Since July 1, property owners in Germany have been asked to provide details of their houses, apartments and land for the purpose of recalculating property taxes. But the rush proved too much for the country’s online tax office, ELSTER, which quickly crashed over the weekend.
Property tax form rush causes ELSTER crash
“Due to the enormous interest in the property tax reform forms, there are currently restrictions on availability,” the tax service website explained on Sunday evening. “We are already working intensively to be able to provide you with the usual quality as quickly as possible.”
The apology came after several people complained that they could not access the website via the internet to submit their tax forms. Issues have also been reported with the Mein ELSTER and ElsterSmart application services.
The operator ruled out a possible hacker attack and said it was just technical issues caused by high demand. “Over the weekend, due to very high user demands of over 100,000 concurrent accesses, there were unfortunately temporary restrictions and disruptions for some users,” a spokesperson said. The ELSTER service was first developed in 1996 to facilitate and speed up interactions with the tax office.
Germany reforms property tax rates
Following a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court, Germany is currently in the process of a major overhaul of its property tax rates to make the system fairer, as it currently operates on property values calculated over 60 years ago. .
Millions of home, apartment and land owners are therefore being asked to file some kind of tax return before the end of October, detailing the size of their property, year of construction and its value.