How to file your German tax declaration
If you are living and working in Germany, you are required to file a tax declaration every year. Here are the general steps to follow to file your German tax declaration:
Gather your documents: Collect all of your income-related documents, including your payslips, bank statements, rental income, and investment income statements.
Choose a tax form: Depending on your income sources and personal situation, you will need to choose the appropriate tax form. The most commonly used form is the Mantelbogen (main form) and the Anlage N (for income from employment).
Fill out the tax form: Enter your personal details, income, and deductions into the tax form. If you are unsure about any of the sections, consult with a tax advisor or use tax preparation software.
Submit the tax declaration: Once you have filled out the tax form, you can submit it either electronically or by mail to your local tax office. The deadline for submission is typically May 31st of the following year.
Wait for your tax assessment: After submitting your tax declaration, you will receive a tax assessment from the tax office. This will tell you whether you owe any additional taxes or if you are due a refund.
It is recommended that you seek the advice of a tax advisor or use tax preparation software to ensure that you are filing your tax declaration correctly and maximizing your deductions.
Who can help to file your German tax declaration?
There are several options for getting help with filing your German tax declaration:
Tax Advisors (Steuerberater): Tax advisors are professionals who can provide expert advice on tax matters and assist you with filing your tax declaration. They can also represent you in communication with the tax office. However, their services can be quite expensive.
Tax Preparation Software: There are various tax preparation software options available, such as WISO Steuer or Elster, which can guide you through the tax declaration process and help you maximize your deductions.
Citizen Service Centers (Bürgerbüros): Some cities have Citizen Service Centers that offer free assistance with filling out tax declarations. Check with your local city hall or town hall to see if this service is available in your area.
Non-profit organizations: Some non-profit organizations, such as the German-American Women's Club or the American Church in Berlin, may offer assistance to expats with filing their German tax declarations.
It is important to note that the tax office (Finanzamt) does not provide personal assistance with filling out tax declarations. However, they do have a hotline that you can call for general information and assistance.