You will get your tax statement (Steuerbescheid) as soon as the tax office finishes working on your tax return. On it you will find information regarding the exact calculation and amount of your income tax. You will also be told whether 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 calculation of the Taxfix app. Under certain circumstances, you can then file an appeal against the tax statement.
In this article we show you how a tax statement is structured and how you can check it.
This is how you proceed: General tips
📃 A copy of your submitted tax return helps you to identify discrepancies or deletions. You can download your submitted tax return as a PDF document in the Taxfix app
✏️ It is best to print out the downloaded tax return. This way, you can mark any discrepancies and see them in the tax statement. Below we explain what you should pay attention to exactly
🚨 Don't put off checking the tax statement for too long. If you find errors, you must lodge an objection within one month of receiving it. The objection can also be used to submit missing proof of expenses
ℹ️ If you are missing explanations for some points or do not understand parts of the tax assessment, you can ask the tax office for clarification.
When examining the tax statement, it is best to follow its structure.
What is the structure of a tax statement?
Generally, a tax statement is always structured in the same way and consists of:
- Your personal data and a summary including the tax result („Festsetzung“)
- A detailed calculation
- 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.
In our example a joint assessment for a married couple was filed. However, the general structure is the same for 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.
1. Personal data and Festsetzung
On the first page of your tax statement you will find:
Your personal data:
- address, tax identification number and tax number. The tax number must always be stated in the event of queries or an appeal
Information about the statement and your tax office:
- The date of the notice is particularly important, because you only have one month to file an appeal
The tax assessment (Steuerfestsetzung):
- In the table you can see how much income tax you have to pay ("Festgesetzt werden") and how much tax you have already paid via the employer ("ab Steuerabzug vom Lohn"). These values are offset against each other. This can either result in a refund or additional payment of taxes, or the numbers are balanced, so the result is "0". If the result differs from the one in the Taxfix app, you should check the tax statement
- Pay particular attention to the "Steuerabzug vom Lohn" in the assessment. This value should match the value on your annual payslip. In the case of a joint assessment, the values of both partners are simply added together. If you have accidentally entered incorrect values in your tax return, the result may differ, as the tax office receives the data directly from the employer
- In our example, there is a late filing surcharge (“Verspätungszuschlag”). This only occurs if you are obliged to file a tax return and you file the return too late. You can find more information about the obligation to file here
2. Calculation of taxes
On the following pages of your tax statement, the calculation of the tax is listed in detail. Your income and expenses are listed here.
You can compare the data in the tax statement with the information in your tax return point by point and thus identify possible discrepancies. We show you the most important points in our example.
Income and income-related expenses
In the overview, you can see all your income for the tax year and the income-related expenses (Werbungskosten) taken into account.
👉 Pay particular attention to the amount of the gross salary
If you have inadvertently forgotten information in your tax return, for example, if you have not entered an annual payslip, this can lead to discrepancies in the tax calculation. This is because the tax office automatically receives this data from the employer and takes it over in the tax return.
👉 Also check the items and the amount of the income-related expenses
- Only the costs that were taken into account will be displayed in your tax statement
- If you have claimed costs that do not appear on the statement, then they were not accepted by the tax office. You may find a note about this in the explanations to the tax statement
- If your income-related expenses were below the lump sum for income-related expenses, then the lump sum is taken into account
Insurances, special expenses and extraordinary burdens
- In the list of special expenses you will find in particular your contributions to insurances such as pension insurance, health insurance and long-term care insurance. This data is also usually part of your annual payslip and is sent directly from your employer to the tax office.
- Other special expenses that may be listed here include, for example, childcare costs, donations or church tax.
- In addition, exceptional expenses are listed here; these are, for example, medical expenses. However, these only affect the calculation if they exceed the "reasonable burden" limit. In our example, this is not the case, which is why "0" is entered under "Überbelastungsbetrag".
The expenses are deducted from your total income. This is how your taxable income is calculated.
Wage replacement benefits
Based on the taxable income that has been determined, the income tax due is finally calculated. The applicable tax rate is used for this purpose. In our example, the "splitting rate" applies, as this is the joint tax return of a married couple.
In addition, in our example, tax is paid with "progression clause". This is the case if one has received state benefits such as sick pay, parental benefit or unemployment benefit. These are so-called wage replacement benefits, which are not taxable, but are treated as taxable income when determining the tax rate. They therefore increase the tax due.
In the statement, you will find this information only quite hidden in the calculation of the tax and again in the explanations. There you will also see the exact amount of the benefits that the tax office has taken into account.
If your tax statement differs from the calculation in the Taxfix app, this may be due to the fact that you received wage replacement benefits, but inadvertently did not declare them or only partially declared them in your tax return.
Household-related services or craftsman services are so-called tax reductions. They are deducted directly from the tax due and thus reduce your tax burden. They are therefore listed at the very end of the tax statement when calculating the tax.
3. Explanation of the assessment
Finally, the assessment of your tax is explained. You should read these explanations carefully. Your tax administrator will go into detail about your individual taxation.
In many cases, the explanations facilitate the examination of the tax statement. They also make it easier to appeal against the tax statement. For example, you can find reasons why your tax official has not recognized or reduced certain items of your income-related expenses or special expenses. Often, certain documents or proofs are simply missing, which you can submit within the objection period.
In many cases, the explanations also state that certain points of the assessment are provisional. You do not have to file an appeal against these points. If there is a corresponding court ruling, you will automatically receive a notice of amendment and the overpaid taxes will be refunded.
4. Legal appeal notice
The last page of your tax statement is the legal appeal notice (Rechtsbehelfsbelehrung). Here you will be informed that you can appeal against the decision.
The last pages of the tax statement include explanations of the assessment and instructions on how to appeal: