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What are the documents you need to file your tax return?

What are the documents you need to file your tax return?

One of the challenges for internationals in Germany is to understand the bureaucracy and work with it. Especially when it comes to the topic of taxation, it is really an important part of learning how to file taxes is to start the tax-filing process early through the year. The first step should be to gather all the available information. However, since a tax return in Germany may require some guidance, here are some hints on the documents you need to file your tax return in Germany.

Documents you need to file your tax return in Germany
Documents you need to file your tax return in Germany

Introduction of Income-tax in Germany

Workers in Germany are subject to a payroll tax. So they don’t need to submit an income tax return which is also known as  Einkommensteuererklärung. But many people still do. It is really important to submit a tax declaration if:

  • A person is self-employed in Germany
  • A person has more than one source of income
  • If a person’s some income was received from abroad
  • If a person has received German welfare benefits for example child benefit, sickness benefit, maternity pay, unemployment benefit
  • If a person wants to apply for tax deductions
  • If the tax office has sent a letter requesting to submit a tax return in Germany

The Federal Central Tax Office of Germany has a search facility to help people find their local tax office. In addition, Germany has a compulsory social insurance scheme and then income tax takes this into account.

Documents that are required to file a tax return in Germany

Documents that are important to file a tax return in Germany are as follows:

  •  Employment tax statement (Lohnsteuerbescheinigung)

A document that includes all income and the taxes a person has paid during the year. This document should be issued by an employer either at the end of employment or at the end of the tax year.

  •  Tax identification number (TIN, Steuer-Identifikationsnummer or Steuer-ID)

A unique 11-digit number that a person will receive via mail after he has registered in the city registration office, Bürgeramt.

  • Your tax number (Steuernummer)

It is a number that is assigned to a person by the tax office. If someone does not have a tax number on his first tax return, he can submit it without giving the number. After checking and the person would receive his income tax assessment, which is known as  Einkommensteuerbescheid. The tax number is in the top right-hand corner of this document.

  •  German bank account details (IBAN, BIC)

A German bank account details are needed for a tax return in Germany.

  • Proof of any income received outside Germany for the year of the tax return

This is needed to determine a person’s tax rate.

  • Documents related to deductions

Income-related expenses document which is known as  Werbungskosten, special expenses document which is called Sonderausgaben and exceptional expenses document, außergewöhnliche Belastungen are needed to submit.

  • Child benefit

In case if someone has children, he has to indicate the following:

  1. Name
  2. Date of birth
  3. The amount and period of child benefits which is called Kindergeld
  4. Expenses of childcare and education
  • Any other Government benefit

This is the document that includes parental benefits, Elterngeld, and maternity benefits known as Mutterschaftsgeld.

There is a different type of online tools available in English to help you fill out your tax return in Germany. It usually takes less than an hour to complete a tax return on your own. You can expect to get back approx. 1.000 Euros when handing in a tax return in Germany.

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