain constant, offering a limited number of more cheap tickets, albeit with specific train and cancellation restrictions. Supersaver ticket prices will start at €17.90, and after the timetable change, Cityticket, enabling the use of local transport at the origin or destination, will only be available with Flex tickets instead of Flex and Economy tariffs.

Deutsche Bahn timetable change

The updated prices will take effect with the timetable change on December 10. You can still book all journeys at the existing prices until December 9. Beyond just price changes, Deutsche Bahn will introduce numerous new connections starting from this date. The primary recepients of these additions will be ICE passengers traveling between Berlin and Bavaria, as well as those traveling along the Berlin-Hanover-NRW axis.
READ ALSO: Here’s how African refugees approaching their 6th year can get German citizenship

Labor dispute on the railway

In the wake of unsuccessful wage negotiations between the GDL train drivers’ union and Deutsche Bahn, passengers could encounter strikes in December. The GDL union has urged drivers, guards, and other employees of Germany’s state-owned railway operator, Deutsche Bahn, to go on strike from 10 p.m. on Wednesday to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Employing limited ‘warning strikes’ is a customary strategy in German pay negotiations. For those who wish to travel confidently by car during the Advent season, it is advisable to secure a rental car well in advance when planning your trip.

GDL is advocating for a monthly salary increase of 555 euros ($593) for employees, coupled with an additional payment of up to 3,000 euros ($3,257) to offset inflation. Additionally, the union is pushing for a reduction in working hours from 38 to 35 hours per week without a corresponding decrease in pay.

Mandatory insurance for self-propelled mowers

Soon, individuals desiring to use their riding lawn mowers on public roads beyond their private property will be required to obtain insurance. Mandatory insurance will be applicable to vehicles traveling within the speed range of 6 to 20 kilometers per hour, including forklifts or small tractors navigating public areas. The German government must implement the relevant EU directive by December 23.

Changing your car insuarance

Switching your car insurance can potentially lead to savings of several hundred euros per year. To make an informed decision, it is advisable to compare prices and services offered by various insurers, as recommended by the consumer advice center. For many policies, particularly older ones, the contract often concludes at the end of the calendar year, which is December 31. With a typical one-month notice period, the termination letter should reach the insurer by November 30 at the latest. However, some major insurers now align the insurance year with the car registration date.

Voluntary submission of a tax return for 2019

Opting to file your tax return voluntarily can be financially advantageous in various situations. According to Stiftung Warentest, the deadline for voluntarily submitting a tax return is quite lenient, and you may be eligible for a refund if the application is made to the tax office within four years of the end of the calendar year. Specifically, for the tax year 2019, the deadline for voluntary tax return application is December 31, 2023, by which the return must reach the tax office at the latest.