German income tax

We are all adults here and we all know that at some point, we have to deal with the petty and boring things of adulthood. Knowing about the German income tax is one of those things. It’s always useful to know how much your fair share to the community is.

German income tax simply explained

Bear with me okay ?

The German income tax in a nutshell (bear with me)

The German income tax is known as “Einkommensteuer“. For employees who have their wages as their only income, it’s fairly straightforward.

Employees will pay the tax called “Lohnsteuer” directly at the source, from your pay slip. It is taxing the income you will get in your pocket in exchange of your work force. It means that your employer will deduct the corresponding sum off your gross wage and transfer it to the state. The rate to which you will pay the German income tax depends on how big the number is on your pay check. If you want to know how high that number should be, i have also written a long piece about a salary in Berlin and what it should be. If you don’t have any alternative sources of income, it pretty much ends there.

However, other sources of income fall under taxation as well like revenue from rental investment, stock exchange operations or exceptional situations when selling a car, a house. If you are a landlord, then it will tax the rent you get from the tenants.

After the end of the year, going through your tax statement “Steuererklärung” lets you communicate exactly to your tax office what you have earned during that year. You are also able to state expenses eligible for tax cuts, whether you are an employee, self-employed or generally with multiple income sources. It is then possible to reduce your rate by a few hundred euros, or even get a few hundred euros back!

I have written a full guide on how to do your tax return in Germany here.


German income tax rate for a single person :

  • Until 8,004 € a year : not taxed
  • From 8,005 €  until 52 882 € a year : tax-level between 14 % to 42 %
  • From 52,882 € a year : 42 %
  • From 250,731 € a year : 45 %

Tip 1: Get married ! The German income tax sharply decreases for families (up to 7000€). It might be a good time to start looking for a wife/husband.

Tip 2: There are number of ways to grab a few more euros out of your gross salary like subscribing to a private health insurance or getting compensated for the commute you do everyday to go to work. It might worth investigating. If you have already bought a flat or a house, you can get tax returns if you decide to renovate it.

Tip 3: If you are bit lost or you need advice, it’s very common in Germany to call a tax specialist (Steuerberater) to help you optimize your tax returns. You can also use online tools like this one.


  • Reply Yuko 23/12/2018 at 01:15


    Thank you for sharing the tax knowledge.

    My husband and I are both British, and we live in London at the moment. I recently received a job offer from a Berlin- based company and I am really keen to take the job.

    I did some reasches and found that we have to live together for me to pay the reduced tax rate in Germany. My husband is unlikely to relocate with me to Berlin as he is on full-time employment in England, and my future employer doesn’t mind me only coming to Berlin occasionally. My new pay package will be about 60% more than his.

    I’m wondering if registering our resident address in the UK will help with the tax rate? Or registering both of our resided in Germany will be better ( but he’ll still be on an English payroll)

    Thank you in advance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/12/2018 at 20:49

      Hey Yuko. If i understand things well, it doesn’t look like you are going to a German resident so it’s probably going to be the british system applying here.

  • Reply GreedyTaxGrab 29/11/2018 at 23:45

    Hey, I am a German PHD resident in Australia (possibly forever if things go to plan). I receive a small scholarship from an Australian University. This amount is below the amount you need to pay on tax on in Australia. I filled in my German Tax return recently as I thought I needed to complete it and they now want to tax me on the amount of money I am earning in Australia. Even though this amount is very low due to a high cost of living in Australia. Is this right? There is a Double tax agreement between Australia and Germany but can this amount slip through because it is so low it is not taxed in Australia (but is more than 9000 euros).

    Have I done something wrong, is there some kind of non resident declaration I need to do so I don’t pay tax on this money in Germany. I don’t live there anymore. I may never live in Germany again if I am able to find work after my study.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 30/11/2018 at 09:52

      Hello. I have written a whole post about how to avoid double taxation here. Basically, it all boils down to your residency for that year. where have you spent more than 180 days?

  • Reply Natacha Enrique 15/11/2018 at 12:17

    Hi! I’m sorry to bother but I’ve been looking like crazy and I haven’t find and answer yet so I thought I might just ask here. I have a work permit that’s connected to the company I’m working for and on it it says I can also do freelance work (as long as this doesn’t become my main income).
    I’m not sure how to sign up as a web designer (or maybe just designer?) freelance. I know there’s a form that I can fill online, but do you happen to know where I can find the exact category I should apply for?
    Also, if I’m working full time and sign up as a freelancer, would I be paying more taxes? Will this “second job” as a freelancer be under the Category 6 of taxes?
    Thanks, your blog is awesome ♥

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 15/11/2018 at 21:22

      Hey Natacha. You can find a detailed guide on how to become a freelancer in Germany on this page. You will be paying more taxes yes, since you make more money.

  • Reply John Craig 30/10/2018 at 12:16

    Taxation is THEFT. Simple.

  • Reply Gracy 24/10/2018 at 01:16


    I would like to ask some question about my german husband who is working as a seaman in a cyprus registered vessel. Should he still need to pay tax here in hamburg even he is not employed directly here in germany.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/10/2018 at 22:31

      Hey Gracy. If he is GErman resident, he needs to declare and pay his taxes in Germany.

  • Reply Gen 23/10/2018 at 04:39

    I am in the process of negotiating salary for a company in Hamburg. I used the tax calculator and 47000 has higher net pay than 48000. I am more concerned of the net pay than the gross. Is there like an added advantage for having a higher tax rate? What I mean is I am trying to get advice if I should ask for 47k salary or 48k salary

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/10/2018 at 18:39

      Hey Gen. Your logic holds. I don’t see anything else that would speak against it. Those salary levels are in between 2 tax brackets so that’s definitely a clever thought.

  • Reply Jurgen Rauch 22/10/2018 at 22:05

    Hi, I just started to receive my German pension in May of this year, it is the only income I have in Germany and it is a small amount between
    350-400 dollars
    Do I have to fill out a tax-return?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/10/2018 at 18:29

      Hey Jurgen. Can’t possibly say with so little details.

  • Reply Jung 22/10/2018 at 17:44

    I am an american citizen and come to germany for months at a time but less than 6 months. While here I do some freelance teaching. I’m trying to figure out the 19% Mwst (Brutto) that studios take out automatically would apply to me being a non-taxable individual. There isn’t much clear info on that and it would seem then I’m paying taxes here in Germany and then again back in the U.S. at full rates which doesn’t seem right from what I’ve been reading.
    Clarifying it be very helpful and appreciated. I earn FAR below the $100,000 that becomes taxable as well for additional info.
    Thank you!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/10/2018 at 18:27

      Hey Jung. I am no expert but logic would tend to tell me this: you are not a German resident. Therefore your income is not taxed in Germany, only in the US. Concerning how you hand VAT, i guess the US system/rules apply; definitely no expert there. 🙂

  • Reply Ivan 21/10/2018 at 15:57

    Hi buddies,
    I’ve a few questions about tax refund, I hope you can help me 🙂

    – I’m EU citizen, and my wife as well. We are currently living in Finland and I’m moving there in less than one month to start a new job, but my wife will remain in Finland (at least for the first 6 months or year). So what’s my situation with the tax office? Is it possible for me to decrease the taxes?

    – Any experience about the compensation for the commuting?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/10/2018 at 18:11

      Hey Ivan. Your wife also has to be a German resident as well for you to be able to use the tax class system to your advantage. See here for more info. You can put commuting costs off in taxes.

  • Reply Marko 19/10/2018 at 09:47

    Hello everyone,

    I just wanted to ask something regarding my situation. I am working in Germany (Blue Card) since Jan 2018 but my wife still hasn’t received the reunification visa approval – should come in the next 2 weeks finally (since she was waiting for 8 months for the appointment in the Embassy). I forgot to mention that we come from Serbia (non-EU country).
    I am in the class category I still since she is not registered in Germany
    So this is the question: if she moves in in 2019 is it possible to claim retroactively my tax return also for the 2018 as well (class to be changed from I to III) since we are married for the last 4 years.

    Thank you all in advance.
    Best regards!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/10/2018 at 10:10

      Hey Marko. In my opinion, i don’t think it will be the case since your wife probably needs to be a German resident first.

    • Reply Faik 19/10/2018 at 12:46

      Hi Marko,

      Yes, once your wife comes to Germany and together you change your tax class to III, you can claim back tax return for 2018.
      My colleague also had the same situation and they got all cumulated tax class difference at once.

      • Reply Petar 09/11/2018 at 21:08

        Hi FAIK, are you sure? Can you please double check? From information which I have from my colleague, both spouses need to be registered to live in Germany in order to apply for tax return for relevant year. If his wife come after 31.12.2018. I think they will not be able to apply together for 2018 tax return. I would be so happy that I am wrong, since I am in same situation like Marko. Can you please double check?

  • Reply Silvia 16/10/2018 at 23:53

    Hey, I just want to share a bit of my experience: I live in another EU country(country number 2), I am originally from another EU country(country number 1) and I am searching for a job, given that I have recently graduated from country number 2. It is my first & longest visit in Berlin(6 days) and I kind of grew found of it. I was considering moving here and I even spoke to some companies and they showed interest in me. Of course, in my opinion & experience, I went to Jobcenter. They not only did not speak anything but German, but they were also telling me that I need to register and wait 3 months. I was constantly repeating that I want informations, not benefits, but they did not get it. I asked them for a website where I can get the laws and they said there is none(is this 1018 or what?). Nevertheless whenever you are in doubt in the country, go to the police. So this afternoon I was in Alexanderplats and asking the police information(where do I find information about tax system, salaries and accomodation?). They were clueless!
    So thank you very much for this website! As a person coming from outside, this is very helpful!

  • Reply Katy 16/10/2018 at 12:26

    Hi I’m a student doing working student in company(900/month) and in restaurant ( 250€/month). For my main job I don’t have tax to be paid. But my total income is 1150€ will my tax category change from 1 to 6. Can someone help me with this. I’m quite worried if I’ll fall into category 6. Could you explain me. Thanks in advance.

  • Reply Ines 12/10/2018 at 14:24

    I´m a student in Portugal, and I´m right now taking one voluntary internship in Frankfurt for 6 months. I will receive the minimum wage (8,84/hour) for 35h/week. My category is the I (1st) but I don´t know if I will have to pay any wage tax.
    Am I considered non-resident? (I register already in the city and I ´ll pay the heath, nursing, pension and unemployment insurances).
    After the time I will be in germany, is it possible to receive the tax return?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 15/10/2018 at 11:09

      Hey Ines, you are considered a German resident if you spend more than 6 months in the country. You will pay wage tax yes.

  • Reply Jaroslav 09/10/2018 at 09:46

    Hi guys!
    I work here in Berlin full time and planning to do a photoshoot for which I get about 400 Euro in cash. Not sure if I should inform the tax office about this income or just keep silent? Any recommendations?
    Thank you!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/10/2018 at 13:20

      Hey Jaroslav. It seems that you are aware of the rules and that you should declare all income.

      • Reply Jaroslav 09/10/2018 at 13:36

        Thanks Bastien! Would you know by any chance how to do so? Is it a long crazy paper filling process?

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 10/10/2018 at 13:04

          I suppose this means you aren’t a freelancer?

  • Reply Alex 08/10/2018 at 09:54

    I am not a Tunisian citizen (married Status) and I am not a resident or hold an European nationality. I own an apartment in Germany which I rent for 454 Euro/month, which is wired into my German bank account. I know that the annual income is below the taxable amount, but do I have to do a tax declaration anyway?
    Thank you for your answer.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/10/2018 at 13:18

      Hey Alex, you pay your taxes here if you are a resident in Germany.

  • Reply Jigar 04/10/2018 at 19:05

    I m a non-EU student having one mini job paying me 450 euros per month and another mini job paying me less than 450 euros so is it legal if i do two mini jobs? And what will be the tax situation? Please explain.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/10/2018 at 10:16

      Hey Jigar. Aren’t mini-jobs always 450€ flat? It is legal to have mutiple mini-jobs yes. Tax situation doesn’t differ from a normal job.

  • Reply Xia 01/10/2018 at 18:37


    I am Here in Germany temporary, I will be participating in Shows making money I have my business license from my country and I pay tax there, Do I need to pay tax here in Germany as well?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/10/2018 at 10:09

      Hey Xia. You won’t be German resident, so no.

  • Reply Hare Ram Rai 28/09/2018 at 10:50

    I came from India in the month of july and earning 60K per year in Berlin.
    I just wanted to know about my tax class?
    My wife came here after one month and she is not earning.We don’t have any child.
    I got a reply by saying that ‘Your tax code is 4 and you do not have a tax code’
    Can you please explain what does it mean?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 30/09/2018 at 19:37

      Hey Hare. Have you had a look at this post already? It has more details about tax classes.

  • Reply Paviash 06/09/2018 at 13:07

    I’m a full time employee, but i do some crafts as a hobby and sell online. Was not earning much till recently. But i’ve started making around 600-700€ per month now and I was wondering if i should include it for my tax. If so any idea how/where?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/09/2018 at 14:31

      Hi Paviash. You should definitely declare all income and if that amount is stable, you should probably register as a Gewerbe (Einzelunternehmer), which you can still have next to your full-time job. More info there.

  • Reply Taxpayer 05/09/2018 at 11:35

    I am working as a student in two places,
    The first job = 450 euro tax category 1 I don’t pay taxes from this one
    The second job = 450 euro tax category 6 I am paying taxes from this one
    According to my calculations, I will reach totally 9000 euro till the end of the year,
    My question is 14% tax is related for the whole amount of more than 9000 for example if I earn 10800 euro I must pay 10800*14% = 1512 or
    it is related to (10800-9000)*14% = 252 euro only.
    That is an important question to me, because in the first case it is better to me, to quit one of my jobs and don’t exceed 9000

    Thanks in advance,

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/09/2018 at 10:23

      Hey there. Income tax is already paid when you receive you payslip.

  • Reply Roger 12/08/2018 at 16:11

    Hello Bastien,

    Thank zou for this great platform.

    I am a NON-EU Student and I am emplozed in Self emplozment contract. I am earning around 150 euros per month or 1500 euros per zear.In this case, I want to know if i have to file the tax since the income is less gthan 9000 euros per zear which is taxable.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/08/2018 at 21:30

      hi roger. yes, you need to file but you are below the taxable income threshold.

  • Reply User 101 12/08/2018 at 00:27

    I live in Hamburg and I am expecting to receive a “fixed term” work offer soon in Berlin for either 6 months or 1 year.
    My wife will join me here in Germany starting next month.
    I will need a new apartment in Berlin, but me and my wife want to keep our place here in Hamburg as our main residence as I have spent quite some money to make it our home.
    Is that an adequate reason for us to claim our living expenses in Berlin as Doppelte Haushaltsführung for the period of the work contract?
    P.S: we’ll keep paying the rent for our apartment here in Hamburg and will come back every few weeks to see our friends.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/08/2018 at 21:57

      Hey Mario. You’d be better off asking that to a Steuerberater.

  • Reply Mo 06/08/2018 at 23:52

    Hello ,
    Thank you for your explained tax topic ,
    I would like to ask about a non-European student who is married but live in Germany without his wife and will work for only 4 months at amazon , is he going to pay tax and if he does under which category ?
    Thank you ,

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/08/2018 at 16:28

      Hi Mo. Yes, he has to pay income tax, probably under class 1. See more here.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/08/2018 at 22:41

      Hey Mo. Yes, everybody pays income tax. They will put you in the right category based on the information they have.

  • Reply Aleksandar Perišić 06/07/2018 at 08:37


    I should move to Berlin from 01.08. Wife and kids will stay at home, outside EU, until they got a papers. Am I need to declare tax category 1 or 3? In case category 1, have I some opportunities for smaller tax amount because I have wife and kids outside EU?


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/07/2018 at 21:55

      Hi Aleksandar. The Finanzamt will put you in the most appropriate category when you register. No need to worry about that for now. You can change the category when you partner registers here and your partnership is made official here too, if you want.

  • Reply Emilie 05/07/2018 at 15:01

    Hello over there .
    Me and my boyfriend are blue card holders and we just got a full time job in Munchen . Me the woman earn 42000€ brutto per year and my boyfriend 45000€ per year . So we will get married this month so can you tell me please which categories should we choose after we get married and how much we will earn netto per both because I really don’t get it how much we will earn with these salaries neto . Thank in advance

  • Reply Paulinho 02/07/2018 at 13:27

    Hello all, I have a question regarding the Classes of Salary. Has I was investigating if I’m marryed I might drop for Class3 from Class1, meaning more money, ok. I’m Portuguese, if I get marryed here and my wife stays in Portugal making the discounts but I discount to Germany, I get to class3? Or my wife should be also discounting to Germany? Dunno if you understood my question.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/07/2018 at 21:36

      Hi Paulinho. I am not not sure. Have a look at this post here for more info. If both people are German resident, it would make most sense that one of you in on class 3 and the other is 5.

  • Reply nina 16/06/2018 at 19:09

    I’m currently doing a master program in Germany. I do not work as my schedule is super packed this semester. However, I found a way to make some extra cash, it’s called domain flipping: basically, i buy domain names and then sell them at a higher price. Do you have any idea about whether there is a tax rate on the profit i make from this? assuming i do this just twice a year(a side hustle) and i make 2000 euros in total this year from selling 2 domain names.
    Thank you in advance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/06/2018 at 14:08

      Hi Nina. You need to declare any income you have while being a resident in Germany. For any income below 8.600€ per year, there is no income tax applied.

  • Reply raulph 19/05/2018 at 22:13


    I paid tuition fees in 2014 & 2015 but started a full time job only from Jan ‘2017. Can the tuition fees be tax deductible for the income in year 2017?

    With no income from 2014-16 it seems logical that I can claim tax deduction in 2017 when I actually started a full time job.

    Appreciate your time in reading & replying to this…

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/06/2018 at 14:35

      Hi Raulph. You can do a tax return for 2017 and i believe put some or all of the tuition fees for that year, as “Ausbildung/Weiterbildung kosten” can be put off up to 3 or 4 years after the year the fees were paid. Better check that yourself but that would be possible in my opinion.

  • Reply waqas 28/02/2018 at 19:13

    I am working as a werkstudent on student visa in an IT company and posses a student visa. In my allowed legal working hours, I am paying taxes and pension out of my salary (it gets automatically deducted). Does it count as taxes to apply for german settlement permit?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/02/2018 at 20:04

      Hi Waqas. This goes beyond my knowledge i’m afraid.

  • Reply Michelle Stobart 27/02/2018 at 22:36

    I’m a US citizen who teaches yoga and does massage. I’ve been invited to teach in a German Yoga Studio for a limited engagement. I expect I’ll make 1000 € or
    less. Am I required to pay into German taxes? I will be required to claim my income on my US taxes.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/02/2018 at 20:04

      Hi Michelle. You are not a German resident and i suppose you will bill from your US business, so no is probably is the answer.

  • Reply Mary Taylor 14/02/2018 at 10:54

    Hi, I am trying to send my taxes through online submission and I am told that my pin isn’t right. I don’t really remember ever creating a pin. Do you know anything about this.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/02/2018 at 22:52

      Hi Mary. Get in touch with their customer support about this.

  • Reply Mel 13/02/2018 at 12:49

    Any idea on the tax rules if you own a property abroad (within EU) which is rented out.
    What happens if you sell it, do you pay tax to germany?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/02/2018 at 22:45

      Hi Mel. You should probably get in touch with an expert about this. If you are a German resident, you need to pay income tax, regardless of the income’s source or location.

    • Reply RiceBowl 07/03/2018 at 06:44

      Any income that you receive no matter from where in the world, is taxable in Germany if you spend more than 181 days on German soil. If you already paid taxes in the place where your property is located, you need to contact the tax office and check if there is a double-taxation agreement between Germany and this country. If there is one, you can either be exempted or claim the double-paid amount back. Otherwise things will get complicated and you leave money on the table.

  • Reply aaron 02/02/2018 at 08:29

    Is it correct that the steuerklass is important just for the monthly paid tax that is being deducted from the paycheck every month (like pre payments), and that at the end of the year after reporting the actual income to the finanzamt, they will calculate how much tax we were supposed to pay according to the real income? If it’s true, how can I know how much tax me and my wife have to pay at the end?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/02/2018 at 20:17

      HI Aaron. The statement at the end of year allows you to adjust the total taxable income by declaring tax relief items, or else additional income. You can see the difference in taxable income by using simulation apps like this one here for example.

  • Reply Donnations Art Field 29/01/2018 at 23:31

    I live actually in Berlin and I’m rich. I’m doing privately online also, occasionally, for free art consultings. Comes eventually who can feel, voluteer donations. The donations comes in my german bank account. Do I have to pay taxes on this donations that comes from artists?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/02/2018 at 19:29

      Hi there. Donations are still considered an income and must be declared as such, probably as results of a “Liebhaberei/Hobby”. Source

  • Reply Iqbal 09/01/2018 at 12:29

    Respected sir/madam,

    Could you help me please, I want to know about tax class I am married and I have 4th class. I have one part time job if I do one more part time job then my tax class would be changed or not?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 10/01/2018 at 22:53

      Hi Iqbal. It depends who is the biggest earner (3/5) is your couple, or if you are eearning the same (4/4 for each)

      • Reply Iqbal 08/02/2018 at 20:02

        Thanks so much sir for replying.

  • Reply Magdalena 11/12/2017 at 11:59

    Hi, I have a question too, if you can help me out 🙂

    I will be working in Berlin for 6 months next year, as a Erasmus student.
    I will work full time for 1550 Eur, personal insurance and liability insurance will be covered by me, and accident insurance by my company.

    As I understood from researching, I will belong to the 1st class of taxes, but I am interested if students have some special procedure for taxing?

    Thank you in advance,

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/12/2017 at 22:45

      Hi Meggie. Students can apply for a tax return the same way as employees.

  • Reply Amit 22/11/2017 at 10:18

    Hi ,
    My question is realted to tax class change .
    Currently I am liviing in Munich
    I am married person having one child.
    My family will join me in the next month i.e. Dec 2017.
    I will apply for tax class change from tax class 1 to 3.
    If i change my tax class to 3 , am I eligible for tax refund according to tax class 3 or tax class 1 for year 2017?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/11/2017 at 18:56

      Hi Amit. No, your tax rate will be different for that one month only.

  • Reply Tsvet Spasov 21/11/2017 at 21:51

    there are some interesting questions here and I would like to get involved as well.
    I am currently living and working in Munich and I am a British citizen. I am thinking about buying an apartment in Munich and I want to rent it out.
    As soon as I buy the apartment I want to move back to the UK and rent out the apartment.
    Let’s say for argument sake that my monthly rental income is 1000 Euros. How much tax would I have to pay annually?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/11/2017 at 18:58

      Hi Tsvet, there are so many factors impacting this; impossible for me to say. Depends on your situation as a tax payer and the local tax laws in Bayern.

  • Reply Emma 03/11/2017 at 23:56

    I have a question, can you please answer as soon as possible, it’s really important….I am currently working a mini job (30 hours a week), that will end on 14.01.2018. And I just found a new job (full-time job, 40 hours a week). I plan to stop the mini job after the expiration of the contract.

    My question is, can I do both jobs at the same time? what will my tax situation be?
    Thank you for anticipated answer and suggestion.

    Best regards

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/11/2017 at 18:58

      Hi Emma. Yes, you can have both occupations at the same time as long as both employers know and agree to the other job in the contract. From a tax perspective, it doesn’t change your tax class but you have to make sure you are allowed to work these many hours.

      • Reply Sunny 25/07/2018 at 02:40

        But if you are taking pay from two jobs at a same time , You will be in tax class 6 ?

  • Reply Sabah 28/10/2017 at 21:36


    I need to understand Rentenversicherung concept. I have started to deduct from my salary every month as I have the Blue card and they asked me that I should pay Rentenversicherung which i had started. But how and when i can get this money back ?
    Will i get back whole money ? or German rules deduct something. please explain in detail.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 31/10/2017 at 09:13

      Hi Sabah, this is not income tax although it is deducted from your salary also. This money goes to your public pension scheme. You can transfer these rights to your home country’s scheme if there is an agreement between both countries.

  • Reply Max 30/09/2017 at 06:41

    I have a question,
    I am working right now in a social year Freiwilligensocialjahr – bethel and they pay my taxes, so my question is if I finish it or stop working, do I need to pay tax or not?
    If yes how do I inform myself about it?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 30/09/2017 at 10:44

      Hi Max, you won’t need to pay extra income taxes if that’s what you ask. Inform yourself about it by googling it or by asking your whoever employs you.

  • Reply Dima 28/06/2017 at 22:09

    Hi, I moved to Berlin in July 2016 and was officially registered in the same month. I’m on a part time contract with an employer outside of Germany and that’s my only source of income. So when am I supposed to pay my first instalment of income tax?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/06/2017 at 10:02

      As a German resident, you will need to declare this income as part of your Steuererklärung. To avoid double taxation, you will need to submit a “Doppelsteuerabkommen”; a bilateral agreement with whatever country where your employer is.

  • Reply Yon 24/06/2017 at 20:19


    I have question.
    I work on a cayman island registered vessel as a seaman.
    And I live in germany.

    The company that pays me is from outside Germany.
    And I want to get paid into my german bank account.

    Will I just have to pay regular income tax
    over that?



    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/06/2017 at 10:00

      Hi Yon. That would a question for an expert, especially if work on international waters registered under a cayman island pavillon. You might have to prove that you paid your income tax already. Ask a Steuerberater.

  • Reply Ina 24/05/2017 at 14:58


    What would be the expected tax over a received severence payment? My employer might compensate me with up to 3 yearly salaries for a mutual cancelation of my working contract, but I am not aware how much tax over the gross amount I will have to pay.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/05/2017 at 12:16

      Hi Ina. This would account for an extra-ordinary income. A quick search uncovered this tool to calculate what would be left from your severance payment (“Abfindung”).

  • Reply Yasmine 24/05/2017 at 12:20

    Your website is really really helpful. Well explained , with humour and lightness….just what this topic needs.

    Thank you very much.


  • Reply Mandi 27/04/2017 at 12:46


    I have a question regarding changing tax category, but as I didn’t found a more a appropriate place in this internet site I’m posting it here.
    I have been in Berlin from almost 3 month, and at the end of this month I got married. My wife has not joint me yet as her reunion visa will be ready only in September. My question is if I can already change my tax category so that I can reduce my taxes?

    Thanks in advance

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/04/2017 at 09:53

      Hi Mandi. It would only make sense if you were to wait for your wife to be here to change your tax class. Having a different tax class than your wife is only cutting your taxes if you married in the eye of the German law, and if she has a much lower income than you. When those 2 conditions are fulfilled, then you can switch.

  • Reply Miklos 21/11/2016 at 20:02

    “tax-level between 14 % to 42 %” is totally useless if one wants to calculate the income tax.

    • Reply johnniee 01/07/2018 at 20:22


  • Reply Sooty 09/06/2015 at 14:58

    Thank you …..

  • Reply Alexander 08/06/2015 at 21:10

    Hi. Usualy, Germany will not tax your Pension when it is already taxed in the UK. But it will take it into consideration when determining the tax rate on any other income taxable in Germany (like employment income). This functionality is called ‘progression clause’. The actual effect on the German taxes will depend on the amount of your income taxable in Germany and, of course, the annual total of your income from the UK Pension.
    Please note, the answer is just based on the rough facts of your questions. I agree with the general advise: ask a professional tax advisor with some experience on expat or international tax. Best, Alexander

  • Reply Sooty 07/04/2015 at 17:40

    What happens if you are living on a uk pension that is already taxed in the uk and is worth thruppence?
    Cheers Sooty

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 14/04/2015 at 15:07

      The best might be to ask a Steuerberater. Whenever you have more than one income source, it’s best to go with a professional.

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