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Taxes – Germany

Updated : 23/05/2014

Income taxes abroad

What's your situation?

I'm self-employed

Which income will be taxed in Germany?

  • Live in Germany (min. 6 months in a 2-year period)? You are considered "ordinarily resident" in Germany (gewöhnlicher Aufenthalt) and must pay tax on your worldwide income and property there.
  • Lived in Germany for less than 6 months in a 2-year period? You are not considered tax resident, and pay tax only on income earned in Germany.
  • Income from other EU countries? Check you never pay tax twice on the same income.

How much will you pay?

What's left of your gross income in Germany after deduction of taxes?

Income tax rates for assessment periods from 2010

Income tax is progressive — the more you earn, the higher your rate. The tax rate varies from 14% to 45%. You can get an idea of how much tax you will have to pay on your wages from the German Finance Ministry's interactive wage and income tax calculator Deutsch.

There is also a solidarity levy (Solidaritätszuschlag), equivalent to 5.5% of your income tax.

You must also pay church tax if you're affiliated to a religious community that charges it. Church tax is based on your income tax bill – 8% of your income tax in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, 9% in other parts of Germany.

When and how do you pay?

You must make quarterly advance payments (based on your return for the previous year) to offset your expected final tax liability.

If you've just started a new business, you will have to provide the tax office with a forecast of your earnings. On the basis of that, they will caclulate the size of the advance payments you have to make.

In either case, you must file a return with the relevant tax office by the end of May of the following year.

How to appeal / complain

Your tax office Deutsch will provide information on your rights and obligations. Detailed advice can be obtained from tax consultants or solicitors, who can also represent you.

You may challenge any decision on taxation at the local tax office Deutsch and subsequently, if need be, take your complaint to the tax tribunal. You have 1 month to challenge a decision.


Tax laws — EU and individual countries

Check also what your EU rights are.

Contact points

Tax offices -Finanzamt Deutsch

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