Under certain conditions, you are obliged to file an income tax return in Germany. We explain to you when this is the case.
When am I obliged to file a tax return?
In many cases, you can file your tax return voluntarily. This is particularly worthwhile if you can expect a tax refund.
However, there are also cases in which you are obliged to file a tax return:
You had several jobs at the same time and were in tax class 6
If you are a married couple and receive wages and have the tax class combination 3/5 or 4/4 with a factor
You have received wage replacement benefits of more than 410 euro (for example, sick pay, unemployment benefit I, short-time work payments or parental support payments)
You have had tax allowances for wage tax deduction entered on your annual payslip
You have a loss carry-forward from the previous year
You have received a severance payment and your employer has applied the five-percent rule when calculating the wage tax
As a pensioner, you have to file your tax return if your taxable annual income is higher than the basic tax-free amount (in 2022 it was 10,347 euro per person, in 2023 10,908 euro).
There is also a tax obligation for self-employed persons, tradesmen and farmers as well as for income without wage tax deduction, such as rental income. Please note that Taxfix is currently unable to map some of the tax cases mentioned.
Can the tax office ask me to file a tax return?
Yes, the tax office can ask you to submit one or more tax returns - even if you are not obliged to submit them according to the conditions mentioned above.
🚨 But be careful!
If you are obliged to submit your tax return, the tax office will not necessarily send you a request. You must therefore find out for yourself whether filing your tax return is mandatory or not.
Submit once, always submit?
If you file a tax return once, this does not mean that you have to file your return every year from now on.
You only have to file your tax return if you are obliged to do so or if your tax office asks you to do so. This applies anew for each tax year.
What deadlines apply?
If you are required to file a tax return, a general deadline of the end of July of the following year applies.
💡 Good to know
The deadline has been extended for the 2022 and 2023 tax returns:
You must file the 2022 return by 2 October 2023 at the latest. The deadline has been set for 30 September 2023. However, as this is a Saturday, you have until Monday, 2 October 2023 to submit it
For the 2023 return, the submission deadline has been set for 31 August 2024. This is also a Saturday, which is why the deadline is moved to Monday, 2.9.2024
When the tax office asks you to file your tax return, they may set you an individual deadline or grant you an extension. The deadline will be stated in the written request from your tax office.
What deadlines apply in the case of voluntary submission?
If you are not required to file your tax returns, you can file them retroactively for up to four years.
In 2023, you can submit your returns for the years 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. This is also possible with the Taxfix app.