Tax return in Germany for foreigners made easy – Steuererklärung

It’s that time of the year again: the time to do your tax return in Germany otherwise known as “Steuererklärung”.  Yes sir/m’am, you’ll be able to get money back, and sometimes up to a few thousand euros. We show you how in this step by step guide.

Tax return in Germany

The road to your tax refund in Germany :

Before your panic when thinking “I haven’t done my tax return this year!”,  let me assure you that you won’t have any problems with your Finanzamt if you forgot to file your tax statement. As an employee, you are taxed every month off your wage. If your salary is your only income, then it will be a piece of cake to get your tax refund. You have already paid your taxes, now your job is to obtain as much refund as you can! For freelancers, it’s of course another story as it is compulsory.

The average tax return in Germany is close to 1000€ nation-wide. Sounds interesting doesn’t it?

Should i be doing one?

It is compulsory for self-employed people to do. For employees, it is only compulsory if they are in one of the following situations:

Income sources

  • Additional income (not from salary) superior to 410€.
  • Salary replacement income (like unemployment benefits) superior to 410€.
  • More than one employer in the year.
  • More than 2 salaries (like a full-time job and a minijob).

Family situation

However, even if you don’t have to do it, you may as well do it, as there are chances you get money back too.

So how can I do my tax return in Germany?

If you are confident enough to do it on your own, do as follow. Otherwise, jump to the next title.

First you have to make sure you get all the right papers. It is recommended to download the forms directly from the official website this way : here.
(Click on the right hand side on “Einkommensteuer mit allen Anlagen”)

If you are an employee , you need the following forms (e.g for 2018) :

  • ESt 1 V 2018 (The main form that details general info like your adress, iD nummer,etc)
  • Anlage N 2018 (The form to detail your income as an employee)
  • Anlage Vorsorgeaufwand 2018 (The form to detail your insurances)

If you are self-employed, you need the following forms (e.g for 2018) :

  • Est 1A 2018
  • Anlage S 2018 (Freelancers only)
  • Anlage G 2018 (Gewerbetreibende only)
  • Anlage USt 2018 (if you pay V.A.T)
  • Anlage GeSt 1A 2018 (Gewerbetreibende only)
  • Anlage EÜR (If turnover is more than 17 500€ a year)

On this website,  it is also possible to download an official tool called ELSTER (ELektronische STeuerERklärung) onto your computer. This tool enables you to proceed to your tax return in Germany via the internet, saving both you and your Finanzamt a lot of time. You need to sign-up for an account and you receive your password by post.

Honestly from there, i will gladly direct you to one of the best guides made in English around by our good friends of ToyTown Germany. It is very neat, clear and complete to do your tax return in Germany in English properly. I don’t see how i could give better information on how to fill in all those forms.

What now?

  1. Print the forms out.
  2. Sign them.
  3. Find a post office.
  4. Send them to your local Finanzamt.
  5. Done !

Wait for 1 or 2 months before you get any answer, and hopefully, a little ka-ching will appear on your bank account so you can afford this awesome guitar you spotted, or else, paying for your holidays to Croatia.

I don’t feel confident filling in my tax declaration in Germany alone, how can i get help?

If you are not so good with numbers or a bit scared of doing mistakes because of the German language, there are other ways to do your tax return in Germany.

Good value for the money: self-help online platforms

If this is too much to do, there are also online tools that make it super easy to get your tax declaration in Germany right for a maximum return. You might consider SteuerGo for example that i can really recommend for employee and freelancers alike, especially if it’s your first time.

  • Your hand is really guided step-by-step with the tool in a clean interface.
  • Save progress at any time when you register for a free account.
  • It’s also fully in English (!) at every step of the process.
  • You can even call a hotline if you have questions.
  • For self-employed people, it also lets you do
    additional forms like (Einnahmenüberschussrechnung (EÜR), Umsatz- und Gewerbesteuererklärung).
  • It only costs 25€ which is perfect when you don’t earn enough to afford a Steuerberater.

They also let you know in real-time how much you are getting back so you know if it’s worth the one-time-fee. No need to pay anything before submitting to the Finanzamt (they also do that for you). You can give it a spin for free. 🙂

SteuerGo does not support one thing for employees though: if you have had a foreign employer that year. In this case, you can turn to platforms like SmartSteuer which also supports that (No English though).

Worth it if you have a more complex situation: a Steuerberater

You can also turn to professional tax advisers in Germany for this. A Steuerberater is a trained agent capable of preparing, processing and submitting your tax declaration in Germany. They are accountants usually experienced into finding particular rules that is relevant to your tax profile to optimize your return. Even if their fees are controlled by certain laws, you usually have to pay a few hundred euros for their services. This is why it’s only relevant if your situation is a bit more complex like earning relatively well, being married, having kids, owning a house and having different sources of income. It’s also quite normal for freelancers and self-employed persons to have one.

If you don’t know where to start your search for a Steuerberater, you can turn to platforms like Ageras. They search and find one for you based on your profile and needs. The service is free and the offers you receive non-binding.

Well said cat-friend, (deadline is 31st of July though) Source: Giphy.com

FAQ

What is the tax return deadline in Germany?

In theory, the deadline is to the 31st of July of the following year (for people that obliged by law to submit one). However, you can ask for an extension if you are short on time. Using a Steuerberater allows you to have even more time, as they have until February of the year after to do it (eg: a submission in Feb 2020 for the year 2018). Be aware that there is a penalty of 25€ per late month.

Important note: employees whose sole income are their salaries are not required by law to submit a tax return. This means that the deadline moves to 4 years in the future. For example, you can do your tax return for the year 2018 until the last day of 2022. Even more importantly:

As an employee, you can claim a tax return for up to 4 years prior the current year. Pretty handy if you forgot to do it those years to maximize return.

When will i get my money after submitting all the forms?

It takes between 8-12 weeks for the Finanzamt to process your files and obtain your tax refund in Germany on your account. It’s usually quicker when sending everything out electronically. A poll made by a tax payer’s association uncovered the following waiting times to hear from the Finanzamt:

  • 18 % have to wait about 6 weeks
  • 32 % 6 to 12 weeks
  • 32 % up to half a year
  • 18 % longer than half a year

What should i do if i am unhappy about the results, or if some things were misinterpreted?

If you think the Finanzamt made a mistake to process your case, it is possible to protest and open a case (Einspruch) to explain your situation, within one month after receiving the Steuerbescheid.

I started to work without a Steuer ID from the Finanzamt… (maximum tax rate)

When this happens, your wage is being taxed at the maximum rate possible. It is possible to get the difference between that rate and the normal rate back when doing your tax return the following year.

I have received income from abroad the past year; how should i go about this to avoid double-taxation?

The Finanzamt requires of all German residents to declare any income sources, even if they are coming from abroad and have nothing to do with your life here. If that income was already taxed from that country, you might avoid double-taxation if it has agreed to a tax treaty with Germany. If so, you can do that by filling the Anlage AUS – Ausländische Einkünfte for your declaration. More info about that here.

I have left the country already, can I try to do a tax return and will the Finanzamt transfer the money to my foreign bank account?

Absolutely, you can do a tax return for the year and months you left the country. The Finanzamt will transfer you the money in your foreign account if you give them all the necessary information, and a specific request to do so. You will very likely support the costs of the transfer on your own.

Ps 1 : Don’t forget to sign all those forms, otherwise they won’t be processed by your dear Finanzamt !

Ps 2 : If you feel like you are running out of time, you can let know your Finanzamt before the 31st of July you need more time. They usually give you an extra 2 or 3 months to do your tax return in Germany.

1,053 Comments

  • Reply PATHIYIL 19/08/2019 at 14:53

    Hello Bastein,
    Thanks for your posts 🙂 I moved to Germany last year May and currently has a tax category of 3.
    1.Can ELSTER take care of the foreign employment of that year?
    2. Are language classes tax deductible for my non working spouse?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/08/2019 at 22:52

      Hey 1. Yes. 2.I donÄt know.

  • Reply Diana 17/08/2019 at 03:39

    Hi, I am a research scientist who moved to the USA two months ago, and currently live there. Previously, I was in Germany for 8 years. I am going to take the tax treaty option between US and Germany, and therefore do not pay the US tax here. My question to you is if in that case, I should pay tax to Germany, and if I should do the Steuererklaerung remotely (even though I do not live in Germany anymore, do not plan to go back to Germany, and do not have any income in Germany).

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/08/2019 at 09:54

      Hey Diana. You can do a tax return for the years before your departure yes, but i am not aware of how you opting in for this treaty would be impacting that…

  • Reply Tom 09/08/2019 at 20:31

    Hello,

    I am expat, I work and live in Germany for several years and pay all the taxes locally here.
    My question is about the taxation of the interest in foreign bank taking into account that the rate Foreign_Curr/Euro was changed dramatically over past years.
    For example, if you put 100k Local_Curr to deposit in 2014 and get it back in 2017, the Bank will pay you something about 110.000 Local_Curr (about 2% yearly). So you can report to Finansamt this number (12.000 Local_Curr ) as your interest from abroad.

    However if you look on Foreign_Curr/Euro pair for the same period you can recognize, that in 2014 you had 100k Local_Curr = 20k EURO and in 2017 you have 110k Local_Curr = 29k EURO because of pair rate that year. So, in EURO you have about 9k EURO interest.

    Will FA require you report about your foreign interest in EURO or in your local currency for the day of report? Is there any official law/rule?

    Thank you in advance

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/08/2019 at 10:41

      Hey Tom. This is a bit beyond my knowledge sorry. My best guess is that it matters what you got in your bank account, in euros at the time of the last day of the reporting.

  • Reply Paul 07/08/2019 at 14:23

    Hi! This is great!
    My wife just got a job in another city. We were in III (me) and V (she). Now she is going to earn more than me (around 60% to 40% of the total income). 2 questions:

    1- is it worht to change now to me being on V and her on III?
    2- TO which office do we have to submit the form to? to the one where I live now or to the one where she lives now??

    Thanks for your help!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/08/2019 at 16:28

      Hey Paul. 1- That’s why the calculator is there. You can decide with a little simulation. 2- Excellent question. You don’t have the same place of residence?

  • Reply sushant shekhar 02/08/2019 at 14:41

    Hi all,

    I moved to Germany recently on Blu Card VISA from Inida . I am married but my wife did not came with me . She will join me next year .

    Am i eligible for tax class 3 or tax class 1?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/08/2019 at 11:22

      Hey Sushant. You wife needs to be in Germany for you to be on a 3/5 combo with her.

  • Reply Vanji 02/08/2019 at 11:25

    Being a foreigner, I have worked in Munich, Germany for 6 months only in 2014. Am I eligible to claim my tax refund now?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/08/2019 at 11:21

      Hey Vanjia. No that’s too late.

  • Reply Ana 31/07/2019 at 17:25

    Thank you for the article.
    I’m registered in Bonn but live and work in Munich for now.
    Should I write my address in Bonn or Munich for the tax return?
    I would rather come to the Finanzamt here in Munich and save the cost in time and money of going to Bonn.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/08/2019 at 11:03

      Hey Ana. Your Finanzamt is located where you live, so Bonn.

  • Reply Franklin Omwanor 27/07/2019 at 14:52

    Good day. I worked in germany in 2018, I live in France, my employer declared my tax, completed the tax return forms with me and ordered me to send it by post, which I did. Now it’s more than two months ago and I am yet to receive the tax return or any message of any kind from them in germany. So what do I do? And are you sure they will refund the money to me, since I live in France and only worked in germany through a job agency.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/07/2019 at 13:48

      Hey Franklin. Processing times can be long. I can’t tell about your situation in particular because i don’t know the precise arrangements.

    • Reply Miki 29/07/2019 at 20:17

      Hi, Bastian. I really hope for some help, desperately needed. The whole 2018. I was working from Germany for one Norwegian company online. I have a contract of permanent employment and I pay all my taxes here in Germany since I lived here. Now I have to pay the taxes for the previous whole year. The problem is I started paying for my other contributions (pension, health ins. etc) in Germany from 20. February, and before that it was paid in Norway (January and 20 days in Feb). So my problem now is how do I present this in Steuergo f.ex. Because if I don’t include the contributions I paid in Norway in Jan and Feb my tax to pay is pretty high. Totally lost, and late, guilty as charged. Thanks in advise.

      • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 31/07/2019 at 09:05

        Hey Miki. I have no idea for cases like this. Maybe speak to a professional or look at this post?

  • Reply Karan Shah 25/07/2019 at 09:45

    Hi Bastein,

    I am an Indian passport holder and I was in Germany on a work permit Visa from 25.11.2017 to 24.05.2018.
    Am I eligible for Income tax return for 2018, If I had left Germany on 24.05.2018?
    If yes can you please point out to the document which state the same.

    Thanks in advance for the help

  • Reply Fabio 22/07/2019 at 15:35

    Hi Bastein,
    Here my situation:
    I moved to Germany in may.2019 with my wife. She isn’t working here in Germany.
    Until now, I’ve been charging as Category I but I’m asking to change to Category 3.
    Since I’m the only one that is working I think that it was a mistake be charged as Category 1.
    Could I request a refund for this months that I’ve being charged as category 1?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/07/2019 at 09:39

      Hey Fabio. You can do this via your tax returns, next year.

  • Reply Jean 22/07/2019 at 13:25

    I am separated and we filed jointly until 2017. My question is, do I have to declare my spousal support? I have tried the online filing and it doesn’t list this item as “extra income”.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/07/2019 at 20:41

      Hey Jean. You would need to use the Anlage Unterhalt (Anlage U) to enter this type of income for your tax declaration.

  • Reply DP 18/07/2019 at 16:28

    Hi Bastein,

    Firstly, thank you for the post as it is very useful. My questions are:
    1) For the first time if I am doing my tax returns is the deadline July’19 or can I do anytime in this year. I want to declare tax return for 2017 and 2018.
    2) I want to add my tuition fess which occurred from Oct 2015 until Oct 2017 (I paid in installments) but in which year tax return should I add them? (In the year 2017 I started working therefore I have details to file my tax return from this year)

    Thank you.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/07/2019 at 14:15

      Hey DP. 1) As mentioned in the post. The July deadline is only for self-employed people. 2) From the year you were considered a German resident, liable for income tax here in my opinion.

  • Reply Fabian 18/07/2019 at 15:01

    Hi! Thank you for an awesome and helpful article!
    I have a question myself, and I hope you can take a couple of minutes to answer it, I’d really appreciate that!

    I’m a non-EU citizen, and I’ve been working with a valid permit and valid Steuernumber, tax ID and whatever. I’ve worked in Berlin for 3 months and my employer was handling my taxes normally. I’ve received a better job offer in Sweden, and I’ll be moving out of Germany in August, so my question would be: Am I entitled to any tax refunds for this 3 months of work? If yes, do you think using SteuerGo as a way to pursue the tax refund is a good idea?

    Many thanks in advance!

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

      Hey Fabian. If you were considered a German resident and liable for income tax here during that time, then yes. You can use anyway you think is best.

  • Reply Pete 12/07/2019 at 10:22

    Hi, I sent for my 2017 tax via SteuerGo in Jan/Feb 2019, and it said i was due to receive a refund of nearly 1k.

    Happy days, however in March I received a letter to say I needed to give more information, but it was not clear on what I needed, so I just left it. Fast forward to now, July, I received a new letter to say I owe them 1k!!
    My friend called them and because I had missed the deadline in March, and I should have received a breakdown of the tax in June but I never, they estimated my tax in the end and now I owe them money 🙁

    Is there a way I can get this upheld, or re do my tax properly for 2017, or pay for it and claim it back etc?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/07/2019 at 21:57

      Hey Pete. As mentioned in the post, if you aren’t satisfied with the outcome, you can always open a case (Einspruch) for them to reconsider it, within one month of receiving your Steuerbescheid. It might be better to use a Steuerberater if you were not sure about what to provide. Good luck!

    • Reply Paul 17/07/2019 at 00:27

      Hi,

      I have already moved back to UK but on taxfix app it is asking for my German address. Should I give my old German address and UK bank details?

      Thanks
      Paul

      • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/07/2019 at 10:12

        Hey Paul. I’m not familiar with this app so i can’ tell sorry.

  • Reply S 10/07/2019 at 10:50

    This is a very helpful article. Thanks. I have one question though for which I couldn’t find any info on the net so far (at least in English) – I was sent a notification to make an advance tax payment by the Finanzamt for 2018, based on my returns filed for 2017. I made that payment in January 2019. Now while filing the return for 2018, I am not able to figure out in which form and section can I provide that detail. I couldn’t find that in Anlage N, for example. Can you please help me with that? Thanks..

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/07/2019 at 21:48

      Hey S. Which tax are you talking about now? Income tax? That’s not very likely for employees.

  • Reply Jo 08/07/2019 at 15:12

    Hi,

    I am taxed on category 1 and I believe there is a tax free allowance of 9,168 Euro per year. Is this amount claimed back on a yearly basis when I claim my taxes or automatically calculated on my monthly payroll.

    Regards
    Jo

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/07/2019 at 21:42

      Hey Jo. Your employer is precalculating your income tax “load” and taking it from your payroll monthly.

  • Reply Filipp 07/07/2019 at 17:10

    Hey, Bastien, thanks for the information.
    I worked from October 2018 for 3 months with a wrong tax class, so the problem is to get back the difference. Which documents (I suppose, copies should be enough?) do I have to add to the filled forms?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/07/2019 at 21:41

      Hey Filip. You’d get the money automatically by filling in the info from the Lohnsteuerbescheinigung given to you by your employer.

  • Reply Malini Dasgupta 07/07/2019 at 13:45

    Hi,
    I had a question. So I used SteuerGo to submit my tax return. I didn’t apply for this special certificate from Elster. I filed it anyway (sending a copy of the generated tax return form) to the Finanzamt 2 months ago. My question is will my tax return be considered then?
    Is this certificate mandatory to file the return?

    Thank you for your time.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/07/2019 at 21:37

      Hey Malini. I’m not i understood the question: you’d need that Elster certificate to use Elster. But you have used SteuerGo… Not sure what the question is….

  • Reply Akash 03/07/2019 at 08:39

    Hello,

    I was a Student studying masters in Germany from September 2016-May 2019. I paid 20000€ as my tuition fees. I heard it is possible to Claim part of this tuition fees as tax return when I start my Job. Since I am currently working, how should I proceed with the tax return of my tuition fees? I tried using Websites like wundertax für studierende, but I am confused if its applicable for foreigners studying in Germany? Also do I just have to submit Information on the Website or do I have to also post any documents to the Finanzamt?
    Also during my masters studies I worked as Student Hiwi for 11 months (>450€) and did an internship for around 6 months.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/07/2019 at 14:49

      Hey there. If you are/were a German resident, then you can do your tax return and the same rules apply, regardless of your nationality.

  • Reply Josh 30/06/2019 at 00:12

    Hi Bastien,
    Thank you so much for your article!
    I moved to germany last year for a new job, and was taxed during the first month at the max (tax category 6) since I didn’t have a tax Id yet.
    Now the tax category got fixed the next month after receiving my tax id and became category 1.
    So I filed my tax returns to get back the over-taxed amount of the first month, and after a few months I receive a letter from the finanzamt asking me to send them the proof of income on my home country (outside EU) of last year before moving to germany so they can calculate how much they’ll give me back.
    I am quite confused by their request as I fail to see the relationship between my previous income outside the EU and the income of my first month of work in germany. It seems to me that since I have a tax id now, it would be straightforward to calculate what I should get.
    Could you please advise?
    Thank you!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/07/2019 at 22:37

      Hey Josh. This is about your whole tax return and not the tax class/category, which btw, only controls your income tax rate on your payslip. They would need that info regardless of your situation the first month.

  • Reply Bheema nayaka 26/06/2019 at 19:26

    Hello,
    I worked in Germany 3 months in an financial year 2018 and earned 17000EUR.
    Could you please let me know approximately how much tax should I pay.

  • Reply Vlado Vuckovic 23/06/2019 at 11:41

    Hello dear people! I’m leaving Germany on 30th June with my wife, and we both have worked i Germany for 6 months exactly. We will receive our Lohnsteuerbescheinigung with our last salary statement. I’m wondering if I can submit for a tax return immediately, or do we have to wait for end of financial year? We are both EU citizens, and still have an open German bank account, however we will not be returning to work in Germany in foreseeable future. Thoughts? Love your work!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/06/2019 at 20:26

      Hey Vlado. The forms for next year are not out yet. You need to wait until next year.

  • Reply Bheema 22/06/2019 at 16:27

    Hello,
    I worked in Germany from March 1s 2018 to may 26th 2019 ,I earned around 17000EUR ,and paid around 3700 EUR ,now from my employer side I claiming tax return from Germany.

    How much tax refund o can get approximately.
    By the way ,I’m single and not belongs to church
    tax.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/06/2019 at 21:01

      Hey Bheema. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Not possible for me to say on so litte details sorry.

  • Reply Peter 18/06/2019 at 14:51

    Hi Bastien ! 🙂

    I don’t know what to do in my situation, I left Germany last year.
    I worked with a German contract from middle 2016 to early 2018 (February), I made my Steuererklarung with Steuergo but now the finanzamt asked me what was my foreign income in 2016 when I moved to Germany (was zero, only German salary) and my foreign income in 2018 after I left, but again I made some tour around the globe and didn’t got any salary appart one for 15 days in september (1900$ in Canada).
    I had also many exepenses for relocation at the end of the year in December, is there a way to consider that ?
    Should I say zero for 2016 and just give my pay slip in 2018 ? I didn’t make any tax declaration in other countries than Germany from 2016 to 2018.

    Thanks a lot !

    Peter

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/06/2019 at 09:28

      Hey Peter. Relocation expenses can be put off in taxes yes. You should proceed as you suggested, no foreign income in 2016 and that wage in 2018.

    • Reply Bheema 22/06/2019 at 16:29

      Sorry from March 1st 2018 to may 26th 2018

  • Reply Brijda 18/06/2019 at 11:48

    Hi Bastein,
    Recently I read in an article that if a student’s salary exceeds around 8,500 Euros annually, then he/she is not eligible to get tax refund. I am a working student and my annual salary exceeded 10,000 Euros in 2018. The monthly tax that was deducted was mostly around 9.5%. So am I eligible for getting any money back? If yes, then approximately, how much tax will be deducted or how much money should I expect to get back?
    Thank you and best regards!

  • Reply Jason 14/06/2019 at 09:48

    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:

    – In May 2018 my wife and I legally separated. We have 2 children together (4&6yrs) and they now live with my wife. In Feb 2019 we agreed that our marriage was irreconcilable.
    This year when it came to submitting my tax return, I was informed by LHP, our joint tax advisors, that this needed to be done jointly as we are still legally married.
    During the initial discussion with our tax advisor he realized that as a consequence of our separation they should have applied for a change to my tax class from 3 to 1 at the end of 2018.
    This was realized approximately one month ago and last week I received a letter from the finanzamt stating my tax class had now been change from 3 to 1.

    1, Firstly, does the above series of events make sense to you?
    2, Should my tax class have been changed at the end of the year or at the legal end of our marriage?
    3, Will I have to pay back the variance (~500 euro per month) from being in class 3 when I should have been in class 1 for the last 6 months?

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

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/06/2019 at 11:07

      Hey Jason. Follow your tax advisor’s advice. He is a lot more qualified than me.

  • Reply Karan 13/06/2019 at 10:39

    Hello Bastein

    I have to file taxes for 2018 but i changed companies in 2018 and now I have 2 separate Lohnsteuerbescheinigung from the companies. To file taxes for 2018 do i file them separately?

    Best
    Karan

  • Reply giulia 29/05/2019 at 12:24

    Hi, I got unemployment money partially in 2017 and 2018 and the amount for each of those years is high so im obliged to make the tax declaration for both years. can i do it on my own withouth steuerberater now in may 2019? or do i get a fine to pay for being late for the 2017 one? thanks

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/06/2019 at 14:53

      Hey Giulia. It’s not necessary to use a Steuerberater but you can of course use one if you don’t feel up to the task. It is possible that you need to pay a fine, depending on your case you might need to pay 25€ per late month. Maybe a Steuerberater could help you avoid this fine, possibly?

  • Reply Jawed 29/05/2019 at 12:09

    Hi Bastein,

    I am from India. I worked in germany from September 2017 to Feb 2018. I have applied for tax return for 2018 completing all the process and submitting all the required documents suggested by steuergo. Now Finanzamt is asking to submit for some NON-EU form. I have no idea how to get it. Could you please help me to understand what is it and how will I get it?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/06/2019 at 14:48

      Hey Jawed. This is quite hard for me to give you pointers on such a vague description. Do they need the form (Anlage) AUS or N-AUS?

  • Reply clare 28/05/2019 at 16:43

    where I can find Anlage Vorsorgeaufwand and Anlage N for 2018 form??

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/06/2019 at 14:41

      Hey Clare. As mentioned in the post, go there and click on the right-hand menu “Einkommensteuer 2018 mit allen Anlagen”. Good luck.

  • Reply Dolores 27/05/2019 at 00:01

    Hello,
    Very interesting article. After some years working in Germany, last year I moved to Spain. Last year I contracted a Steuerberater to do the tax declaration of 2017, however I did not get any answer from Finanzamt yet and my Steuerberater is not answering. I am trying to get in touch with my Finanzamt in order to know the status of my declaration because it seems that it is blocked somehow.
    Do you have any idea how to unblock my situation?
    Thanks a lot for your feedback

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/05/2019 at 10:57

      Hey Dolores. Now that you worked with a Steuerberater for that year, you signed off a mandate so he/she would represent you to the Finanzamt. He has to reply to you by law, so keep trying, i guess? Are you in Spain still now?

  • Reply Hyun Chiang 15/05/2019 at 08:48

    Hi Bastian,
    I have moved abroad, would the Finanzamt refund the money to a friend’s account in Germany? Or they only refund to my own account abroad?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/05/2019 at 13:35

      Hey Hyun. I don’t see any limitations that the account has to be under the same name. Best is to ask the Finanzamt directly.

  • Reply Raja 10/05/2019 at 11:26

    Hi Bastein,
    Here my situation:
    I have worked in India Jan 2018 to September 2018 then I moved to Germany and I’m working currently in a full-time job. I have filled Tax for 2018 Jan to December 2018 in Germany (including earning in India from Jan 2018 to Sep 2018 and Oct 2018 to Dec 2018 in Germany). TAX retun was filled in the end of February 2019 then I have received a letter from Finanzamt and they are asking to provide an Indian employer pay slip at mid of March. Again I have shared all the relevant document in the first week of April. I have two questions;
    Still how long I have to wait to get a refund from finanzamt?
    Is it possible to change bank account details now?
    Many Thanks.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 10/05/2019 at 21:40

      Hey Raja. Can’t really tell about refund delay. Look at the article again. Get in touch with the Finanzamt to see if it’s possible to change the bank account but i doubt it.

  • Reply Oscar 10/05/2019 at 10:25

    Hi Bastien,
    I’m posted in Germany for a period where I receive my salary from Sweden.
    Due to the double tax agreements, I don’t have to pay income tax in Sweden, which means I get my gross salary paid. Instead, I have to pay the income tax by myself in Germany.
    In the tax return, I figured line 21 in Anlage N, “Taxable wages from which no tax deduction has been made”, could suit.
    However, with another EU agreement, my employer still pays for my health insurance as well pensions and with the agreement I’m covered by the German health insurance by this. What I can’t understand is how I file the tax return Anlage Vorsorgeaufwand.
    Would you have any idea?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 10/05/2019 at 21:34

      Hey Oscar. Sorry, this stretches a bit beyond my humble knowledge.

  • Reply Nikhil 09/05/2019 at 14:48

    Hello,
    I have done my tax filing in 2018 and it was done incorrectly.. and incorrect return has been processed by finzamt now.
    Can i re-submit my tax return in this case ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 10/05/2019 at 21:28

      Hey Nikhil. Yes, you can ask to rectify your submission and to be considered again.

  • Reply Henry 02/05/2019 at 16:26

    Hi Bastein,
    A friend filed his 2018 returns. He arrived Germany in August, worked from Oct. till Dec. For which he filled the returns.
    They Finanzamt replied with a letter asking for proof of income from abroad during the tax year, 2018.
    Is that necessary for getting returns, also what would be the appropriate response to such letter.
    His city is Düsseldorf.
    While coming in his source of income was the amount in his bank account, so he did not state he still had a job while moving here.
    Thanks in anticipation,

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/05/2019 at 12:43

      Hey Henry. Typically, it could be a tax statement from his home country.

    • Reply Alex 05/05/2019 at 18:21

      Hi Bastein,
      My situation is the following:
      I had one employment (Tax class 1) and one mini job (450 euro),
      Should I add mini job amount to my income during declaration?

      • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/05/2019 at 10:11

        Hey Alex. All income needs to be accounted for.

  • Reply Maria 01/05/2019 at 19:51

    Hi Bastien,

    I was completing my taxes for 2018 with wundertax and it said that I need to have a German address to file online. I’ve already left Germany over a year ago. Do you know how I can still file my taxes if I’m living in Canada now? Thanks in advance!

  • Reply Mike Gyorgyi 30/04/2019 at 15:46

    Hi Bastien,
    Just finished filling in everything on SteuerGo and submitting it too. I am a full time employee and everything seems fine so far, but I am not sure I understand which papers I need to send in by post. While they state that I am finished and my tax refund application is done and submitted, the website also provides a list of documents that need to be sent in but on the same exact page they write that these don’t need to be sent. (Clearly something got confused in the translation) So just to be sure, is the compressed tax return paper+written letter application all that I need to send in? do I have to include the Lognsteuerbescheinigungs as well? Or anything else? Do I have to send in anything at all? Thanks in advance, your help is much appreciated!! 🙂

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/05/2019 at 22:45

      Hey Mike. I wished i had a simple answer but it depends on your case in the end. Can’t really tell sorry. Maybe ask SteuerGo directly with your reference number?

  • Reply Umesh 24/04/2019 at 14:42

    Hello there,
    Currently I am a student.
    I have a student part-time job with tax class 1. I am also developing the mobile application, I do earn money from that apps too and it has no tax class the money come from the Google.
    My question is so do I need to declare the earning that come from the google(Internet) or do I need to pay tax for that google earnings ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/04/2019 at 21:21

      Hey Umesh. You need to declare all income as a resident in Germany. Your side gig would probably considered a business so maybe you should register as one (more info here).

  • Reply Karan Verma 24/04/2019 at 01:27

    Hello
    I filed my tax return for 2017 using elster a month back. I received from the Finanzamt a tax assessment confirmation. Do I need to send anything to the Finanzamt via post for example my payslips ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/04/2019 at 21:12

      Hey Karan. No, you should only send something in if they request something specific from you.

  • Reply Krzysztof 14/04/2019 at 20:39

    Hi Bastien,
    great website with lots of information. Thank you for that. I have a question regarding tax for non-resident. Together with my wife, we were living and working in Germany for some time. Last year we moved to the UK, my wife moved in March and since then she started to work in the UK. I moved in May and I was receiving German unemployment benefit II for half a year and did not have any other income from the UK. Previous years we always did our tax return with SteuerGo but now I have big problems with filling my wife’s income from the UK. I assume we are should be considered as non-residents for last year since we both spend less than half a year in Germany. Do you know in which point to fill up income from the UK as a non-resident?
    Thank you for any help.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/04/2019 at 10:01

      Hey Krsysztof. I would not know sorry. Maybe reach out to them directly.

  • Reply deep 11/04/2019 at 13:02

    Hi Bastein,
    i have not yet submitted my tax returns for the year 2017. and meanwhile I moved to Berlin from my last place near dusselsorf. so my question where should i submit my tax returns for the year 2017? in berlin or dusseldorf?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/04/2019 at 10:25

      Hey deep, you should submit it wherever your current residence is.

  • Reply Joana Filipa 10/04/2019 at 01:39

    Hello! I’m in need of some huge help so thanks in advance. I’ve lived in Berlin for 1 year and I’ve worked 6 months in a Part time job, all legal. I left the country in October’s 2017 (with the Abmeldung), but I still didn’t take care of the taxes. Is It mandatory even though it was a part time job? How can I do it? Will I get some refund? For 6 months the total was like 3.000€ and something euros.

    Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it.

    Best,
    Joana

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/04/2019 at 10:34

      Hey Joana. As stated in the post, if this was your only income, it is not mandatory.

  • Reply ZANE 09/04/2019 at 22:23

    Hi, Bastein
    I have a question. I am self employed. And I didn’t made a tax decleration jet for 2017, and today I received a letter from finanzamt. Kind a informative, something about 5000 euros. My incomes was around 16.000 that year.
    Is that could be true, 5000 euros ?!
    KR

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/04/2019 at 10:35

      Hey Zane. Impossible for me to say on such little details sorry.

  • Reply Siavash Khosravi 09/04/2019 at 13:41

    Hi Bastien,

    I have started working as a Phd student since July 2015 and I have never done the tax return in Germany. Last year, due to some organizational changes I had to change my contract from MPI to University of Munich. I did not know when my employer is changed, I am obligated to do the tax return and I have never received a letter from finanzamt that I have to do it though. Now the question is whether it is possible to do the tax return for 2015 or not ? what will happen when I had to the tax return but I did not do it since 2018 ?

    thank you so much in advance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/04/2019 at 10:41

      Hey Siavash. Yes, you can still do 2015. You might receive a fine if you had to do it, but didn’t do it.

  • Reply yanis 07/04/2019 at 22:50

    Hello,

    I have a short question: Since I am married, but my wife and I are employed differently – she is a freelancer, while I am on a full-time contract. Do we have to file our tax returns separately or file them together as a family unit?

    Thanks,
    Yanis

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/04/2019 at 10:03

      Hey Yanis. Both options are possible.

  • Reply Fatemeh 07/04/2019 at 19:16

    Hi Bastien,
    I was wondering if you could write some information about tax return for the doctoral students who are working while studying on their thesis at university or research institute.
    Many thanks.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/04/2019 at 10:02

      Hey Fatemeh. Would you direct me the right information if you have experience on this?

    • Reply Ana 15/08/2019 at 08:03

      Hello i am currently living and working in Germany. I decided to buy here property and started to bring money in Germany that i have saved back home. I have deposited them in a Tages konto and get no interest on them. Do i need to declare them in my income tax? Or is there a tax i have to pay?
      My second question concerns parents giving money gifts to the children. According to german law parents can gift up to 400kwithout being taxed. Do any of this amounts must be declared. Thank ypu

  • Reply Jeen 07/04/2019 at 18:45

    Hi Bastien,
    Thanks for the website. I ‘ve worked as a full-time employee in Germany since Nov. 2016 while I am a student in Germany. I’ve decided to quit my job next month and return to my home country, Iran. Since, I am not a permanent residence in Germany. Should I only fill the ESt 1 V 2018 and Anlage N 2018? what a bout the year of 2017 and 2019? Thanks in advance

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/04/2019 at 10:02

      Hey Jeen. Permanent residency has no impact on whether or not you can do a tax return. You were effectively a German resident. If you haven’t done that already, you can do all years from 2016 to 2018.

      • Reply Jeen 12/04/2019 at 08:08

        Hi Bastien
        I think you have helped lots of english speakers in Germany by this website and thanks for that. I was wondering if you could let me know that SteuerGo is an application for submitting the documents or only estimation of the money that we got?
        Best,
        Jeen

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/04/2019 at 10:12

          Hey Jeen. They also submit the documents on your behalf as well.

  • Reply Mohammad 06/04/2019 at 07:22

    Hi Bastein

    You have written “Important note: employees whose sole income are their salaries are not required by law to submit a tax return. ” Would you please let me know where I can find an official document which mention this?

    Many thanks

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/04/2019 at 09:52

      Hey Mohammad. That would be here.

      • Reply Mohammad 11/04/2019 at 16:33

        Dear Bastein

        I am so thankful for your response. However, I was not able to find this code: “employees whose sole income are their salaries are not required by law to submit a tax return” or something close to this in the link given in your response.

        I am living in Canada now and the Canadian Revenue asked me to either provide the notice of assessment from Germany for the tax year that I was in Germany or show them on official document that I didn’t need to file my tax return. I don’t have the notice of assessment of my tax in Germany since, as you wrote, I have been told be my colleagues that I don’t need to file the tax return since my only income was my wage. This is why, I am trying to find this code and I spend hours to find it in internet, and any help would be extremely appreciated.

        Thanks again

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/04/2019 at 10:20

          Hey Mohammad. Well i don’t know what else to give you. The page i linked to is the actual piece of law stating who should or shouldn’t submit a tax return. Sorry.

  • Reply Albert 04/04/2019 at 19:46

    Hi Bastein,
    Here my situation:
    In 2018 i had in Austria a half time job . From september i moved to Germany and I’m working currently in a full time job.
    My question: For the Steuererklärung, do you think I should declare what I worked in Austria, or should i only declare the things from the point i moved in in Germany (september untill december)?

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