Income tax return
The income tax return is the written declaration of a taxpayer about his income situation. It serves as the basis for determining the income tax to be assessed .
It is submitted to the tax office by the taxpayer or his authorized representative (usually a tax advisor or income tax aid association ) . There it is checked and the income tax to be paid and the solidarity surcharge as well as the church tax, if applicable, are determined by means of a tax assessment . If a higher tax has been paid in advance than calculated, the difference will be refunded.
According to the Federal Statistical Office, the reimbursement for 2016 averaged 1,027 euros, while the average back payment was 1,180 euros.
Forms and attachments
The income tax return must be submitted on the official forms. The forms for this can be obtained from the tax office or online. The tax return can also be sent to the tax office online using ELSTER or other software.
- Cover sheet with general information on the person, a list of the special expenses and the extraordinary burdens
- Form ESt 1 A : Income tax return (cover sheet) for persons with unlimited tax liability
- Form ESt 1 V : Simplified income tax return for employees
- Form ESt 1 C : Income tax
- Attachments for different types of income and applications:
- Annex Pension expenses : Pension expenses , since 2009
- Annex AUS : Foreign income
- Annex AV : Pension contributions as special expenses according to EStG , i.e. the Riester pension . This form has existed since 2007 with the exception of 2009 (entry 2009 in Annex VA).
- Appendix AVEÜR : Appendix / identification of current assets for Appendix EÜR.
- Annex EÜR : Income surplus calculation ( determination of profits according to (3) EStG)
- Forestry annex : to annex L for income from wood exploitation that is subsidized by collective bargaining agreements
- Annex FW : Tax relief to promote home ownership and deduction of preliminary costs
- Appendix G : Income from business operations
- Annex 7g Savings depreciation : to indicate the investment deductions used
- Appendix 34a : For accumulation taxation
- Annex K : Transfer of child allowances and allowances for care and education or training needs
- Annex KAP : Income from capital assets
- Attachment child : Information on the tax consideration of the children
- Annex L : Income from agriculture and forestry
- Appendix N : Income from employment
- Annex N-Gre : Special registration form for cross-border commuters in Baden-Württemberg (workplace in France, Switzerland or Austria)
- Annex R : Other income subcategory pensions and other benefits
- Appendix S : Income from self-employment
- Annex St : Statistical information, must be submitted every three years by taxpayers with income from agriculture and forestry, commercial operations, self-employed work or renting and leasing, the current statistical year is 2013
- Annex SO : Other income , for example private sales
- Annex SZE : Limitation of the debt interest deduction according to § 4 Para. 4 a EStG for Annex EÜR.
- Appendix U : Maintenance payments to the divorced or permanently separated spouse as a special expense
- Annex maintenance : maintenance payments to needy persons as an extraordinary burden
- Appendix V : Income from rental and leasing
- Annex VL : Certificate of capital formation benefits
- Viticulture Annex : to Annex L for non - bookkeeping wine-growing businesses
- Attachment interest barrier : Deduction of operating expenses for interest expenses
- Special informal statements / attachments / ancillary invoices
- Receipts (e.g. tax certificates , donation receipts , evidence of income-related expenses )
If the income tax return is prepared using software , the printouts must correspond to the official forms in terms of design and content. An exception applies to the electronic submission of the tax return using ELSTER , here only a summary is printed. By means of electronically authenticated transmission, the paperless submission of the tax return via ELSTER is also possible.
In 2019, 23.8 million people in Germany filed an income tax return in electronic form.
Obligation to pay / compulsory assessment
InITA the tax liability of workers is controlled. Employees must submit an income tax return in at least one of the following cases:
- Income that is subject to the progression proviso (unemployment benefit, short-time work benefit, parental benefit, etc.) of more than 410 euros
- Other income without wage tax deduction, for example renting or leasing or pensions, of more than 410 euros (after deduction of any old-age relief and an allowance for agriculture and forestry)
- If there are several wages next to each other, i.e. if income tax class VI has been settled
- If the flat rate pension taken into account in the wage tax calculation is higher than the actual possible deduction for pension expenses
- Spouses had the tax class combination III / V or IV with a registered factor if both received wages
- Exemptions were entered on the income tax card or on the replacement certificate
- Spouses do not choose joint taxation and do not want the standard 50 percent apportionment for the training allowance or the lump sum for the disabled . In this case, both spouses must file a tax return.
- In special cases with special payments, in this case the income tax certificate is marked with a code letter
- In the case of special payments and a change of employer in the same year, if the new employer did not take the previous employer values into account when calculating wage tax
- The marriage was divorced or ended by death, and one of the spouses remarried that year
- A spouse living in another EU country was taken into account on the income tax card (certain requirements must be observed, see EStG)
- Residence abroad and application for unlimited German tax liability.
Taxpayers without wages are subject to the tax in the following cases:
- Income is above the basic tax allowance .
- The spouse is an employee and meets one of the above requirements.
- There is a loss carryforward .
Ultimately, an income tax return must be submitted if requested by the tax office ((1) sentence 2 AO).
If there is no obligation to submit a tax return (see above), a tax return can be submitted voluntarily and an application for an income tax assessment can be made (application assessment). The application assessment takes the place of the previous annual wage tax adjustment. An application assessment is z. B. makes sense if, due to special circumstances, an income tax refund is expected, for example in the case of:
- Advertising expenses that exceed the flat-rate amounts for advertising expenses
- extraordinary loads
- Expenses for household-related services
- Expenses for household-related craftsmen's services
- Expenses for domestic help ( household-related employment )
Until 2018, income tax returns had to be submitted by May 31 of the year following the assessment period , if one was generally obliged to submit an income tax return ( AO). For taxpayers who have their tax returns drawn up by a tax advisor, the tax offices extended the deadline to December 31. In the case of farmers , these deadlines have been postponed to September 30th and March 31st due to the different marketing year .
With the law on the modernization of the taxation procedure ( BGBl. 2016 I p. 1679 ) these periods were extended by two months. An income tax return for 2018 must be submitted by July 31, 2019 if you are required to submit it, and by February 29, 2020 if you are supported by a tax advisor.
- Income tax (Germany)
- Income tax in other countries
- Pre-filled tax return
- Corporate income tax return analogous for corporations
- "Electronic tax declaration" (ELSTER) project by the tax authorities
- Form Management System (FMS) of the Federal Finance Administration
- Wage and income tax. Tax return: Average refund was € 1,027. Federal Statistical Office , accessed on July 15, 2020 .
- Number of electronic tax returns submitted in Germany by 2020. Statista , March 4, 2020, accessed on July 15, 2020 .