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Registering your dog with the authorities: What you have to expect

Has a puppy moved in with you or have you moved with your furry friend? As a new dog owner or after a move, you have to take care of the registration or re-registration of your four-legged friend. What sounds like a lot of bureaucracy at first is actually no big deal as long as you are well prepared! In the following article you will find all the information you need about registering your dog: Where to register, what deadlines you have to meet and what documents you need!

Where does the registration take place?

If you have a four-legged friend living with you, you must register him or her for dog tax. Depending on the municipality, you can register online, by phone, by e-mail or in person at the tax and city treasury office of your municipality.

If you live in Lower Saxony, Hamburg or Berlin, for example, you must also register your furry companion in a dog register. For this you need

  • your identity card,
  • a dog liability insurance for your dog and
  • the 15-digit transponder number of the microchip that your vet inserts in your dog beforehand.

These are the requirements for registration. Are you unsure whether the additional registration in the dog register is also required in your city or municipality? Then ask at the tax and city treasurer's office of your municipality! If you have to register your dog in the dog register, the data will also be sent to the responsible office for dog tax. An additional registration for dog tax is then no longer necessary.

Our tip: While registration for dog tax is often free of charge, there are costs for the dog register. It is often cheaper to register your dog online. You can expect to pay fees of 15-30 euros instead of the 30-45 euros that you would have to pay at the office.

Registering your dog for dog tax: What do I need?

You should have these documents and information ready for the dog tax registration form:

  • your identity card
  • the age and breed of your dog
  • your dog's move-in date
You can also enter this data if necessary:
  • the name and address of the previous owner
  • the previous residential address
  • certificate of competence or keeping permit for dogs that have become conspicuous or listed dogs

After registration, you will receive your tax assessment and the dog tax tag for your four-legged friend. The tax stamp with the individual identification number should be worn visibly on your dog's collar when you take it out. This way, the public order office can see directly that registration has already taken place.

When do I have to register my dog at the latest?

When you have to register your dog depends on these circumstances::

  • Puppies: If a small puppy moves into your household, it is taxable at the age of 3 months.
  • Adult dogs: If you take in a dog that is older than 3 months, you usually have 2 to 4 weeks to register it for dog tax. However, the regulations may vary from place to place - it is best to check online on the homepage of your municipality!
  • Moving: Even if you have moved, you still have about 2 to 4 weeks to re-register. Again, check the requirements of your new place of residence.

Why do you pay dog tax?

Everyone who keeps a dog in Germany has to pay dog tax on a regular basis. First and foremost, the dog tax serves the municipality - so the dog tax is a municipal tax that goes into the general budget pot of the city. Did you know that the dog tax is also intended to help limit the number of dog owners?

Since cats used to be farm animals and dogs are still considered a luxury good today, only dog owners in Germany have to pay the tax. Deregistration is only possible when the dog dies.

A higher tax applies to dog breeds that are classified as dangerous (so-called list dogs).

However, the following are exempt from tax

  • Guide dogs for the blind,
  • guide dogs for the disabled and
  • specially trained dogs for people with severe disabilities.

In some municipalities, pensioners or recipients of social benefits no longer have to pay dog tax, e.g. in Berlin.

Conclusion: Even if it seems annoying: if you miss the registration, you are actually committing an administrative offence, which is accompanied by a fine. You will also have to pay the dog tax you have missed over the past months or years.

It is therefore best to take care of the registration in good time and contact your municipality if you have any questions, as the regulations on deadlines and fees can vary .

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