Income Tax Act (Germany)

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Basic data
Title: Income Tax Act
Abbreviation: EStG
Type: Federal law
Scope: Federal Republic of Germany
Legal matter: Tax law
References : 611-1
Original version from: October 16, 1934
( RGBl. I p. 1005)
Entry into force on: October 25, 1934
New announcement from: October 8, 2009
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 3366 ,
ber.p. 3862 )
Last change by: Art. 6 G of August 12, 2020
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1879, 1885 )
Effective date of the
last change:
predominantly January 1, 2021
(Art. 8 G of August 12, 2020)
GESTA : G034
Weblink: Text of the law
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The income tax law of the Federal Republic of Germany regulates the taxation of the income of natural persons .

In terms of tax revenue, the most important form of collection of income tax is wage tax . Other forms of collection are the general procedure ( determination through assessment , collection through notification, if necessary foreclosure ) and capital gains tax (including the interest discount ). In terms of tax liability, a distinction is made between unlimited and limited tax liability. Natural persons ( Section 1 BGB ) who have their place of residence ( Section 8 Tax Code ) or their habitual residence ( Section 9 AO) are subject to unlimited income tax on their world income. The factual tax liability extends to the seven types of income according to Section 2 Paragraph 1 Sentence 1 No. 1 to 7 EStG. The respective income is:

Income type legal basis
Income from agriculture and forestry

§§ 13 to 14a EStG

Business income §§ 15 to 17 EStG
Income from self-employment § 18 EStG
Income from employment Section 19 EStG
Income from capital Section 20 of the Income Tax Act
Rental and leasing income Section 21 of the Income Tax Act
Other Income Section 22 of the Income Tax Act

The Income Tax Act also applies to the taxation of legal entities (especially corporations, etc.). However, other tax laws, especially the corporate income tax law , contain special provisions that can supersede the provisions of the income tax law ( specialty principle ).


Income Tax Act. 29 March 1920

The original version of the Income Tax Act was passed by the German Reich government in 1934 on the basis of Article 1 of the Act to Eliminate the Need of the People and the Reich of March 24, 1933 ( Enabling Act ), under the thereby legalized dictatorial elimination of parliament in questions of legislation , signed and made out by Chancellor Adolf Hitler . The main features of the law are based on the legal regulations that have been in force since 1920.

In the Control Council Act No. 12 of February 11, 1946, a sharp increase in the tax rate was decided. Due to the subsequent currency reform and several tax laws that provided for tariff reductions or tax concessions, this increase in the tariff was partially moderated again.

The EStG was last published on October 8, 2009 in the Federal Law Gazette of October 13, 2009 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 3366 , 3862 ) on the basis of Section 51 (4) number 2 of the Income Tax Act in the version published on October 19, 2002 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 4210 ; 2003 I p. 179 ) in the version valid since September 1, 2009.

See also


  • Kirchhof (Ed.): Income Tax Act . 14th revised edition. Publishing house Dr. Otto Schmidt, Cologne 2015, ISBN 978-3-504-23095-1 .
  • Ludwig Schmidt (founder), Heinrich Weber-Grellet (ed.): EStG. Income Tax Act. 32nd edition. CH Beck, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-406-63500-7 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Paul Kirchhof : The order for the renewal of income tax law , in: Taxation of income, publications of the German Tax Law Society , Vol. 24, Cologne 2001, p. 5.
  2. Gierschmann, Gunsenheimer, Schneider: Textbook income tax (15th Edition), p 65, para. 1