Federal Ministry of Finance (Germany)

Olaf Scholz Helmut Schmidt Germany

Federal Ministry of Finance
Bundesministerium der Finanzen (BMF)
BMF Logo.svg
Berlin Finanzministerium Wilhelmstr asv2019-07.jpg
The Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus on Wilhelmstraße, headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Finance since August 1999. Formerly the Air Ministry headquarters building and an example of classical-modern architecture.
Agency overview
Formed14 July 1879 (Reichsschatzamt)
JurisdictionCabinet of Germany
Wilhelmstraße 97, 10117 Berlin
52°30′31″N 13°23′3″E / 52.50861°N 13.38417°E / 52.50861; 13.38417Coordinates: 52°30′31″N 13°23′3″E / 52.50861°N 13.38417°E / 52.50861; 13.38417
Employees1,965 (ministry)
Annual budget7.916 billion (2020)[1]
Minister responsible
Agency executives
  • Bettina Hagedorn, Parliamentary State Secretary
  • Werner Gatzer, State Secretary
  • Wolfgang Schmidt, State Secretary
  • Rolf Bösinger, State Secretary
  • Jörg Kukies, State Secretary

The Federal Ministry of Finance (German: Bundesministerium der Finanzen), abbreviated BMF, is the cabinet-level finance ministry of Germany, with its seat at the Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus in Berlin and a secondary office in Bonn. The current Federal Minister of Finance is Olaf Scholz (SPD).


In German politics, the Ministry of Finance beside the Interior, Foreign, Justice and Defence ministries is counted as one of the "classical portfolios" (denoted by the definite article der), which were also part of the first German government under Otto von Bismarck following the Unification of 1871.

Pre-war ministry on Wilhelmplatz, Berlin, 1930s

Fiscal policy in the German Empire was predominantly the domain of the various states responsible for all direct taxation according to the 1833 Zollverein treaties. The federal government merely received indirect contributions from the states. Matters of fiscal policy at the federal level initially was the exclusive responsibility of the German Chancellery under Otto von Bismarck. However, in 1877 a special finance department was established, which with effect from 14 July 1879 was separated from the chancellery as the Imperial Treasury (Reichsschatzamt), a federal agency in its own right. With its seat vis-à-vis on Wilhelmplatz in Berlin, it was first headed by a subsecretary, and from 1880 by a Secretary of State only answerable to the chancellor.

After World War I, the newly established Weimar Republic had to face huge reparations and a fiscal emergency. To cope with the implications, the former Reichsschatzamt in 1919 was re-organised as a federal ministry, the Reichsministerium der Finanzen, as supreme financial authority headed by a federal minister. Besides a Reich Treasury Ministry (Reichsschatzministerium) was established for the administration of the federal property, both agencies were merged in 1923.

Already in the German cabinet of Chancellor Franz von Papen, Undersecretary Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk was appointed Finance Minister in 1932, an office he held throughout the Nazi era until 1945. The ministry played a vital role in financing the German re-armament, in the "Aryanization" of Jewish property ("Reich Flight Tax"), German war economy, and the plundering of occupied countries in World War II. The budget deficit had already reached heady heights on the eve of the war, aggrandised by hidden Mefo and Oeffa bill financing. In turn, saving banks and credit institutions were obliged to sign war bonds while price stability was enforced by government intervention and the German public was called up to bank surplus money.

After World War II the ministry was re-established in 1949 and renamed the West German Bundesministerium der Finanzen.[2] Since 1999, the Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus (former Air Ministry Building) in Berlin has been the headquarters of the ministry.

The Ministry of Finance in Berlin in the 1930s' and 1940s' was responsible for the plunder of Jewish assets throughout Europe. After Germany took over Austria on March 12th, 1938 every Jewish family in Austria received from the Ministry of Finance in Berlin, a form called "Verzeichnis uber das Vermogen von Juden nach dem Stand von 27 April, 1938." All Jewish households had to list the value of all their assets including silver, gold, real estate, bank accounts, businesses / inventories and jewelry. This even included silverware such as knives, forks and spoons. In addition all debts owed to Aryan Germans also had to be listed. On the form Austrian Jews were warned that they had to complete these documents by June 30th, 1938 or risk serious punishment such as imprisonment. These forms had to be mailed back to the Finanzamt (tax authority) in Berlin.

Structure and function

Minister Olaf Scholz

The Ministry is the supreme federal authority in revenue administration and governs a number of subordinate federal, intermediate, and local authorities such as the Federal Centre for Data Processing and Information Technology (ZIVIT). The Ministry's wider portfolio includes public-law agencies and corporations such as the Federal Finance Regulator (BaFin) and Real Estate regulatory bodies. The finance minister is the only cabinet minister who can veto a decision of the government if it would lead to additional expenditure. The German newspaper FAZ stated, the Ministry of Finance is the most important Ministry in the German government.[3]

The Finance Ministry is responsible for all aspects of tax and revenue policy in Germany and plays a significant role in European Union policy. It has nine directorates-general:[4]

Subordinate agencies

Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus, Berlin headquarters
entrance to the headquarters in Bonn

The federal ministry directly governs the following agencies:[5]

Legally independent entities in the Ministry's wider portfolio include:

Federal Ministers of Finance

Political Party:   CSU   CDU   FDP   SPD

Portrait Party Term of Office Chancellor
1 Fritz Schäffer
KAS-Schäffer, Fritz-Bild-395-1 (cropped).jpg CSU 20 September 1949 29 October 1957 Adenauer
(I • II)
2 Franz Etzel
KAS-Etzel, Franz-Bild-638-1 (cropped).jpg CDU 29 October 1957 14 November 1961 Adenauer
3 Heinz Starke
FDP 14 November 1961 19 November 1962 Adenauer
4 Rolf Dahlgrün
Dahlgrün, Rolf cropped (Kiel 77.423).jpg FDP 14 December 1962 28 October 1966 Adenauer (V)
Erhard (I • II)
5 Kurt Schmücker
Kurt Schmücker1.jpg CDU 8 November 1966 30 November 1966 Erhard
6 Franz Josef Strauß
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F023363-0016, Empfang in der Landesvertretung, Franz Josef Strauß (cropped).jpg CSU 1 December 1966 21 October 1969 Kiesinger
7 Alex Möller
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F039419-0010, Hannover, SPD-Bundesparteitag, Möller (cropped).jpg SPD 22 October 1969 13 May 1971 Brandt
8 Karl Schiller
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F029983-0017, Bonn, SPD-Pressekonferenz, Karl Schiller (crop).jpg SPD 13 May 1971 7 July 1972
9 Helmut Schmidt
Bundeskanzler Helmut Schmidt.jpg SPD 7 July 1972 1 May 1974 Brandt
10 Hans Apel
Verteidigungsminister Dr. Hans Apel (4909219537).jpg SPD 16 May 1974 15 February 1978 Schmidt
(I • II)
11 Hans Matthöfer
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F060860-0013, Bonn, Sitzung Bundesrat, Matthöfer (cropped).jpg SPD 16 February 1978 28 April 1982 Schmidt
(II • III)
12 Manfred Lahnstein
(b. 1937)
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F064991-0014, Bonn, SPD-Pressekonferenz, Manfred Lahnstein (cropped).jpg SPD 28 April 1982 1 October 1982 Schmidt
13 Gerhard Stoltenberg
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F082409-0032, Bremen, CDU-Bundesparteitag, Stoltenberg (cropped).jpg CDU 4 October 1982 21 April 1989 Kohl
14 Theodor Waigel
(b. 1939)
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F074462-0012, Bonn, Pressekonferenz Koalitionsverhandlungen (cropped).jpg CSU 21 April 1989 27 October 1998 Kohl
15 Oskar Lafontaine
(b. 1943)
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F079276-0010 Lafontaine (cropped).jpg SPD 27 October 1998 18 March 1999 Schröder
16 Hans Eichel
(b. 1941)
2015-12 Hans Eichel SPD Bundesparteitag by Olaf Kosinsky-12 (cropped).jpg SPD 12 April 1999 22 November 2005 Schröder
17 Peer Steinbrück
(b. 1947)
Next Peer Steinbrück (SPD) (cropped).jpg SPD 22 November 2005 28 October 2009 Merkel
18 Wolfgang Schäuble
(b. 1942)
Wolfgang Schäuble - 2017 (cropped).jpg CDU 28 October 2009 24 October 2017 Merkel
19 Peter Altmaier (acting)
(b. 1958)
Peter Altmaier Portrait.png CDU 24 October 2017 14 March 2018 Merkel
20 Olaf Scholz
(b. 1958)
Olaf Scholz - Deutscher Radiopreis 2016 01.jpg SPD 14 March 2018 29 March 2020 Merkel

See also


  1. ^ "Bundeshaushalt". www.bundeshaushalt.de. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  2. ^ Die Geschichte des BMF (archived)
  3. ^ https://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/inland/sondierung-mit-union-schulz-will-finanzministerium-fuer-spd-15348070.html
  4. ^ BMF: What We Do[permanent dead link] (in English) retrieved 1 June 2012.
  5. ^ BMF: Subordinate Agencies[permanent dead link]