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Changes related to electricity tax relief from 2024

Through the 2024 German Budget Financing Act, which came into force on 1.1.2024, lawmakers approved changes related to the electricity tax and significantly broadened the scope of application of electricity tax relief in accordance with Section 9b of the Electricity Taxation Act (Stromsteuergesetz, StromStG). As a consequence, a great number of businesses could receive electricity tax relief in 2024 – in some cases for the first time. The requirements as well as the application process for this electricity tax relief are discussed in more detail in the following section.

Businesses entitled to relief

Section 9b StromStG basically provides for relief from electricity tax for companies that draw electricity from the grid for business purposes. Those entitled to relief are not only agricultural and forestry businesses but notably also companies in the producing sector. The benefiting group of businesses likewise includes, apart from the manufacturing industry (primarily production enterprises, processing enterprises or building and construction service companies), for example, energy and water utility companies as well as businesses in the construction sector. Further details on this have been laid down in the Classification of Economic Activities, issue 2003 (WZ 2003) published by the Federal Statistics Office and there mainly in sections C to F. 

Please note: By contrast, the wholesale and retail sector as well as the hospitality industry have been notably excluded here from the possibility of obtaining tax relief. 

Amount of relief and minimum power consumption

In the wake of the new legal provision, the previous rate of relief under Section 9b StromStG has been quadrupled from €5.13/MWh previously to €20.00/MWh. The remaining electricity tax in accordance with Section 9b StromStG will thus fall to the level of the EU minimum tax rate of €0.50/MWh. 

The tax relief will continue to be granted only insofar as it exceeds €250. This means that the minimum annual level of power consumption that businesses will need in order to claim the relief under Section 9b StromStG will come down from about 49 MWh (€250 / €5.13/MWh) currently to just 12.5 MWh (€250 / €20/MWh) in the future. As a consequence, considerably more businesses than up to now will be able to benefit from the tax relief. 

Please note: The minimum level of power consumption shall be determined on the basis of the in-house use of each individual business; therefore, there will be no assessments made for multi-corporate enterprises or groups of companies.

Filing the application

Electricity tax relief will only be granted when an application is filed with the competent principal customs office. There is no charge for filing an application. Businesses whose amount of relief after deducting a €250 excess does not exceed an (expected) annual amount of €1,000 will only be able to file an application once in a calendar year. Put simply, this will apply to all businesses with a quantity of electricity of between 12.5 MWh and 50 MWh per year that is eligible for relief. For the 2024 calendar year, the application has to be filed by the 31.12.2025 at the very latest.

The relevant form for the application is number 1453 and this can be downloaded and filled in online on the German Customs website at www.zoll.de. In addition, form 1139 (State aid self-declaration) and form 1402 (Description of the economic activities) have to be submitted with the application in any case.

In 2024 and 2025, businesses that have a quantity of electricity, which is eligible for relief, of more than 50 MWh will however be able to claim relief under Section 9b StromStG also throughout the year (depending on the preconditions, half-yearly, quarterly or monthly). This means that already in the course of 2024 this would result in a reduction in the regular electricity costs and, thus, greater liquidity in the business. 

Recommendation: Therefore, the businesses concerned should review the economic viability of electricity tax relief throughout the year on the basis of calculations. 

Form 1453 adjusted for the option of tax relief throughout the year should be available for downloading on the German Customs website as of February 2024.

Please note: The broader scope of application under Section 9b StromStG will initially only be valid for 2024 and 2025.

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