Massive kindergarten bill .. help

12 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi, i wonder if anyone can advise me in this pretty horrendous situation i find myself in.

I moved her 6 years ago from uk, my daughter is 5 and has been at kita for around 4 years.

in the rush of signing up for the kita / relocating / running my own small business / marriage breakdown blah blah .. i realise now i had not been paying for the kindergarten.

out of the blue i've just got a bill for €7500 from the finanzampt for Kindergarten for 2008 - 2010 .. !

seems crazy, but i assumed that it was being taken care of.. either being billed for kindergarten along with all the other monthly deductions and tax installments or that it was free.

this seems silly now that im in this situation, but i have never to my knowledge received any paperwork about the kindergarden payments apart from when i signed a load of papers when we first joined the kita.

No one ever told me that i'd need to go to some office to submit how much i earn in order to pay for the Kindergarden.

Of course... i shoulda coulda spotted this, but it wasnt .. my finances are a little messy .. as i guess it can often be when you run a busy little company.. lots coming in.. lots going out.. etc.

Also, the kindergarden bills are earnings / tax relative, so i sort of assumed that they just figure it out.. they have the information.. they can bill me if needed.. right..?

i've had my accountant send letters to the finanzampt appealing this lump sum demand but had NOTHING back from them, cant get anyone on the phone, so im worried that they are going to start legal proceedings or something heavy. I do not mind paying my way at all (pay all my taxes etc etc) but this lump sum .. which could be as much as €11k to get full up to day (end of 2012) is pretty much going to bankrupt me.

im wondering if my using a solicitor is going to get anywhere .. or if anyone has any advise ..

thanks.

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Posted

You need to engage the Finanzamt staff, and I can tell you from experience they will co-operate. They want all the paperwork to be correct, soif there are errors, they will assist.

I don't think you need a lawyer, more you and your steuerberater should set up a meeting with the person whose name and phone number is on the letter.

For sure if youmhave not being making the payments, you will have to do soin retrospet, but I,would expect the Finanzamt t oagree a payment plan, and your

steuerberate should really be able to sort out the figures and details based on your Steuereklarung documents for the relevant years.

Note also if you we not making the payments, maybe also the figures are not corret, and itis possible the Finanzamt have calculated based on maximum

payments, which may not apply to you, especially if you did not have your tax returns done by a professional.

I have experience dealing with the Finanzamt, and winning against them when they were sure they were right, but once you keep pushing and show

the right figures in the right format, they will climb down - but the key is THE RIGHT PAPERWORK - that is what they want - and things can be applied restospectively,

I,think up to 6 years, but others on this forum can confirm that better than me.

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Posted

Why is the Finanzamt sending bills for the Kindergarten? When our kids went to Kindergarten we paid them directly IIRC.

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Posted

they can bill me if needed.. right..?

well, this is just what they did.

At first, you don't need to panic. There are different branches at the finanzamt, and due to privacy concerns are not allowed to randomly mix databases.

So you still have to check if you can get the Kita fees reduced retroactively on one side, and you can retroactively also claim the costs against your taxes.

Also don't forget these are Beamte, and thay are already deep into Weihnacht holiday. Don't expect too much over the phone. first step is to acknowledge by registered letter, and ask for reevaluation.

good luck

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Posted

If you think you didn't pay for 4 years that's about €156/month which, though expensive, doesn't sound unrealistic.

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Posted

Hello you hellome,

welcome to Toytown.

If, by your accountant you mean a Steuerberater then that person should surely be the best qualified to maintain contact with, and advise you on matters relating to, the Finanzamt.

I'm not sure what a solicitor can do for you at this stage, nor do I understand how you can contemplate the idea of using one whilst claiming you're at risk of facing bankruptcy.

By your own admission your management of finances sounds chaotic so I don't think your situation is one that anybody on an internet board is likely to be able to advise you on.

However you are by no means the first person to feel overwhelmed by such problems. (Having been in that position, I know this to be true!)

Fortunately there are places you can go and people you can turn to for help. Schuldenberatung+Berlin are the words to google. Some are run by church supported organisations others are union supported or run by other types of non-religious groups. You should choose the most convenient one to you and make an appointment on Monday, although I expect you may have to have to wait until January as they are likely to be very busy in Berlin. Meantime prepare yourself for the appointment by making a list of all your monthly outgoings including account numbers, (where applicable) the total amounts owed, the names and addresses of creditors, your rent, all insurances and utility bills.

Don't panic!

2B

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Posted

Could you post the bill you received?

I would be very surprised to learn that a Finanzamt sends a bill. They are there for collecting taxes, not fees for tution etc. So I guess it's either another authority, like the Senatsverwaltung, sending you abill or , if from the Finanzamt, it's some sort of Steuerbescheid.

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Posted

I think the Finanzamt is used as a debt collector for other parts of the administration. In Berlin it could very well be, that the federal state of Berlin collects the debt for a kindergarden run by the city of Berlin...

If you think, you have a reason not to pay that bill, get a lawyer. I don´t think you´ll need a tax advisor for that kind of problem.

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Posted

If the Senatsverwaltung für Bildung sends a debt collector (that is as what the Finanzamt could act here ) the OP certainly didn't get a bill " out of the blue". But rather ignored a couple of bills and a couple of reminders before.

No need for a lawyer, but rather an reasonible installment plan.

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Posted

Just make certain that the amount is correct. As others mentioned, if you didn't fill the forms out you might be pinned at the highest rate. Also, the year before school is free so at least there should be no bill for this year:-).

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Posted

thanks everyone .. all very useful.

i think the idea of having a meeting with them & my accountant is best.

a reasonable conclusion would be to first to make sure they are not over charging me .. 2010 was charged at €284 per month .. which i think is the MAX.

if i can get it reduced and get a payment plan going, then it should be manageable.

i wish there was an office for expats to go to where they receive information in english about how the WHOLE system works so people like me dont get caught out by things like this.

i basically reply on gleaning bits & bats of information from helpful german friends to keep track of the standard way that the bureaucracy works in Berlin and as you can all see .. it hant worked so well!

thanks again.

:0)

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Posted

If the Senatsverwaltung für Bildung sends a debt collector (that is as what the Finanzamt could act here ) the OP certainly didn't get a bill " out of the blue". But rather ignored a couple of bills and a couple of reminders before.

Not necessarily.

The Finanzamt have been known to make mistakes. (We got a bill "out of the blue" once from the Finanzamt for money that we did not owe.)

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