You will get your tax statement (Steuerbescheid) as soon as the tax office finishes working on your tax return. On your tax statement you will find information regarding the exact calculation and amount of your income tax. You will also be told wether you will receive a tax refund or if you will have to pay back taxes.
In any case you should check your tax statement thoroughly. This is especially true if the tax office's calculation differs from your expectations and the Taxfix app's calculation of the Taxfix app. In the following, we will explain how to do this with the help of an example.
What is the structure of a tax statement?
Generally, a tax statement is always structured in the same way and consists of:
- A summary including the result („Festsetzung“, page 1)
- A detailed calculation (page 2 onwards)
- An explanation of the calculation and details about where and why the tax office may have differed from the data in your tax return
- A legal appeal notice
We are using a tax statement as an example to explain the different points and make clear how the notes and phrases of the tax office can be understood. We compare the calculation of the tax office with the representation in the Taxfix app, so that you can compare the information step by step and identify discrepancies.
In our example a joint assessment for a married couple was filed. However, the general structure is the same for a single assessment, i.e. a tax statement for one person.
Please note: as the tax statement always takes your personal situation into account it is possible that certain points may differ from our example.
Tax statement page 1: Festsetzung
1. Personal Data
On the upper left side on the first page of your tax statement you can find your personal data (e.g. address, tax-ID and tax number).
The tax number (Steuernummer) is required for any inquiries or in the case of an objection.
Please note that the tax number (unlike the tax-ID / Steuer-ID) is subject to change when you get married or when you move to the jurisdiction of another tax office.
2. Tax statement information
On the right side you can find further information about the tax statement. For example you can find your responsible tax office and the address and phone number there.
The date on the upper right side is of utmost importance as you only have a time period of one month for an objection. If you find a mistake or any inconsistency in your tax statement or if you want to send in missing receipts, you can only do that within that one month deadline.
Our example tax statement was finished and sent on the 29th of April 2022. After 3 days it is considered as received, so the time period for your objection starts on May 2nd, 2022 and ends on June 2nd, 2022.
3. "Festsetzung": Calculation of the tax amount
In our example this section of the tax statement starts off with a notice of provisional status: it says that the tax statement is partly provisional ("teilweise vorläufig"). This simply means that certain points in the tax statement are not final and could be subject to change if the legislation changes. You don't have to object to these points. You will be informed in case of change, and - if applicable - get a refund for overpaid taxes.
In the table you can see how the tax amount was calculated.
The first line “Festgesetzt werden” shows the amount of your income tax and (if applicable) solidarity surcharge and church taxes that were calculated by the tax office.
The next line “ab Steuerabzug vom Lohn” states the amount of taxes that have already been paid to the tax office by your employer. This is set off against the calculated amount. The result is stated in the line “verbleibende Steuer”.
4. "Verspätungszuschlag": late fee
A late fee will be charged if you are a mandatory filer and you didn't file within the deadline. The deadline passes if you don't file within 14 months after the end of the according calendar year. The amount of the late fee is 0.25% of the calculated taxes per overdue month and at least 25 euros per overdue month.
Late fees are not included in the calculation of the Taxfix app. As a result, it may happen that the calculation of our app differs from the calculation of the tax office.
5. Refund or additional payment
In the last line of the table you can see if you get a refund from the tax office or if you owe them an additional payment. In the event of a refund it will read “mithin sind zu viel entrichtet”, in the event of an additional payment it will read “mithin sind zu wenig entrichtet” plus the deadline for the payment (“Bitte zahlen sie spätestens am (date of deadline)”). The total amount of the refund or the additional payment can be found in the sentence below the table.
In case of a refund the money will automatically be transferred to the bank account that you mentioned in your tax return.
If you owe an additional payment you need to transfer the amount on your own. Please note that an additional late fee can occur if you pay after the deadline. The bank details from the tax office can be found in the footer of the first page, point 6 in our example.
Please put the following in the reference of your transfer:
- Your tax number (Steuernummer)
- The kind of tax ("ESt" for income tax (Einkommensteuer))
- Relevant time period/tax year
Steuernummer: 123/456/789, ESt 2021
Calculation of taxes
After the determination of your taxes on page 1, the bases for taxation and the detailed calculation of you taxes are shown (points 7.1 to 13).
The different forms of income and costs are listed here for you to retrace the detailed calculation of your taxes. You can compare the data of your tax statement step by step with the Taxfix calculation in order to understand possible deviations.
Finally, the assessment of your tax is explained (point 14). You should read this explanation carefully. The tax office clerk will go into your individual taxation again here and, if applicable, will explain why certain costs were not taken into account.
Calculation in the app:
Below the calculation of your taxes you will find the income you generated in the tax year. This can be found on the bottom of page 1 or on page 2 of your tax statement.
7.1 Income from self-employed work
If you (or your partner) had income from self-employed work then this could be the reason for a deviation from the result in the Taxfix app, as income from self-employment can not be entered in the Taxfix app. For that reason you will not find that point in the Taxfix calculation.
In our example the wife had income from self-employed work which is mentioned in the tax statement. That income could not be entered in the Taxfix app and results in a deviation in the final result.
7.2 Gross salary
In a first step you can check your gross salary (and that of your partner, if applicable). Compare the amounts on your tax statement with the information you gave in the app. The calculation in the app is based on the information and amounts you enter there, whereas the tax office automatically gets these amounts from your employer. This is why it is important to always enter all taxable income of the tax year in the app correctly. This could be, for example, additional salaries from a different employer.
Any pension payments you receive will also be submitted to the tax office by the pension insurance institution. You can enter pensions manually in the Taxfix app.
In our example tax statement the tax office considered a pension in the amount of 1,786 euros. In the Taxfix app, however, no pension was entered. Therefore, the tax statement shows a higher additional payment than originally calculated by the app.
8. Work-related costs
Here you will find the costs that you incurred as a result of your work.
Work-related costs include:
- Commuting to your workplace
- Expenses for a double household
- Costs for a separate room for work/home office
- Fees for work associations (Berufsverbände)
- Costs for work equipment
- Educational costs
- Business travel expenses
- Any additional work-related expenses
In the Taxfix calculation you can click on the arrow next to the bullet point "work-related costs" in order to see all the separate positions. Your tax statement only shows the costs that were accepted by the tax office.
If costs were not or only partially accepted by the tax office, you will find the reasons for this and what was recognised or not recognised in the explanations of the tax statement (item 14).
In our example tax statement the costs for the wife amount to 126 euros, that's why the 1,000 euros lump sum (lump sum for income-related expenses) applies.
Comparing the costs of the husband with the Taxfix calculation, you will see that the tax office accepted all costs just like they were entered in the app.
Calculation in the app:
Your payments into public pension plans and Rürup pension contracts count as retirement provision costs. Health and long-term care insurance count as provision costs. Contributions to unemployment insurance, car liability insurance, general liability insurance and accident insurance can also be acknowledged under certain circumstances. Those insurances can be deducted as limited deductible special expenses (Sonderausgaben).
If your contributions to pension, health, long-term care and unemployment insurance are mentioned in your annual payslip, the data is transmitted directly from your employer to the tax office.
In the Taxfix calculation these contributions are shown as deductible insurance contributions. You can find the detailed calculation of your insurances under the bullet point limited deductible special expenses (beschränkt abziehbare Sonderausgaben) of your tax statement. You can compare that total amount with the amount in the Taxfix app.
In our example tax statement the deductible insurance costs match the ones in the Taxfix app calculation and amount to a total of about 11,488 euros.
10. Church tax and donations
Church tax and donations are tax deductible as well. You will find them under the heading unlimited deductible special expenses (unbeschränkt abziehbare Sonderausgaben) in your tax statement. In the Taxfix calculation they are displayed as other deductible special expenses.
In our example, 396 euros have been considered for donations and church tax. In the Taxfix calculation that amount is listed under "Other deductible special expenses". In a subsection you will find "donations and fees" in the amount of 140 euros. That amount is already included in the 396 euros. The additional mentioning is just for information purposes.
11. Exceptional expenses
If you had health related expenses in the tax year you can deduct them as exceptional expenses (außergewöhnliche Belastungen). However, only the part of the costs that exceeds the amount of your reasonable expenses has an effect on your tax calculation.
In our example the reasonable expenses amounts to 2,279 euros. There are health related expenses in the amount of 827 euros. Those costs have no influence on your taxes as they are below 2,279 euros. Accordingly, 0 euros are taken into account both in the statement and in the Taxfix app.
Calculation in the app:
12. Capital gains
If you had capital gains they as well will be listed in the tax statement and will be taxed. For domestic capital gains, dividend payments, gains from stock sale and interest this tax is automatically being withheld by your bank. You can benefit from the saver's allowance (Sparerpauschbetrag) via your tax declaration or via an exemption order (Freistellungsauftrag) at your bank.
In our example you can find capital gains listed under bullet point 12 on page 3 and the tax amount on page 4 at “zu versteuern nach § 32 d Abs. 1 EStG”.
The tax office's explanation mentions that this amount is reimbursement interest from the tax office. This needs to be declared and taxed in the year it was received.
It's important to note that reimbursement interest from the tax office always needs to be declared in the tax return, even if the amount is below the savers' allowance of 801 euros for singles or 1,602 euros for married couples. The tax office will not consider the savers' allowance and tax the whole amount if you don't enter the interest in your tax declaration.
This is the case in our example. The reimbursement interest was not entered in the Taxfix app and the calculation shows a tax on capital gains of 0 euros. The tax office taxed the full amount because it was not mentioned in the app, which results in a deviation in the final result.
13 Wage-replacement benefits
If you received certain benefits like sick pay, maternal pay or reduced working hours benefit (Kurzarbeitergeld) in the tax year, you have received income subject to progression (Progressionsvorbehalt): Although these wage-replacement benefits are not taxable, but they are treated as taxable income when determining your tax rate.
In the overview of the Taxfix app the amount of these benefits is not explicitly mentioned, but they are part of the calculation.
If the calculation of the tax office differs from the calculation in the Taxfix app this could indicate that wage-replacement benefits were not (or only partially) entered in the app. The tax office automatically receives the information from the according institution if you were paid such benefits.
In our example wage-replacement benefits have been considered. This is indicated by the words "taxable under progression clause" ("zu versteuern mit Progressionsvorbehalt"). The amount of the received benefits can be found in the explanation at the end of the tax statement.
In many cases, the explanations in the tax statement facilitate the examination of the tax statement. They also make it easier to object against the tax statement. For example, here you can find reasons why the tax office has not accepted or only partially accepted certain positions in your work-related costs or your special expenses. This is often due to missing receipts or proofs that can be provided within the objection period.
Legal appeal notice
The last page of your tax statement is the legal appeal. It informs you about your right to object against the statement.