Work in Germany versus tax return

5th Apr 2022

Are you required to file tax return in Germany? What are the requirements for filing a tax return? Even if you are not obliged to file a tax return, you can file it voluntarily and claim a tax refund.

Forms for filing a tax return

You must file your tax return using the official forms available at the local German employment offices and you can download them online. As an employee, you can choose whether to file your tax return on paper or electronically.

Documents necessary for filling your tax return

The most important document for the German tax return is the annual wage and tax statement or Lohnsteuerbescheinigung. In addition to your income, the annual statement also contains the levies and taxes you have paid during the year. Your employer must give you this form after the end of the tax year.

Don’t have a Lohnsteuerbescheinigung? We will provide it for you. Just fill in the form.

Another important document is the EU/EWR form (Bescheinigung EU/EWR), which is a compulsory attachment to the German tax return. The form lists your income outside Germany. It is issued by the tax office of your home country and based on the tax return filed in it. It implies that you do not only file a tax return in Germany but also in your home country, even if you had no income there. Of course, in this case, double taxation avoidance methods apply.

TIP! We can help you fill in the EU/EWR form. Order the service obtaining documents.

What can you deduct on your tax return?

Tax deductions are so-called deductible items, which are costs associated with carrying out your work. In Germany, costs are divided into three basic categories:

  • Werbungskosten - costs associated with securing, obtaining, and maintaining an income,
  • Sonderausgaben - contribution to funds and insurance companies,
  • Außergewöhnliche Belastung - costs related to unusual life situations, e.g. health care costs not covered by basic health insurance.

The most frequently claimed deductibles include:

  • Travel expenses (commuting from home to work, trips home to visit family)
  • maintenance of two households
  • cost of work clothes
  • moving expenses
  • phone and internet charges
  • school/nursery fees.

You can also obtain a higher tax refund with these documents:

  • A contract for renting an apartment in Germany
  • insurance contracts
  • medical treatment and medication bills.

Remember to carefully store all documents related to your expenses. Copies of the documents must be attached to your tax return.

Tax return deadline

The tax return deadline is July 31st of the following year, for those required to file it.
For voluntary filing, the deadline is December 31st, and you can file up to 4 years back.

Application processing

Your tax refund or tax overpayment will be processed within three to four months. We will process your application and all the necessary documents online, ensuring an early refund. To process your request online, we will need:

  • EWR form or local proof of income,
  • a POA or Power of Attorney (scan),
  • ID card,
  • marriage certificate,
  • child's birth certificate,
  • proof of income.

Not sure how to file your tax return or fill in the forms? Let our experts do it for you and arrange your German tax refund. Or you can process your tax return yourself in the online application.

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