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Filing Your Tax Return in Germany as an Expat. Our tips.

Filing your tax return in Germany is a crucial task that can significantly impact your financial health. Understanding the process and knowing what to expect can make this task more manageable for expats in the country.

When to File

German tax returns are generally due by July 31st of the following year. If you use the services of a tax advisor, the deadline is extended to the end of February of the next year. Its good to be on time with your tax Return in Germany as an Expat to avoid any fines.

What You Need

To file your tax return, you will need several documents, including:

  • Your tax identification number - this is a unique number assigned to you when you register your residence in Germany.

  • Income statements: Provided by your employer, this document details your annual income and the taxes already withheld by them.

  • Receipts and documentation: You should keep these for any deductible expenses, such as commuting costs, work-related expenses, health insurance contributions, and childcare costs.

Tax Return in Germany as an Expat

Deductions and Allowances

Germany allows several deductions that can significantly reduce your tax liability. Common deductions include:

  • Work-related expenses: These can include travel expenses, work-related training, and office supplies.

  • Health insurance contributions: Both public and private health insurance contributions are deductible from your tax.

  • Childcare Expenses: Costs for daycare, nannies, and other childcare services can be deducted.

  • Special expenses: These include contributions to charities, church tax, and certain insurance premiums.

Submitting Your Return

You can submit your tax return electronically using the ELSTER system, which is the German tax authority's online portal. Alternatively, you can also file a paper return, but it is highly recommended to use ELSTER as it is quicker and reduces the chances of any errors.

Filing your tax return in Germany requires careful preparation and attention to detail. By understanding the process and taking advantage of available deductions, you can ensure compliance and potentially reduce your tax burden.

If you would like help understanding the taxes you need to pay as an expat in Germany, as well as tips on how to reduce your tax burden, our dedicated team at Granite Financial are here to help you.


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