The Spectacle Blog

This Tax Is Full of Schnitzel

By on 9.22.10 | 6:07PM

Gerhard Kaltscheuer owns a restaurant in a working-class neighborhood in Hammerbruecke, Germany. His schnitzels are especially popular -- except with German tax authorities.

When it comes to food, bigger is better. And Kaltscheuer has the biggest, baddest schnitzels in town. The problem is that in Germany, the delicious veal cutlets are taxed per unit sold. Bigger schnitzels means less tax revenue.

He sells about 70 of them in an average day. Tax authorities they're so mouth-wateringly large, he should pay tax on about triple that. So they hit him with a $51,600 tax bill.

Who knew that the humble schnitzel could raise such a pickle? Locals even held a rally on Monday to back him up; one wonders what their signs said.

Kaltscheuer's schnitzels are oversized for a reason - and it isn't tax evasion. As he told Reuters, "If I served the customers smaller portions at the normal price like that, I wouldn't have any customers because that wouldn't fill them up."

Tax authorities need not prosecute poor Mr. Kaltschueuer for giving people the enormous schnitzels they crave. They could be taxed by weight, instead of by how many are sold. Or the tax could be a percent of the price, like a sales tax.

They could even be tax-free.

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