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Tax refund from Germany

Other services » Tax refund from Germany

In Germany, the fiscal year runs from January 1 to December 31. According to German law, foreign employees with one source of income with tax class 1 or 4 (Steuerklasse 1 or Steuerklassenkombination 4/4) are not required to file tax returns.

According to the German Federal Statistical Office in 2013, the average tax refund was 935 euros per taxpayer. To enjoy tax refund benefits, you need to file a tax return.

If you have questions about tax refunds from Germany

When you must file a tax return

You must file a tax return if:

  • you want to get a tax refund
  • run your own business or have income from self-employment or freelancing;
  • you have received a summons from the tax administration (Finanzamt) and you are required to submit your tax return for any reason;
  • you worked for more than one employer in the tax year and the new employer did not take into account the income data from the first employer (letter "S" in line 2 of your Lohnsteuerbescheinigung);
  • you are a married couple with tax class 3/5;
  • you have received more than 410 euros per year in compensation (eg illness, short-term work or parental leave, etc.);
  • If you have additional income above €410 in the tax year (e.g. renting out an apartment or self-employment);

Important information:

In case you have to submit a tax return for the previous year, you must submit it by May 31 of the current year.

You can find out more detailed information about who is obliged to submit a German tax return by calling us or contacting us by message.

Deadlines for submitting requests for tax refunds

A request for a tax refund can be submitted at the end of the fiscal year, and no later than within 4 years from the end of the specified fiscal year. It should be noted that people in Germany are only allowed to apply for a tax refund for 4 years. For example, a tax refund for 2019 can be applied for by December 31, 2023.

What you need for a tax refund from Germany

Income certificate - Lohnsteuerbescheinigung

The Lohnsteuerbescheinigung is an official document that confirms the amount of your income and shows the amount of tax deducted. The document is issued by your employer at the end of each tax year.

You should know that all information from the certificate is sent to the local authorities. As a result, you need to have a certificate to get your tax refund, file a tax return, or verify your income amount to get help and benefits.

What information can be found in the Lohnsteuerbescheinigung?

There are two main parts. The first includes your personal and tax information. The second is a chart with information about your salary, church and other taxes, and social security payments.

When should you receive proof of income?

According to the law, the employer must issue the certificate before February 28, after the end of the calendar year. In most cases, your accountant or HR department will send a confirmation by the end of the year. In case you haven't received it yet, you need to apply for a Lohnsteuerbescheinigung.

A special number is used to make your certificate unique and associated with you: it is called an eTIN. This number consists of your name, date of birth and a few other numbers.

If you have questions about tax refunds from Germany, please contact us and we will respond as soon as possible.