How to change tax class in Germany

Ah taxes… Don’t we just all love it?

Probably one of the most boring topics to deal with but also one of the most essential ones, especially in Germany. There are many factors impacting on your income tax rate; few of them are more important than your tax class.

In this post, we will go over what it all means and if you think it’s relevant to your situation, how to change your tax class in Germany.

How to change tax class in Germany

Tax classes in Germany: TL;DR

In nutshell; your tax class in Germany is more or less defined by your marital status. Depending on this, you will be put in different categories by the Finanzamt. This will help your employer apply the correct tax rate on your payslip, hence the name “Lohnsteuerklasse”. This impacts how much wage tax (“Lohnsteuerabzug”), solidarity contribution (“Solidaritätszuschlag”) and Church tax (“Kirchensteuer”) will be taken from your gross salary.

In other words, your net salary is directly related to your tax class in Germany.

As you might have already guessed it; this is only relevant to employees. Self-employed are paying income tax through other means.

Quick overview

There are 6 categories overall.

Tax classMarital status
Steuerklasse 0You are not a German resident.
Steuerklasse 1You are single, widow(er), separated/divorced
Steuerklasse 2You are a single parent
Steuerklasse 3You are married with a higher income (than your partner in Steuerklasse 5)
Steuerklasse 4You are married with both equivalent income
Steuerklasse 5You are married with a lower income (than your partner in Steuerklasse 3)
Steuerklasse 6The class used for additional jobs (Nebenjob or Zweitjob)

Attention married people: you can save money

As you can see, married people can belong to different classes and optimize differently. By default, the Finanzamt will put both partners in tax class 4, when you first register your marriage or marry in Germany. However, for a lot of households, this is often not the best solution. Why, you ask?

It’s quite simple really: the German tax system knows that the higher-earner is often bearing more of the costs in the household. The idea here is to allow for a tax rebate when one of the partners earns significantly less than the other. As a result, moving from tax class 4 to tax class 3/5 might increase the net salary for the higher earner.

When is it worth to change classes in that case?

The higher-earner in the household has to earn a good deal more for this to make sense. They should earn at least 60% of the total household income.

How to change tax classes in Germany

The process to change tax class in Germany is fairly simple:

  1. Get a hold of the form “Antrag auf Steuerklassenwechsel bei Ehegatten” (Request for tax class change for married people). You can fill it online on the official finance ministry website this way When you have filled both pages in, you can download it as a PDF. Alternatively, you can download an empty PDF file here.
  2. Print-it and sign it (both partners)
  3. Send it to your Finanzamt

Important notes

  • The tax class change will happen on the month following the request submission. So that’s when you can see a difference in your net salary.
  • As mentioned at the end of the second page in the document; if both partners are employees and you have been through a tax class change in Germany, it is mandatory to submit a tax statement (Steuererklärung; more info this way) after the end of the year (e.g: do one in 2019 for the year 2018, if you changed in 2018)
You or your Steuerberater will appreciate the change !


How many times can i change tax classes in Germany ?

In most cases, this is only possible once a year. However, it is possible to do this more often in the following cases:

  • When your partner is not an employee anymore (becoming a freelancer, retirement, parental leave, unemployment).
  • When your partner is an employee again
  • When one of the partners passes away
  • In case of divorce or separation

What events can be cause of a tax class change?

Very logically, life events that were just previously listed can be cause for change of tax class in Germany; marriage, divorce, death of partner, unemployment, retirement, parental leave, becoming a freelancer.

Can the tax benefit apply retroactively if i change tax classes?

Provided you make the application before 30/11 of that year, you can benefit from that tax cut for the months prior too.

Is worth it for me and my partner to make a change?

You can use this very easy to use simulator. Enter both your gross salaries in it, together with your postal code. You will be able to see if it’s worth to make a tax class change in Germany, and who should be on tax class 3.

I just got divorced/separated, what do i do now to change class?

You would use this form to signify the Finanzamt that you are now separated from your partner. The adjustment will be then made automatically after they process this document.

My partner is living abroad, can i still change tax class?

For a tax class change to be possible, both partners need to be “unbeschränkt einkommensteuerpflichtig“, which means to be subject to an unrestricted income taxation. In practical terms, this is made possible only when the partner is also a German resident. However, an exception to this rule is possible if you and your partner fulfill the following requirements (source):

  • You have EU or Swiss citizenship.
  • Your partner has residence in another EU country (+ Switzerland).
  • At least 90% of the total income is subject to German income tax. The same applies if the income not subject to German income tax does not exceed 18 336€ in a calendar year.

Hope this little guide helped. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment if anything is unclear.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4  


  • Reply Jo 26/11/2019 at 05:14

    One correction. If the other person (wife/husband) works and lives in an EU country you are still eligible to change the class to 3. You just need official documents first to prove that the person is living there and after the year had passed to prove the income in the other country.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/11/2019 at 09:58

      Hey Jo. Thanks a lot for the correction. Would you care to direct me to a source for this?

  • Reply Quadri Quadri 26/11/2019 at 00:40

    Hi Julia, My name is Quadri I am a Masters student in German public University, I am also in similar situation like you, I would like to know from you how is it possible to change the tax class from finance centrum without getting into trouble. As my employer told me to meet them at the finance centrum

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/11/2019 at 09:57

      Hey Quadri. Which situation are you talking about?

  • Reply Yuvaraj 21/11/2019 at 13:36

    I am a single parent, but my kid is in India. Am I belong to Taxclass 1 or 2. Please clarify.

  • Reply Kiran 20/11/2019 at 09:26

    Hi Bastien,

    I traveled to Germany and started working April’2019 onward. My wife joined me in Germany and did the city registration on 8th November 2019, Now I want to change my TAX class to 3 and I believe for her it will be 5 then, as she is not working.

    Can I claim for the TAX rebate from April onward, once my tax class is changed to 3, any time period within which I need to request for TAX class change to be eligible for rebate for current year?
    And what documents are needed to change the TAX class when we visit the FINANZAMT personally?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/11/2019 at 12:35

      Hey Kiran. Refer to this paragraph for your answer. The document you need is also listed in the post.

  • Reply Özü 18/11/2019 at 15:43

    Hey i also have a question,
    My wife and i are living in Heidelberg. She works at EMBL as a phd student and because of EMBL ( Europian Molecular Biology LAbs) she is getting her payment without giving taxes. A month ago i started working part-time but with my first payment i noticed my taxklasse is 1. I dont know if it is because my wife is not considered as working for German government but to EU. Since many people doesnt know about this stiuation im a bit confused. I came to Germany and have residence and working permit through my wife ( and EMBL ) I thougt like even my wife is seeming unemployed in Germany, we are married and i came here with marriage visa ( so they probably know that we are married but im not sure if Finanzamt knows or should i let them know in any case ) So my taxklasse should be 3 any my wife’s should be 5. Do you have suggestion for me ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/11/2019 at 12:38

      Hey Özü. Sorry i cant really help you, i’m not so knowledgeable in this particular case. Maybe start to make sure that your marriage is recognized here in Germany, and that the Finanzamt knows about it too.

  • Reply Rita Gyeabour 17/11/2019 at 10:59

    Hello I have two children and am not married to the children’s father. I just started working and I realised I ‘ve been put to class 5. The children’s dad is on class 3 apparently. Can I change my class to 3 too

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/11/2019 at 12:20

      Hey Rita. Only a 3/5 combination is possible.

  • Reply Julia Tom 10/11/2019 at 23:06

    I am an international student studying Masters in German public university. I was working in a restaurant for part time job with contract from May 2019 to April 2020(monthly salary range 500€ to 850€ ).I also signed a part time job from university with contract from Nov 2019 to April 2020(monthly salary 500 €) .I heard that to save from paying more taxes I should change one to minijob. But I already signed both contracts. So will the normal part time job contract in Restaurant be considered as minijob if my income is less than 450 euros?I am not sure whether i could edit contract as I already signed it.
    Thanks in advance,!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/11/2019 at 15:31

      Hey Julia. This is beyond my knowledge. Sorry. Better ask a Steuerberater.

  • Reply Vânia Valdrez 06/11/2019 at 18:24

    Hi Bastien,
    I have a peculiar case so I would much appreciate your insights. I am in a civil union with my husband and although he works in Germany he receive his salary in another EU country, furthermore we live in the Netherlands. I will start working in Germany so I will have to choose a tax class, but I am not sure if I can chose the III/V.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/11/2019 at 15:17

      Hey Vania. As far as i know, both partners have to be German residents to benefit from a 3/5 combination, but i might be wrong…

  • Reply Nita 05/11/2019 at 13:18

    hi !
    I hope you can help me with my question.
    my husband’s salary is less than 1485 euros brutto as compared to me. We have been married for long time and have a baby as well . which tax class would be better for us. 3/5 combination or 4/4 combination. I wasworking before and then went on elternzeit and since October 2019 I started to work again, So now need to change the tax class. We wanted to make mine 3 and his 4 and went to the finanzamt but the lady advised us to make 4/4 . I dont know if she is correct.
    thank you
    kind regards

  • Reply Konstantin 30/10/2019 at 12:57

    Thank you for the god article.
    I was informed by my Steuerberater there is no difference which class you and your wife have during the year, you’ll get your money from Tax Office finally anyway. They told they calculate different scenarios and choose the best. For instance in my case it is Zusammenveranlagung. And there is no influence of tax class on the tax declaration, tax class influences only the monthly calculated tax payments (and your net salary therefore).
    So my feeling that the tax class change from 4/4 to 3/5 helps you to get money now not later next year after Tax declaclaracion checking by authorities.
    Are they right? What do you think?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/11/2019 at 09:18

      Hey Konstantin. Yes they are right. Trust your Steuerberater’s advice.

  • Reply Canan 29/10/2019 at 15:05


    Thanks a lot for this article. I also have quo. we moved to Germany with my son and husband. I have german contract and I am the one who earns the main money, My husband has Turkish contract still he is located in germany but working with Turkish contract as a home office. May I have right to change my tax class from 4 to 3? As he does not have german contract so no income from germany, class as of 5? and once I change the class do they refund the amount for the previous months?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/11/2019 at 09:14

      Hey Canan. The amount of income does not matter. It only matters if both of you are resident in Germany, and liable for taxes. If that is the case, then you may change tax classes.

  • Reply Karthik 28/10/2019 at 11:55


    I have changed my city due to a new job recently, but in my previous city tax class was 3, so after registering into the new city should i go to finanzamt again for the tax class enquiry? Or by default the tax class shall be 3? We have registered together in Rathaus in the new city.


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/10/2019 at 14:57

      Hey Karthik. If your family situation hasnt changed, then you tax class remains the same, as far as the Finanzamt is concerned.

  • Reply Tayo 28/10/2019 at 09:36

    Hi Bastien, thanks for the good write up. Please I would like ask you about my current tax class. I am currently in steure klass 1. But my wife moved from England to Germany in April 2019 and she’s currently learning German in a language academy. I would like to ask if it’s possible to change my tax class even though my wife is still learning German and the courses end December, or I should wait until she finds job before changing the tax class.
    Lastly I would like to know if it’s possible to get some of the returns when I file for tax return next year. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks in advance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/10/2019 at 14:57

      Hey Tayo. Language skills has nothing to do with it. If your wife is a German resident and is taxable here, then you can change tax class.

  • Reply Cecilia 27/10/2019 at 22:05

    Hi, my husband and I first got registered as single as the lady at the office needed a translated marriage certificate. After a month we changed addresses and they registered us as married. Do we need to go to the Finanzamt to confirm that we have the correct tax band. Many thanks

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/10/2019 at 14:55

      Hey there. No need. You can simple check this on your payslip. Look for the “StKl” row on it somewhere.

  • Reply Geo Thomas 24/10/2019 at 14:07

    Hi Bastien,

    Thanks for the wonderful article. I’ve a question. In a scenario, where only one among the married couple works, does the working person fall in tax class 3 or 4?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/10/2019 at 08:58

      Hey Geo. The working person has a much higher income than their partner, so they would fall under tax class 3.

  • Reply Gaurav Meena 09/10/2019 at 21:24


    Can you please tell me how much tax return one can expect when only 1 person is earning in family of two.
    Stay from May 2019 to Dec 2019.
    Approx monthly tax deduction (1000-1100 Eur)
    Expecting retrospective tax benefit as the Marriage registration & verification completed in Nov 2019.


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 15/10/2019 at 15:41

      Hey Gaurav. It’s not really possible on so little details. Sorry.

  • Reply Daniel Gonzalez 03/10/2019 at 17:32

    Hello Bastien,

    One question: I´ve been living in Berlinn since June, and working since July, and I´ve been in the Category 6 this whole time because I couldn´t find a place with Anmeldung. Fortunately, I did, and I delivered today my Tax ID to my employer, when will I get my refund for being on the wrong tax category? Is it something that I have to do, or that my employer has to do?

    Thank you!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/10/2019 at 10:02

      Hey Daniel. It’s something you can get back at your next tax return.

      • Reply Daniel 22/10/2019 at 22:01

        I’m in the same situation and I’m still paying like tax class 6 according to my payslip. But I got a letter from Finanzamt stating that I’m now class 3. My company says they can not do any change until the finanzamt notifies them of the change. Can I request the finanzeamt to notify my employer of that change or how long does it take to reflect?

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/10/2019 at 08:56

          Hey Daniel, this can take up to a month.

  • Reply fabio 19/09/2019 at 10:56

    Hi Bastien,
    I am currently in the tax class 3/5 with my wife. However, she moved to the NL and is no longer working in Germany. I am still working in Germany and remained in tax class 5. How do I do to change to tax class 1 ? I assume that I cannot use the form “Antrag auf Steuerklassenwechsel bei Ehegatten” as my wife is not registered in germany any more. Thanks. Fabio

    • Reply Ahmed 26/09/2019 at 21:26

      Hi Bastien,
      Thank you so much for such an informative post about the complex german tax system.
      Could you please clarify the following:
      “Provided you make the application before 30/11 of that year, you can benefit from that tax cut for the months prior too.”

      My question is that if my marriage is registered Germany in December 2019, then I cannot apply for tax refund of 2019 because it is later than 30/11/2019?
      Thanks 🙂

      • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/09/2019 at 23:15

        Hey Ahmed. Correct.

  • Reply Ali 18/09/2019 at 13:39

    Hi Bastien,

    Thank you for the great article, you really help us non German speakers manoeuvre the German bureaucracy 🙂

    My question is – how do I request the prior tax cuts and who do I request them from? I have changed to class 3 but I have already received 4 salaries prior to it and would like to get the difference.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/09/2019 at 16:22

      Hey Ali. If you changed prior to end of November of the relevant year, you can claim the difference for for the months of that year with your next tax declaration.

  • Reply Milos 13/09/2019 at 10:46

    Hi Bastien,

    Regarding this switch to classes 3 and 5, it looks to me that in order to benefit from this, the family should also earn less. Family incomes from €109,990 up to €521,064 are taxed at 42%. So it looks to me that if husband and wife are together making somewhere in this range, then they will be taxed the same amount at the end of the year whether they are in 3&5 or 4&4 tax groups. Do you agree with this observation?

    • Reply Haitham 03/11/2019 at 13:14

      Hi Milos,
      I am questioning about the same situation also, did you get an answer for it?
      As i do have communication issues with my accountant due to language, i can’t fully get what is the optimum classes for a 100k€ joint income (still less than 109k€), we were already at 3/5 as my wife started to work only in that year, and now the accountant tells me that i do have to pay money back to finanzamt!
      I would appreciate any explanation if you could help. Thank you.

    • Reply Asha 11/11/2019 at 14:07

      If the two of you are earning that much combined, what does it even matter?

  • Reply Linneman 10/09/2019 at 12:15

    Hi Bastian,

    I have a situation in which my wife started working in the month of August and I went to the Finanzamt in September to change the tax class and the effective change of tax class is only from October. Can we file for a income tax rebate for the August and September where she was taxed at class 5? It also means I was taxed at level 3 for these months. But what is important is that she has a higher salary than mine and she is receiving a huge joining bonus as well. So for us it makes sense to get to tax class 4 retrospectively from August. Is it possible to claim the return tax?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 10/09/2019 at 21:00

      Hey Linneman, you can claim the difference when doing your tax return next year.

  • Reply Suresh 10/09/2019 at 08:52


    I have submitted form for tax class change today(10-09.2019) and got feedback that it will be changed from 01.10.2019… but my wife is resident here from July 219… Is it possible to get the extra tax paid between July to September as lumpsum in October pay? Or I should get this as tax refund by filing tax return? Or I am not eligible to get extra tax paid between July to September since tax class change is effective only from October??

    Sorry for too many questions. I appreciate your support for many clarification..

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 10/09/2019 at 20:55

      HEy Suresh. You can get this back when doing a tax return.

  • Reply Shade 07/09/2019 at 22:17

    Hello this post is amazing. My problem is also similar to the one above. I’ve lived in Berlin for 3yrs then left for a yr and came back to Munich to live and work. I’m married with a daughter but my husband lives in the UK. Yet I’ve been classed as tax band 6, when I was in Berlin I was tax 2 with no change to my circumstances. So it’s strange how I got moved to 6 because I now live in Munich. Any help or advice would be great!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/09/2019 at 16:01

      Hey Shade. This is beyond my humble knowledge sorry. I have no idea.

  • Reply Deva 01/09/2019 at 20:54

    This is a very nice article.

    I have a question. We ( me and my wife) moved to Germany in 2018 and My Wife had to leave Germany due to medical reasons. She was registered in Town Hall but she did not get the resident permit( before that itself she had to leave the country)

    Since my wife got a townhall registration, she got a TAX ID and my tax class changed to -3. Now my wife is coming back again this month. My wife will get a Resident permit this month

    Question : What happens to my last year tax class ? Will it remains in TAX-3 or should it go to TAX-1 ?

    Thanks in advance

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/09/2019 at 09:45

      Hey Deva. You will probably stay in a 3/5 situation. Why would that change?

      • Reply Deva 03/09/2019 at 16:58

        I thought since my wife went back to India last year and coming this year-end would impact my tax slabs?

  • Reply Patrick 22/08/2019 at 13:24

    Hi – very informative post.

    Can i ask if i should send the filled form for tax class change by hand (directly to the Finanzamt) or should i post it via post office?

    I live quite near to the Finanzamt actually.


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/08/2019 at 13:52

      Hey Patrick. Your Finanzamt probably has a mailbox on site, where you can insert your form.

  • Reply Terry 21/08/2019 at 13:51


    Awesome articles!

    My spouse and I have been on tax class 4 but I am now going on unemployment benefits and we wanted to know if this means she should change her class, and if so to which one? Given that I will be unemployed.

    thanks in advance

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/08/2019 at 23:22

      Hey Terry. Probably not, since you are going to find a job soon enough, right?

  • Reply Ahsan 21/08/2019 at 10:40

    Hi Bastien,

    Thank you for this post, really helped alot.

    My situation is I got married in 2018 in Pakistan, but my wife arrived in Germany in 2019, now we’re a registered married couple here.
    My question is what is the marriage date that i should enter in the form a: the Pakistani marriage date, or b: the date we got registered as a married couple in Germany.

    Thanks 🙂

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/08/2019 at 23:20

      Hey Ahsan, in my opinion, it makes more sense to put the marriage registration date.

      • Reply Ahsan 23/08/2019 at 12:24

        thanks 🙂

  • Reply Dwaipayan Roy 16/08/2019 at 22:45

    Hey! I found you blog super helpful!
    I have a different and difficult problem and do not know the solution. My scenario is, I have a job which I joined, in Cologne with a contract of 2 years. I am married and my wife and infant baby would be staying back in our country (India). I didn’t want the marriage tax benefit from Germany (as wife would not be staying in Germany) and so I didn’t apostille our marriage certificate and was hoping to be categorized in the Class I (1) category of tax class.

    However, when I went to the tax office, they told me I need to register my marriage anyway and they have categorized me in ClassVI (6) category which is something I never expected of! Simple scenario, I didn’t want the tax benefits and they are charging me an extra 10% of tax!!

    I am not sure about challenging the office. an you please help? FYI, I belong to the TVL-13 category for the employee, in Koln.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/08/2019 at 09:52

      Hey Roy. I’m also very puzzled about this. Your main job is not a nebenjob, i don’t get why you’d be in tax class 6? Did you ask about that?

  • Reply Anand 10/08/2019 at 21:22

    My wife and I had moved to Germany last month. I am having a job here, whereas my wife is not. We both went to the Finanzamt office on 31st July and got our tax class changed (class 3 for me and class 5 for me). The person at the Finanzamt said that the change was done and that we could leave. Since I am on deputation here, my parent company gives me the salary and not the company for which I work here in Germany. My parent company is considering me under tax class 6. They have asked me to provide the updated tax class form. Is there any way to get this tax class form via online instead of going to the finazamt office again?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/08/2019 at 10:59

      Hey Anand. This is Germany… so not for this. Sorry.

  • Reply racks 10/08/2019 at 12:42

    Hallo, informative post! I have a question. I and my wife both are students and also registered on a student visa. Do we have to submit our “marriage certificate” (which is from our home country) with the “Antrag auf Steuerklassenwechsel bei Ehegatten” ? Or, just submitting the form will work?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/08/2019 at 10:57

      Hey Racks. You would have to first register your marriage in Germany before doing anything else. Then make sure to ask if the change happens automatically, or if you need the send form in extra.

  • Reply SAvas 06/08/2019 at 10:23

    I filled form, We move to germany 3 months ago, My wife dont have tax ID. Without her tax ID, should I send to to e post office? Do they accept only mine?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/08/2019 at 16:22

      Hey Savas. Post office? why?

  • Reply Giulia 04/08/2019 at 12:13

    Thanks so much for writing this post!
    Super super useful!
    I would like to ask:
    My partner and I are not married and we are expecting a baby.
    I earn more than him. He’s freelance and his income is very low and basically not taxed.
    We are not registered in the same flat.
    Now my questions are:
    – Can we apply for a tax change if we are not married but if we register as a parents?
    – Can we apply as registered parents if we are not registered in the same flat?
    – If he doesn’t pay income taxes and I do, would be more convenient for me to apply for a tax change as single mum or to switch to III class?
    Thanks a lot!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/08/2019 at 11:28

      Hey Giulia. You need to be either married, or in a registered partnership. You’d probably both belong to class 2.

  • Reply Mamanding Ndow 31/07/2019 at 13:32


    Thank you for the good explanation.
    I am the only person working. My wife is not working and has no source of income. What should be my tax class.
    Under Section B: Steuerklassenwechsel of the Tax Class Change Application form, which options should I chose?

    Thank you

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/08/2019 at 11:01

      They there. Probably the 3/5 combination makes most sense in your case.

  • Reply Qianying 30/07/2019 at 22:07

    Hallo Bastien,
    Thank you for your useful post. I have a question on my tax class.
    I am a new employee at a research institute in Germany starting from July 2019. I am married. But my husband is working and living in Denmark. His salary is higher than mine. Both of us are subject to an unrestricted income taxation, even though my husband pays tax to Denmark.
    My HR does not know which tax class I belong to, so she put me in Class 1 now. In my situation, which tax class I belong to? Class 1 or Class 5?
    Thank you for your answer in advance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 31/07/2019 at 09:39

      Hey Qianying. No idea, sorry.

    • Reply Tung 13/08/2019 at 14:40

      Hi QIANYING,
      In the post it says “In the case you are married or in a civil partnership and you partner still lives outside of Germany, you cannot change tax class. You’d be then treated as a single person. ”
      So I guess you are class 1.

  • Reply Vinay 30/07/2019 at 20:29

    First of all thanks for this helpful post.
    This is my current situation. I will start working in Germany may be from next month. My wife and my kid will join me from India later in a month or two.
    These are my doubts.
    1. Should I first opt for class I and then apply for class change (class III) once my wife and kid are here?
    2. Is there a chance to opt for class 3 even before they are here?
    3. My wife will not be working at least for couple of years. Is it required for any kind of tax registration required for her?
    4. Approximately what could be % of tax deduction if my gross is between 50k-60k with a kid and wife not working?

    Really apologize for too many questions. But I am really confused with this topic on taxes.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 31/07/2019 at 09:38

      Hey Vinay. 1. Yes, that’s the only way for now. 2. No, since your partnership/marriage won’t be registered in Germany yet. 3. She will get a Steuernummer/Identifikiatiosnnumer like you, when she registers. See here 4. See here.

  • Reply Juan 23/07/2019 at 10:19

    Hi Bastian! Your article was very useful to me. Thanks!! I have already filled the form to change my tax class. Should I send it by post or hand in in person ?

    Thanks again !

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/07/2019 at 20:42

      Hey Juna. Best by post since you can then prove it you have sent it.

    • Reply yasmin 16/08/2019 at 11:39

      Hey Bastian! I have a question. My husband is working full time and I have a minijob and we have a child, we are also married, my question is as the minijob is free of taxes, will we have any problem if we change tax catergory?


      • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/08/2019 at 09:48

        Hey Yasmin. Not that i can think of.

  • Reply Karin 18/07/2019 at 20:52

    Hallo Bastien,
    Thank you for your time. question, we are married couple, im with tax class iii and my wife with slight less income with class vi. now, since we have a pre nup Agreement and living with a separate accounts, shes not happy of bearing most of the cut in her salary although im taking care of the household cost as a whole. the question, can we both sit on class iii ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/07/2019 at 14:18

      Hey Karin. Not that is not possible. 3 is only possible in combination with 5.

  • Reply Jamal 17/07/2019 at 13:29

    Hi Bastien,

    Thank you for the helpful post. Can you tell me what the difference between Steuernummer and Identifikationsnummer is? Apologies and I’m totally new to this?
    I have all these numbers but not sure which is which. How many digits are each usually? That would help too.

    Thanks again!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/07/2019 at 14:09

      Hey Jamal. This is explained in this post.

  • Reply Esther 16/07/2019 at 05:10

    My husband works in the Netherlands and its different no steuer klasses there so I have Steuer klass 5 . Can I change my Steuer klass in Germany

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 16/07/2019 at 09:55

      Hey Esther, you need to both be “taxable” in Germany.

    • Reply Charisma 08/09/2019 at 11:41

      Hi ! I’m having now tax class 4, for 5 years I didn’t change it. But my husband works in Netherlands. I have low income than him.But we both living in Germany. Can I get the class tax 1 or 5 ? or just stay on 4?
      Thanks in advance!

      • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/09/2019 at 16:03

        Hey Charisma. That border business is a little bit out of zone, sorry. I can only guess: If your husband is also a German resident, liable for taxes here, and there are no subtle tax relief schemes in place, then i guess you could have a 3/5 arrangement.

  • Reply Page 25/06/2019 at 19:20

    Hey Bastian – we are long time readers. We are on our way to changing tax class brackets as a married couple. Do we need to go to our local Finanzamt? Our local one is actually geographically further away than a closer one which is not technically our local Finanzamt?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/06/2019 at 16:41

      Hey Page. Glad to have been helping for a while. You should deal with the Finanzamt you depend from.

  • Reply Simeon 15/06/2019 at 14:38

    Hi Bastien, Thanks for all the info… I’ve got a couple of questions. I divorced in end of 2015 (remained single parent), but never changed my tax class and returning money since, as in reality I’m in class 2 as s single parent, and before this I was in class 3. In 2018 December, I married again and my partner came living with me. These are the questions:
    1. How can I register with the tax office together with my new partner so that I’m again in class 3 for 2018 and 2019? In other words, I don’t need to change tax classes just the identity of the partner…
    2. My partner has only income from Ireland and no income from Germany – what document does she need to show to the tax office here?
    Thanks a million!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/06/2019 at 10:57

      Hey Simeon. 1. As mentioned in the post, it’s too late for 2018. Not too late for 2019 if you change before end of November. If you married here in Germany, the tax class change should have happened already. If not, then refer to the post to do that.
      2. If she/he is now a German resident, she has to declare all income, regardless of origin via the Steuererklärung, Anlage AUS.

  • Reply Konstantinos 06/06/2019 at 12:04

    Bastien hi!
    I would be so grateful if you could help me here…i am very confused.
    I moved to Germany in the beginning of 2018 and I am an employee (teleworking) for a company abroad. I am official registered in Germany however I do not have any income in Germany. All of my income is generated abroad.
    Do i have to declare my income in Germany? I am entitled to any tax relief?
    thank you so much

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/06/2019 at 09:18

      Hey Konstantinos. Have you had a look at this post?

  • Reply Jason 05/06/2019 at 12:13

    Hi there Bastien,

    This blog is very very useful so thank you for keeping this going!

    Here’s an overview of my situation and my question:

    [edited by SiB Editor – Very very long comment. Please: the comment section is for short question only, not a whole consulting request. I am no consultant]

    I am very grateful for any advice you are able to offer.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/06/2019 at 09:14

      Hey Jason. sorry, i am no consultant. I can only give a few pointers in the comments section or some short advice, no a whole detailed response to complex cases.

  • Reply Joseph Dela Cruz 26/05/2019 at 20:17

    Hi ,
    We are lebenspartners we both in Full timer worker,,
    My man is in class 3 taxer and i’m class 5,,
    But now my parner is no more work with the class 3 taxer,
    And i work full time as class 5 taxer,
    Do we have to change the tax class that will not affect is support from the Arbeitam?
    Thank you .

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/05/2019 at 10:51

      Hey Jospeh. It’s not related.

  • Reply Surya 22/05/2019 at 13:45

    Hi Bastien,
    I am presently in Tax Class 1. Now my wife moved to Germany and she has started an internship which will be for 6 months only and finishes in November 2019.
    Please let me know if my wife should be registered in Tax Class 5?
    I believe I will change to Tax Class 3 .
    Would be great if you can confirm my understanding

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/05/2019 at 10:42

      Hey Surya. You would need to look at the tax simulator to understand if it makes sense. Can’t reply on so little details.

  • Reply Ashish Tyagi 21/05/2019 at 00:36

    I requested the tax class to be changed to 3 from 1 in February, but I am still receiving salary according to class 1. I checked with finanzamt and was told that changes were made in March. Do I need to inform the employer separately or finanzamt sends some information to the employer directly?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/05/2019 at 09:57

      Hey Ashish. The payslip should be adjusted already, but it doesn’t to ask your employer if they have received the update.

  • Reply Ozzy 16/05/2019 at 23:35

    Hi Bastian. My wife has approved family reunion Visa and she will join me. Currently, I am the 1. class and now I would like to change to 3. (and get 5. for my wife). I have a few questions regarding the filling of Antrag auf Steuerklassenwechsel, I hope it will be no problem for you to help me 🙂
    1.) Do I need to fill all fields on both pages? I am especially confused with questions from 32 to 42. Where can I exactly find all those numbers and should I leave empty for my wife since she didnt leave in Germany before?
    2.) Steuernummer… do I enter my existing steuernummer, or we as a couple will get new steuernummer and this field should leave empty?
    3.) 45, 46 and 47 I should leave empty, right?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/05/2019 at 13:55

      Hey Ozzy. 1)Those fields are to fill in if you switch to IV/IV with Faktor. So not relevant for you.
      2) Your current Steuernummer.
      3) Leave emtpy. Those fields are for the Finanzamt.

  • Reply SR 16/05/2019 at 19:02

    Hi Bastien, Thank you so much for all the time & work on this blog- it is a life saver!
    We moved to Berlin in 2017 July and my husband was employed and I a freelancer- tax class 3 and 5 respectively.
    Since july 2018 he left his employment and also changed to a freelancer. At the moment I am making a more regular income then him.
    Do we need to switch the tax class for me being in 3 and him 5 since I make the higher income now? Is it ok to do now or should we have done it before Nov 2018 for it to apply when i do the taxes for last year? Please advice. Thank you.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/05/2019 at 13:47

      Hey SR. You don’t need to do it no. Nothing of this is compulsory. And this won’t have any impact on your tax returns because this only controls the income tax rate on your payslip.

  • Reply Ravindranath 16/05/2019 at 10:57

    Hi Bastien,

    Recently I moved to Germany for my employment. I travel here with my Spouse and Kid. My Spouse will not work and going to join Volkshochschule and kid going to Kinder Creche. I will be in Tax Class 3, but will I get any benefits from my Spouse and Kid?

    Thanks You in Advance

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/05/2019 at 13:43

      Hey Ravindranath. Yes.

      • Reply Miguel 28/05/2019 at 14:38

        Hello Bastien, first of all thank you for all information and time spent on this blog. It is definitely very useful.
        My situation is similar to RAVINDRANATH. My wife is moving to Germany with me but she doesn’t have a job so I will change from class I to III and she will be class V.
        I have two question:
        1) As an unemployed she will not pay any taxes right?
        2) She will receive any benefits from the government? If yes, what benefits?
        Thanks a lot,

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/06/2019 at 14:40

          Hey Miguel. 1) If we talking about income tax still; no income, no tax. 2) see dedicated post here.

          • Miguel Berselli 14/07/2019 at 12:56

            I appreciate your reply Bastien!
            Quick question. My wife just registered in Germany. Do I need to wait any confirmation that my tax class changed to IV automatically or I can assume my tax class changed automatically to IV after registering her and I can go ahead and fill the form to finanzamt in order to change my tax class?

          • Bastien - Settle in Berlin 16/07/2019 at 09:48

            Hey Miguel. You’d need to register your marriage/civil partnership in Germany first.

  • Reply Julian 14/05/2019 at 22:22


    We are moving to Germany next month from Argentina. We live together with our spouse and we have a daughter, but we are NOT married (we have a certificate stating that we live together). She will not be working in 2019. Is marrying the only way to file our tax return jointly and be class III?


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