How the donation does not become a tax trap


Is your own dental practice still an occasional gift?
Image: Reuters

Customary occasional gifts are exempt from gift tax. But what is common? The car for your 18th birthday, the apartment at the beginning of your studies or your own doctor’s office for the end of your studies?

Laura has what others dream of: a rich aunt. And Aunt Roswitha is not even stingy or stingy, but extremely generous and generous. Years ago she promised her niece Laura that she would finance her own doctor’s practice. Laura then sputtered herself and quickly completed her dentistry degree. Now it has been shown that the founding of a dental practice is a particularly expensive plaster. According to data from the Apotheker- und Ärztebank, this costs more than 500,000 euros on average. But at the end of Laura’s medical studies, Aunt Roswitha makes no difference and provides the amount. But this begs the question: Is the money taxable?

In principle, gifts are taxable. Anyone who as a father or mother, as the vernacular says, still gives away fortunes to their children “with a warm hand” as a quasi preferred inheritance can use an exemption of 400,000 euros every ten years. All additional donations are subject to gift tax. If Roswitha’s donation to Laura with a value of 500,000 euros were classified as taxable, Laura would even have to pay 480,000 euros, because her degree of relationship only allows an exemption of 20,000 euros.

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Axel Springer new building opened: “The idea is somewhat bold”

Dhe house has been working for a long time. While the Federal President is giving his address on the platform above the newsroom, employees step up to glass walls on the higher floors and look at the unfamiliar scenery.

Others, on the other hand, do not even notice the ceremonial act of inauguration, because they sit with noise-absorbing headphones between moving boxes and look at screens. “The idea of ​​materializing the Internet in a building sounds somewhat daring,” says Steinmeier now – the architecture around him proves that that’s exactly what happened.

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opinion Frank-Walter Steinmeier

In his speech at the opening of the new Springer building, the Federal President paid tribute to the architect Rem Koolhaas and Axel Springer, who never wanted to come to terms with the division of Germany, which he never accepted. That’s why the house now stands on the former strip of the wall – a late satisfaction. President Steinmeier then speaks very fundamentally about journalism in the digital age. Everything turns into data, he quotes Frank Schirrmacher, “everything becomes a medium, car, house, your own body …”.

But then you have to ask yourself “whether journalism can survive in this, if you will, revolutionary environment or how journalistic content can assert itself against access by the platforms, in short, what journalistic work should look like under the conditions of digitization and how it should look is financed. ”

“Democracy needs professional journalism”

The thought “from the childhood days of social media, everyone is now at the same time reader, journalist and editor”, this thought was probably rather naive, said the Federal President. “Democracy needs professional journalism, politically and economically independent journalism that can act without fear, that maintains the balance between distance and empathy”.

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Like a canyon: View into the spacious interior of the new Axel Springer building by Rem Koolhaas

In the eighth month of the global state of emergency, you can feel that reality is actually not a purely subjective matter and also not a postmodern game. Donning and doffing masks has become a habit for the seventy guests and press representatives invited to the inauguration. Nobody reaches out their hand anymore and the ability to identify people based on the upper half of their face only developed rapidly under Homo sapiens sapiens. But how could it be otherwise? “At the latest when the stubborn mask refuser has become infected,” says Steinmeier, “reality strikes back.” Sure, who is meant by that.

Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner, Friede Springer, Rem Koolhaas and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner, Friede Springer, Rem Koolhaas and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Source: Martin UK Lengemann / WELT

So in several ways it is a fitting moment to inaugurate a media company, a building in which reality is or should be the basis of work. The then new building of the Axel Springer Verlag was opened on October 6, 1966, recalls CEO Mathias Döpfner, the mayor was Willy Brandt at the time and the Federal President Heinrich Lübke. Exactly fifty years later, after an international architecture competition, construction of the Koolhaas building began and it will open on October 6, 2020, i.e. today.

Not, you think, that with so much number symbolism someone starts to think too much, for example multiplying the cross sum of the opening years by the number of elevators, divided by the hat size of Bill Gates, to prove beyond doubt that – yes, it it’s funny what people come up with, but in the past few months you have to experience that it doesn’t stay funny.

GDR furniture in the Springer headquarters

During a subsequent tour of the building it becomes clear once again how skilfully it is anchored in Berlin and on this building site, but also in the history of architecture in this country. Rem Koolhaas is a fan of the architect of the Neue Nationalgalerie, Mies van der Rohe, to whom the Springerbau repeatedly provides references – the pattern on the outer tinted glass facade goes back to a chalk drawing by Mies in which he sketched a glass tower for Friedrichstrasse.

The Barcelona Chairs by Mies van der Rohe that are set up here and there are also a quote, but Rem Koolhaas wouldn’t be Rem Koolhaas if he didn’t give this quote a decisive twist. It briefly leads into an empty office with two cantilever chairs.

The white one, you honestly only notice it now, is not a Barcelona chair at all, but an East German design icon. It was designed by Rudolph Horn in the GDR. Both armchairs are now placed opposite each other – there is no longer a gap between east and west, at most a side table.

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BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 22: Colored baloons decorating the entrance during the press tour before the festive opening of the Berlin representation of Google Germany on January 22, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. The official opening will take place tonight with Berlin Mayor Michael Muller. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

GDR furniture in the Springer headquarters? Unheard of for some. Not for others. Following Steinmeier’s speech, CEO Mathias Döpfner said he was convinced “that this building will change Axel Springer” and – I am working on it – also improve it. “

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Friede Springer and Mathias Döpfner in the YouTube video – media

Can love be a sin? No, no, she can’t, and certainly not when she appears so pure, so innocent as in the film that has been in the big fairy tale chest on YouTube since the day before yesterday. A man in his prime does not exchange rings with a woman in even better years, but does exchange nice thoughts. The situation is very intimate, but we can be there, see and hear the man stammering. With a sigh, he almost confesses to his beloved that he is “a little lacking in words”, but then he brings it out completely, the arch-poetic sentence: “I always wanted that restless sleep of the lover.”

But oh, that’s not true at all, that was a hearing mistake, the man says something completely different: “I always wanted that restless sleep of the entrepreneur.” As lovingly as the two look into each other’s eyes, as encouragingly as she pats his arm and assures “We can do it, Mathias!”, The disappointed romantic in the audience soon notices that this is about money, about a lot of money. Friede Springer, the main shareholder of Axel Springer, is giving her young CEO Mathias Döpfner, 57, shares worth more than one billion euros, and is also transferring his own voting rights to him. And yet love has to be involved, the two radiate out into the world so enthusiastically from this act of donation (the video is also subtitled in English) that no one thinks about the stupid money anymore. Everyone should know, everyone should experience how happy she is. “I feel very good,” said 78-year-old Friede Springer, now that “the contracts are so far”. One would have to have the heart of a Bismarck monument not to be touched by this chiseled sentence: “Mathias, you will be my successor.”

It is, Goddess complained, simply too little love in the world, all the more comforting for us that we are allowed to witness this spectacle of tender intimacy. There is a lot of wood in the background, and if you didn’t see the bibliophile volumes on the right edge of the picture, you could assume that the two found each other in the Finnish sauna. Years ago Döpfner declared that he was the last to sweat among colleagues, but here he seems a bit overwhelmed. From money or not from luck?

Because love is not “this birding in and out” like Franz Josef Wagner to us poeta laureatus from Image, just let know, but “when my partner pushes me in a wheelchair, when I remain loyal to him in illness and need”. So it has to be love after all, and such a pretty little billion as a morning gift is certainly not to be despised.

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Friede Springer gives Mathias Döpfner shares for a reason

Dhat is a gift of one billion euros, a colleague has calculated very quickly. One billion? One billion. Friede Springer gave this to Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of the media company founded by her husband, Axel Cäsar Springer, who died in 1985. The billion dollar gift consists of fifteen percent of the company’s shares. Döpfner Friede Springer buys another 4.1 percent of the shares for 276 million euros. So far Döpfner already had three percent, now the Springer widow and the CEO each have 22 percent. The third major shareholder in the group is the American investment company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) with 47.6 percent since last year.

Michael Hanfeld

Responsible editor for features online and “media”.

Sounds complicated, and it is, but basically very simple and exactly what Friede Springer said yesterday. She is very “happy and grateful that I have found my successor in Mathias”. She always said that she would “ensure continuity in the company. The future of the company was very important to me for my entire life. ”Now she has found an ideal solution – for Springer-Verlag and the two foundations that she heads.

So we are dealing with a quasi-dynastic transition, which the German Press Agency puts into words in “picture” fashion: “Springer is now Döpfner”. It is about a succession to the throne, which of course has nothing to do with ancestry, but with performance. Over the years, Friede Springer has taken a close look at how Mathias Döpfner acts. In 1998 he came to the publishing house and became editor-in-chief of “Welt”. Two years later he joined Springer’s executive board, and in 2002 he became chairman of the executive board. He had to endure two major crises and two major defeats. In 2005 Springer got ready to take over the TV group Pro Sieben Sat 1, but this failed due to the objection of the Federal Cartel Office. The 2007 investment in the postal service provider Pin Group resulted in a fiasco, because the company was ordered to pay the statutory minimum wage for deliverers. In competition with the Post it had no competitive advantages, but massive disadvantages. Springer was out at the end of the year.

But these were only stages in the expansion and transformation of the Springer publishing house into a multimedia company, whose balance sheet looks very different today. The turnover last year was 3.11 billion euros, the group profit was 263.7 million euros. Springer has taken radical, sometimes tough steps for the workforce, and has invested heavily in digital business. The publisher is still identified with “Bild” and “Welt”, “Bild am Sonntag” and “Welt am Sonntag”, but these have long been part of a larger media network together with the news channel N24, which has since been acquired. Springer has sold its regional newspapers and instead opted for online offers, journalistic and commercial brands. These include job, price comparison or real estate portals that are now on the advertising markets that newspapers have lost since the beginning of digitization. With the investor KKR, Springer wants to venture into the phalanx of the very big ones and become Europe’s number one in a media market dominated by the American data corporations operating worldwide.

In the competition with these, it is of course not just about profits, but about the whole, about the foundations of democracy and the survival of press journalism that is independent of both the state and the favor of megacorporations. Döpfner, who studied music, theater and German studies, acts as its champion in his role as President of the Federal Association of Digital Publishers and Newspaper Publishers (BDZV).

He does this with a similar impetus, and preferably also pathos, like Axel Springer’s own. He said at the time that newspapers should write about politics, but shouldn’t do it. But he knew exactly that they are part of politics and of course make politics, above all the “Bild” newspaper. What Axel Springer was not yet able to know about are today’s rulers of data who, as soon as society and politics ask about their responsibility, pretend they have nothing to do with the consequences of their work. It’s different in journalism, with the press, with publishers, with a media company like Springer. It is not surprising that Friede Springer, as the guardian of her late husband’s legacy, believes she has found the ideal successor in Mathias Döpfner. Well over a billion are involved.

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