How to do your tax returns in Germany

How to do your tax returns in Germany

Tax returns in Germany can be either too easy or too hard. We will tackle both cases so you can potentially maximize your returns.

tax jokes in germany

Leaving out the puns, there are two things that get you in life, taxes and death. The Finanzamt is something that you don’t wanna joke with.

There are two main cases with the taxes: if you are a employee or everything else.

You are a full time employee

Most likely, if you are reading this, you are a full-time employee working here in Germany. You get your salary and your paycheck (lohnabrechnung) from your employer. At the end of the year, the employer generates a yearly income statement for you called the lohnsteuerbescheinigung. With this, all you have to do now is submit your tax returns.

You can submit your tax returns at the Federal Central Tax Office platform designed just for this called ELSTER but keep in mind that you will need to sign up in advance as they will send you a TAN (code) via regular mail.

Alternatively, you can pay around 35 EUR and get these tax returns in Germany done at which has a simplified workflow that you do not have to worry about a thing. This is NOT an AD btw. I have used them for the past two years and I am happy to pay that fee as navigating ELSTER is a pain on its own.

Everything else

For everything else, from freelancers to business owners or special situations, please get in touch with some local tax consultant and have them do your tax returns for you. You dont want to be in a situation when the Federal Central Tax Office (Finanzamt) is asking for special proof on a wrongly inputted tax form and have your returns tied up in the beurocratic loopholes that the tax laws have.

A tax consultant will potentially set you back around 250-300 EUR per tax return submitted. This is not like changing your tax class.


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