Is there anything (legal, non-obscure, serious, etc.) a private, personal, non-expert investor can or should be careful about to improve on the amount of taxes paid? I mean actual financial instruments (traded online and anonymously, i.e. not through a mandatory broker or company) or procedures. I also am, in the context of this question, not interested in Riester or similar plans, but straight traded instruments by private persons with otherwise "simple" finances.
This question is targeted at conservative/medium, long-term (>10 years) investments.
I am looking for one of these kinds of answers:
- Either a firm "no, the investment tax system in Germany has been streamlined and everything is simply buy=>sell=>tax the difference - just grab any old ETF with minimal management overhead".
- Or some few, well-known (just not to me) ways to ease the burden.
- Or, if this is a deep and complicated topic, references to books or the like, which cover the current German tax system regarding private investments in a way that helps a private person with the usual decisions (what/when to buy/sell) with specific regard to "low-hanging fruits" in the tax department.
For example: if this were a U.S. based question, I'd assume the word "Vanguard" to pop up in one of the answers - if I understand correctly, that organization managed, by doing whatever clever construct, to be more efficient all-around for U.S. investors. I am of course not looking for investment recommendations, but a generic "things like this also exist in Germany" or "nothing of the kind is allowed by the German tax system" would be a valuable answer to me.
Other example: this U.K. based question mentions that some kind of dividends are currently taxed lower than others over there.
Other example: In the distant past, in Germany, one would hold an asset for a minimum number of years, and then go basically tax-free. This was changed, and nowadays, as far as I can tell, the time for which you are holding an asset plays no role at all regarding tax. Somebody not knowing about this rule back when it was still in place would have a pretty "duh" moment if selling too soon.