ELSTER

Disclaimer: in Germany only tax advisors are allowed to give tax advice, if in doubt consult one.

ELSTER (ELektronische STeuerERklärung) = electronic tax declaration

ElsterFormular is a free software issued by the Finanzamt, download at https://www.elster.de/elfo_down.php

For your income tax return you will need the general tax form Mantelbogen (for your name, address, bank details) and a varying number of additional tax forms (= Anlagen), depending on what kinds of income you had, if you:Any income you had prior to moving to Germany, or after moving away from Germany, fill in gross total into line 98 (for 2012: line 99) of Mantelbogen ESt 1A only!

If you're self-employed, you will have to keep all invoices for 10 years, within that period the Finanzamt can come along any time and do an audit (=Betriebsprüfung).

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If you're not self-employed, you can avoid Elster altogether and just do a good old-fashioned tax return on paper.

--> Employees: scroll down to yellow section on how to do a paper-based tax return for employees.

--> Pensioners: have a look at the instructions here if you're resident in Germany, or in the last part of this post if you live outside Germany.

--> Self-employed, turnover under 17,500€: scroll down to turquoise section for self-employed Kleinunternehmer. Mandatory completely electronic submission from 2013.

--> Self-employed, turnover over 17,500€, charges 19% VAT in all his/her invoices: scroll down to green section. Mandatory completely electronic submission from 2013.

The Elster software is just a collection of the same tax forms that are available on paper, so if you really want to, you can of course use the instructions to fill in the tax forms in Elster and submit electronically.

You can do the electronic submission with Elster in two ways:

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With Elster you can do:

1. tax returns for income tax (Einkommensteuer), VAT (Umsatzsteuer), self-employed tax (Gewerbesteuer).

2. monthly/quartely tax announcements for VAT (Umsatzsteuer) and income tax of your employees (Lohnsteuer)

It is quite easy to use (if you know some German). I would advise using it only for tax announcements (point 2 above), since there you only have to fill in a few fields.

For tax returns you are better off using a commercial software with a ELSTER plugin like Taxman, where you get some tax counselling within the program, and then the commercial software uses its ELSTER plugin to send the data to the Finanzamt.

How to use ElsterFormular:

1. you first choose what kind of form you need (see above for choices).

2. let's assume you need it for a monthly VAT announcement which you have to do every month before the 10th of the month, so choose "Steuer(-vor)anmeldungen Umsatzsteuer"

3. an official looking tax form opens, called "Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldung"

4. go into the tax number field (Steuernummer).

5. type in the first digit of your tax number, and in the pop-up window choose: Bundesland (e.g. Bayern, if you live there), your Finanzamt (e.g. München II), type in your tax number

6. click on "Angaben auf Gültigkeit überprüfen", so that the software checks whether the tax number you put in exists, then click on OK.

7. now you are back in the official form, with your tax number and Finanzamt fields correctly filled in.

8. in the field "Unternehmer" put in your details.

9. at the right choose for what month you want to announce your VAT (e.g. Mai)

10. now fill in the net sum amount you TOOK IN in the past month, in the field "Steuerpflichtige Umsätze - zum Steuersatz von 19 v.H." (field 81). Let's assume received payment for 3 of your invoices of 1000 euro (plus 190 euro for the 19% VAT) each, so you fill in 3000 in this field. The software then calculates the VAT 3000 * 19% = 570 euro.

For more complicated cases with services/products delivered/bought to/from non-German clients/suppliers, please look in here for the USt-Voranmeldung.

11. Now click in the menu at the top of the page on "Seite 2" to go to the invoices YOU PAID in the last month.

12. fill in the sum of all VATs (not the net amount!) from the invoices you paid last month. For example, if you paid invoices worth 2380€ gross, the VAT is (2380€ - 2380€ / 1,19) = 380€. Fill in the 380 into the field 66

13. Now you will see in field 83 the difference between the VAT you took in (Umsatzsteuer) and the VAT you paid (Vorsteuer), and this difference is the amount you will have to pay to the Finanzamt before the 10th of that month by bank transfer.

14. Now send the data electronically to the Finanzamt, by choosing in the menu "Datenübermittlung=data transfer", the entry "Steuererklärung an das Finanzamt übermitteln = send to Finanzamt".

15. in the pop-up window choose the second option "Datenübermittlung mit Authentifizierung" = data transfer with a certificate, and tell him the path on you PC to your certificate. Click on OK.

16. a confirmation window appears, telling you that it will now transmit the data to the Finanzamt and are you sure you want this. Click on "Ja".

17. it then does a plausibility check on your figure. Most of the time you can ignore the comments the program now brings at the bottom of the page. Just click on "Weiter" = go on.

18. It now transfers your data to the Finanzamt, and brings a confirmation pop-up window. Just click on OK again.

19. Now the printing page pops-up. You get a pdf summary version of your filled in USt-Voranmeldung, which you can save and print. This print-out will be your proof to the Finanzamt that you did your announcement in time (i.e. before the 10th of the month).

Simple income tax return for employees

You can find all paper tax forms for 2013 here, the ones for 2012 are here, except the Mantelbogen ESt 1V, which you can find here for 2013 , and here for 2012.

You will need following forms:

plus other forms, e.g. Anlage Kind if you have a child/children (instructions here), Anlage AUS if you had income from outside Germany, but Anlage N-AUS if you had employee income from outside Germany, ...

You can either fill them in on your computer within the 45 minutes they give you for each page on each form and then print them out, or print them and fill them in by hand.

You cannot save what you fill in, except as an XML file (icon with floppy disk and XML). You can later import that XML file to pick up where you left off (icon with XML and red arrow).

Important:

     
  • Make a copy of your filled in and signed tax forms and of all documents you will submit, so that you have something on hand if they get lost and to consult later on.
  • If you submit the forms in person, take the copy along and let the person from the Finanzamt stamp the first page of each form with their entry stamp
  • (= Eingangsstempel). That way you will have proof of what exactly you submitted.

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How to fill in the Mantelbogen ESt 1V

line 1: make an X in the box to the left of "Einkommenssteuererklärung"

line 2: your tax number (if you already have one, if not leave empty)

line 3: your personal identity number (if you already have one, if not leave empty)

line 4: name of your Finanzamt

line 6: your phone number (you are not obliged to give it!)

line 7: your surname, your date of birth

line 8: your first name

line 9: your street and street number

line 10 : your postal code, town=???, Religion=VD (this means no religion, hopefully you did not register for any of the kinds for which you have to pay church tax, e.g. RK= roman catholic or EV = evangelisch=lutheran)

line 11: your job title, e.g. Software engineer

line 12: if you are single put nothing, otherwise: married since / widowed since / divorced since / living apart from wife/husband since

line 13-17: same details for wife

line 18: your bank account number, Bankleitzahl

line 19: your IBAN (International bank account number, starts with DE for German accounts)

line 20: your BIC/SWIFT code = international code of your bank

line 21: name of your bank

line 22: put an X in the box to the left of "Kontoinhaber"

line 23: put an X in the box to the left of "Anlage Vorsorgeaufwand" and an X in the box to the left of "Anlage AV" (if you paid for Riester)

line 24: put in your eTIN number from the Lohnsteuerbescheinigung

line 25: put in the sum of all unemployments benefits, parent allocation, illness payments, etc. you got in that year

line 26: explain times of unemployment and attach certifications to prove them

line 27: tells you to attach certification for Vermögenswirksame Leistungen to the income tax return, put a cross in if you got them and attach the certifications in paper form

Now go to the second page, by clicking on the icon for "page 2" at the top of the window.

You will get another 45 minutes to fill in that page.

top of page: fill in your tax number (leave empty if you haven't been assigned one yet)

line 31: address of your workplace / days of work per week / how many days you took off for illness and vacation

line 32 (always fill in!): how many days you worked in that year / simple distance between your flat and your workplace / of which kilometres travelled in employer's bus shuttle / of which kilometres travelled with public transport, motor cycle, bike, car pool / fill in a 1 if you are disabled

line 33: total cost of your public transport tickets (no air plane or ferry tickets)

line 34: total costs you had to keep your job or apply for a new job for which you haven't been reimbursed by the employer, e.g. training costs, stationary, postage to mail job applications, bank account costs, travel costs to training or job interviews

lines 35 to 38: same as above for wife

line 39: church tax paid / church tax reimbursed to you

line 40: what you gave to charity (attach paper proofs)

line 41: what you gave to charity (if these proofs are in electronic format)

line 42: your rate of disability (e.g. 50%)/ an X if you're blind or totally helpless

line 43: special expenditures incurred, e.g. illness costs or divorce costs / total costs incurred / how much of them you expect to be reimbursed for by e.g. health insurance

line 45: put an 1 in the box to certify that you did not have interest income over 801€ that year (1602€ if you're married)

line 46: write for example: Hilfe im Haushalt (=cost for cleaning woman) / total cost

line 47: write for example: Pflegehilfe (=cost for person helping with nursing an invalid) / total cost

line 48: write for example: Handwerker (costs for handymens' work, EXCLUDE costs for the spare parts they used) / total cost

line 50: put in the date and sign

That's it for the Mantelbogen.

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How to fill in Anlage N

line 1: your surname

line 2: your first name

line 3: your tax number / an X in the box to the left of Stpfl. if this is your form N, in the next box if it's your wife's

All the following amounts should be copied from your Lohnsteuerbescheinigung:

line 4: your eTIN / any other eTINs you got from other Lohnsteuerbescheinugungen

line 5: fill into box your tax class (e.g. 1 if you're single)

line 6: first column: your gross income / second column: gross income that was taxed according to tax class 6, i.e. before you presented your employer with a Lohnsteuerkarte

line 7: the wage tax you paid

line 8: the solidarity tax you paid

line 9: the church tax you paid

line 10: if your spouse is of another religion that has to pay church tax, how much they paid

lines 11 to 16: ignore if you are not a Beamter who is shortly before/of pension age or a Beamter's widow or orphan

line 17: amount of compensations you got, e.g. when you were fired

line 18: wage tax you paid on these compensations / solidarity tax you paid on these compensations

line 18: church tax you paid on these compensations / church tax your spouse paid on these compensations

line 21: wages you got that are tax free according to a double tax treaty: country / amount

attach paper proof

line 22: tax free wages if you worked outside Germany in one of the cases stated in the Auslandstätigkeitserlass: country / amount

line 25: fill in if you were a Grenzgänger, e.g. lived in Germany but worked in Luxembourg, Switzerland, ...

line 26: tax free income from a privileged task, e.g. trainer for a non-profit sports club

line 27: fill in what you have in section Nr. 15 of your Lohnsteuerbescheinigung (wages paid for Kurzarbeit, ...)

line 28: Insolvenzgeld you got if your employer went broke, in accordance with the certification you got from the "Agentur für Arbeit"

line 29: other income you got, e.g. unemployment benefits, parenting allowance, illness payments ...

line 30: explanation for times you did not work, attach paper proof

click on icon for "page 2":

top of page: your tax number, surname, first name

line 31: an X in 1st box if you used your own car to drive to work, in the second box if you used the car the employer gave you / number plate of car, e.g. B-GH-5686

lines 32 to 35: workplaces: address / days per week worked / days off for illness or vacation

lines 36 to 39: workplace mentioned in line : ___ (i.e. insert 32, or 33, or 34, or 35) / how many days you went there that year / simple distance between your flat and your workplace / simple distance km done in own car/employer's car / simple distance kilometres travelled in employer's bus shuttle / simple distance kilometres travelled on foot, with public transport, motor cycle, bike, car pool, ... / what you paid for public transport (e.g. bus), no flight or ferry costs here! / fill in a 1 if you are disabled

line 40: what you have in line 17 of your Lohnsteuerbescheinigung / what you have in line 18 of your Lohnsteuerbescheinigung

line 41: professional association for which you pay membership fees / total amount

Expenditures you had to keep your job (don't put in those your employer reimbursed you for!)

line 42 and 43: stationary, copies, .. used for your work / total amounts

line 44: room you use only to work in in your private flat / costs

line 45: training costs: say which courses / total cost

line 46: air plane and ferry costs to get from your flat to your workplace

lines 47 to 49: other costs, e.g. for applying for a new job, bank account fees, moving costs ... / field 53: total of lines 46 to 49

line 50: total travel costs incurred because of job

line 51: of these travel costs above, reimbursed by employer

line 52: days when you were on a job trip inside Germany of more than 8 hours

line 53: days when you were on a job trip inside Germany of more than 14 hours

line 54: days when you were on a job trip inside Germany of more than 24 hours

line 55: if you travelled outside Germany for your job: attach a separate page and list all those trips; calculate the total extra subsistence costs according to this list (for 2013) and this list (for 2012) and fill in this total amount.

in field 54: total of lines 52 to 55

line 56: amount your employer reimbursed your for these additional subsistence costs from lines 52 to 55

click on icon for "page 3":

top of page: your tax number, surname, first name

costs for having 2 households (Doppelte Haushaltsführung):

You have to go "home" at least every 2 months if it's in Germany, but it can be at longer intervals if it's outside Germany.

line 61: city of your workplace, e.g. if your job is in Munich: Munich

line 62: reason for keeping up 2 households / from date / to date

line 63: if you do keep up two households, put an X next to "Ja" / in which city,

e.g. if you work in Munich but keep a furnished flat in Nuremberg (or Rome or Bangalore) where for example:

- you keep your family, or

- live by yourself whenever you are there (just a room in your parent's house does not count)

this is called your "home", put in: Nuremberg or Rome or Bangalore / since date

line 64: costs with public transport for first and last time you travel "home"

line 65: costs with own car (0.30€/km) or motor cycle/scooter (0.13€/km) for first and last time you travel "home"

line 66: costs calculation for the distance: costs for all the trips "home" in between the last and first time you went "home" (not with company car or air plane or ferry): kilometres of simple distance (i.e. half of kilometres to go there and back again) x 0.30€/km = ....

line 67: costs for all the trips "home" in between the last and first time you went "home", what you spent if you took public transport (without air plane or ferry costs)

line 68: fill in the either the amount from line 66 or 67, whatever is higher

lines 69 to 71: only fill in if you are disabled

line 72: air plane and ferry costs to get "home" (attach paper proofs e.g. tickets, boarding passes, ...)

line 73: costs of flat at workplace city, e.g. rent + utilities. Attach rental contract and proofs of payment

lines 74 to 78: costs for additional subsistence for the time (but only within the first 3 months of taking up the job!) you stayed in the workplace city (they are done just like lines 52 to 56)

line 79: How much your employer reimbursed you for your expenses for keeping up 2 households

line 80: if you got Vermögenswirksame Leistungen, put in the number of certifications you have for that (i.e. how many Anlage VL you will attach).

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How to fill in Anlage Vorsorgeaufwand

top of page: your tax number, surname, first name

first column is for you/husband if you're married, second column is for the wife:

- in line 4: pension contribution you paid (from section 23 of Lohnsteuerbescheinigung = certificate of wage tax deduction which you get from employer every year)

- in line 8: employer's part of pension contribution (from section 22 of Lohnsteuerbescheinigung)

- in line 12: contribution to the public health insurance (if you have one) (from section 25 of Lohnsteuerbescheinigung)

- in line 15: contribution to public nursing insurance (if you have one) (Pflegeversicherung) (from section 26 of Lohnsteuerbescheinigung)

click on icon for "page 2":

- in lines 31 and 32 fill in the values the private health insurance (if you have one) will send you in a letter titled "Bescheinigung über Vorsorgeaufwendungen nach §10 Abs. 1 Nr. 3 EStG" for health & Pflegeversicherung, which will be considerably less than you actually paid, because you are only allowed to claim 100% in the tax return what a "basic" insurance, which is comparable to public insurance cover, would have cost

- line 35, field 354: put in difference amount for health insurance that is not "basic", i.e. if you paid 1,200€ per year, and only 960€ corresponds to "basic", then fill in the difference of 240€ here. Also put in what you paid for Anwartschaften.

- line 36, field 355: put in difference amount for nursing insurance above "basic".

- line 44, field 370: unemployment insurance contribution (from line 27 of Lohnsteuerbescheinigung)

- lines 46 to 50: any other insurances you have, e.g. personal liability insurance in line 48

You will be allowed to claim all you paid for "basic" health&nursing insurance in any case, but all other insurance only up to an allowance of 1,900€ per year if you're an employee or 2,800€ if you're not (allowance includes what you paid for "basic" health&nursing). For an explanation read the second half of this post.

Basically, the rule for filling in this form is to look in it for the mention of "lt. Nr. ?? der Lohnsteuerbescheinigung" and then to look for that section in your Lohnsteuerbescheinigung and see if you have an amount there. If yes, transfer it to the tax form.

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How to fill in Anlage AV

lines 1, 2, 3: your surname, first name, tax number

first column is for you/husband, second column for wife:

line 4: German social security number

line 7: number of Riester contracts you had, usually: 1

line 8: how much you paid into all your Riester contracts

line 9: have any contract or insurance company numbers changed compared to 2012, usually No, so put in: 2

line 10: fill in 1

line 11: fill in the gross salary you had in the year 2012. No, this is not a mistake, it really says 2012.

line 19: fill in all foreign gross salaries for which you had to pay public pension contributions in the year 2012.

lines 21 to 24: only fill if you have a child/children, see here

click on icon for "page 2":

For you/husband: lines 31 to 42:

line 31: registration number (Anbieternummer) of insurance company with which you have the pension plan / their certification number (=Zertifizierungsnummer)

line 32: your pension plan contract number

line 33: take from the certification your insurance company sent you: amount for Beiträge / amount for Tilgungsleistungen

repeat for 2nd, 3rd, 4th contract.

For wife: lines 43 to 45: see above instructions for husband

repeat for 2nd, 3rd, 4th contract.

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How to fill in Anlage VL

at top: you fill in your surname, first name, tax number and identification number

for the rest let the institution with which you have a contract for which you want to receive or already receive Vermögenswirksame Leistungen fill it in to certify to that contract and attach the whole filled in and signed paper form to your tax forms.



Tax return for the self-employed Kleinunternehmer (freelance or gewerblich=Gewerbetreibende)

You can find all paper tax forms for 2013 here, the ones for 2012 are here.

You are a Kleinunternehmer, if according to §19 Umsatzsteuergesetz:

     
  • you took in a maximum of 17,500€ in the last year, and
  • you expect to take in less than 50,000€ in the current year.

To be a Kleinunternehmer you just have to have earned at most 50,000€ in the year for which you're doing the tax return (and 17,500€ in the year before that) no matter from which self-employed activities (freelance or gewerblich) the money came from.

The important thing here is the format of your invoices.

As a Kleinunternehmer you are not allowed to mention and calculate VAT in your invoices.

If you do have identified VAT (= Umsatzsteuer) in your invoices, you owe the Finanzamt that VAT and have to pay it to them, even if you had a turnover of 17,500€ or less.

See here for a good example of an invoice of a Kleinunternehmer.

Beware: In the year you go above 50,000€ turnover, you will owe the Finanzamt VAT on all of that, even if you did not put it into your invoices and did not get this extra VAT from your customers, see here.

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As a Kleinunternehmer you don't have to do monthly/quarterly Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldungen (VAT announcements) – since you don't owe the Finanzant any VAT.

You also just have to fill in the 1st page with sections A and B of the tax form Umsatzsteuererklärung USt 2 A.

If you are a German resident, then the Grundfreibetrag (was 8,354€ in 2013) is tax free. If you had no other income (e.g. foreign income or income from interest or rents) to take you above the Grundfreibetrag, then you will not have to pay income tax (= Einkommensteuer).

If you remain below the Kleinunternehmer turnovers and did not identify the VAT (= Umsatzsteuer) in your invoices, then you will not have to pay Umsatzsteuer.

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How to fill in the Mantelbogen ESt 1A:

line 1: make an X in the box to the left of "Einkommenssteuererklärung"

line 3: your tax number (if you already have one, if not leave empty)

line 4: your personal identity number (if you already have one, if not leave empty) and your wife's (if you're married)

line 5: Finanzamt ....., ?? Str.??? (your local Finanzamt)

line 7: your phone number (you are not obliged to give it!)

line 8: your surname, your date of birth

line 9: your first name

line 10: your street and street number

line 11 : your postal code, town=.........., Religion=VD (otherwise you will have to pay church tax, if you unwisely already registered for it and have therefore had it deducted by your bank from your capital interest, put it into the form "Anlage KAP", line 51, field 82!) and read this post on how to officially leave the church so as to not pay church tax in the future

line 12: your job title

line 13: if you are single put nothing, otherwise: married since / widowed since / divorced since / living apart from wife/husband since

line 14-18: same details for wife

line 19: if you're married: an X to the left of "Zusammenveranlagung"

line 20: your bank account number, Bankleitzahl

line 21: your IBAN = International bank account number, starts with DE for German accounts

line 22: the BIC/SWIFT code of your bank

line 23: name of your bank

line 24: put an X in the box to the left of "Kontoinhaber"

page 2:

lines 31 to 40: put an X in the box to the left of which Anlagen (i.e. other tax forms) you will attach

page 4:

line 97: if you moved to Germany during the year: period from ... to ... that you lived in Germany

line 98: if your wife moved to Germany during the year: period from ... to ... that she lived in Germany

line 99: sum total of all your gross family income during period before you moved here

line 108: put an X in the box if you/your wife have a bank account outside Germany

line 109: put in the date and sign

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See here for a good explanation of what kind of books a Kleinunternehmer has to keep, in short a simple profit and loss calculation on a piece of paper (even hand-written) is enough ( see this template). Attach this profit and loss calculation to your tax forms when you submit.

Then fill in the amount you calculated as your profit into line 4 of the Anlage S (if you're a freelancer) or Anlage G (if you're a Gewerbetreibender)

When doing the profit and loss account, you have to use the gross cost from the invoices of articles you bought and put that as expenditure.
So, basically, as a Kleinunternehmer you act just like a end-user normal citizen and ignore VAT altogether.

If you took in less than 17,500€ you do not have to submit in addition the Anlage EÜR (which is just a elaborate, formal profit and loss account).

However, even as a Kleinunternehmer you should have a look at these instructions for filling in form EÜR to give you an idea what the German Finanzamt accepts as income and business expenses, they are the same for Kleinunternehmer. You can of course just fill in the form Anlage EÜR voluntarily and fulfill the profit/loss calculation requirement that way.

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You have to submit the Anlage S if you were a freelancer who does not have to pay Gewerbesteuer, i.e. the Finanzamt recognised you as being in the catalog of privileged freelance trades (engineers, lawyers, architects, journalists, translators, ...).

Just fill into Anlage S:

- line 4: "your job description" and your profit or loss

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If on the other had you were not in the above catalog of privileged trades, you would have had to also pay Gewerbesteuer and submit the Anlage G instead of the Anlage S.

If you are not a freelancer, then you are a Gewerbetreibender and have to fill in Anlage G.

Fill into Anlage G:

at the right: a cross next to "zur Einkommensteuererklärung"

line 1: your surname

line 2: your first name

line 3: your tax number

line 4: what exactly you do to earn money and your profit or loss

That's it.

You only have to fill in the form Gewerbesteuererklärung and pay Gewerbesteuer if you had more than 24,500€ profit from those non-freelancer activities (which also means that you exceeded the 17,500€ turnover and that it was therefore the last year that you were still a Kleinunternehmer!), look below in the green area for instructions how to fill in the Gewerbesteuererklärung.

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You can find all paper tax forms for the Umsatzsteuererklärung USt 2A 2013 here, the ones for 2012 are here.

How to fill in the Umsatzsteuererklärung for Kleinunternehmer

line 1: name of your local Finanzamt, e.g. München II

line 3: your tax number

line 9: your name

line 10: what exactly your business is (e.g. freiberuflicher Übersetzer = freelance translator)

line 11: your address

line 12: your postal code and town

line 13: your e-mail address and telephone number (you don't have to fill in those if you don't want to)

line 15: fill in if you weren't in business the whole calendar year (e.g. if you were only in business the second half of the year, fill in: 01/07 – 31/12)

line 24: fill in your turnover in the year before last year (has to be under 17,500€ for you to be classified a Kleinunternehmer)

line 25: fill in your turnover of last year (has to be under 50,000€ for you to still be classified a Kleinunternehmer)

line 28: mark the box to the left of "nicht beigefügt, weil ich darin keine Angaben zu machen hatte"

line 30: fill in the date and sign

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In addition to the tax forms described above, i.e. Mantelbogen, Anlage S or Anlage G, simple profit loss account (or Anlage EÜR if you prefer) and the Umsatzsteuererklärung you'll also need:

     
  • Anlage AUS: for all other kinds of foreign income (also for income from foreign share funds outside Germany)

     
  • Anlage KAP: if you expect to get some Abgeltunsgssteuer you paid on your German bank interest income back because your individual tax rate will be under 25%,
    and for foreign interest income.

     
  • Anlage SO: if you had speculative income to declare, e.g. if you sold a house/apartment that's not your primary residence less than 10 years after you bought it




Tax return for the self-employed (freelance or gewerblich=Gewerbetreibende) with a turnover over 17,500€

You can find all paper tax forms for 2013 here, the ones for 2012 are here.

If:

  • your turnover was more than 17,500€ in the year before the one you are doing this income tax return for, or
  • your turnover in the year for which you are doing this tax return for was over 50,000€

then you have to charge VAT, do monthly/quarterly Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldungen (= VAT announcements) and forward that VAT to the Finanzamt monthly/quarterly.

There are some tasks for which you don't have to pay 19% VAT but if you claim to be one of those exceptions you had better be prepared to have a special Umsatzsteuerprüfer from the Finanzamt descend upon you and ask to see all the supporting documentation to prove why you think you don't have to pay, see here for a some examples for tasks that don't carry VAT.

The following instructions are for the standard self-employed who have to charge 19% VAT in all their invoices.

How to fill in the Mantelbogen: see instructions above in the turquoise-shaded area

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How to fill in the Anlage S or Anlage G: see instructions above in the turquoise-shaded area

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You only have to submit a Gewerbesteuererklärung and pay Gewerbesteuer if you have more than 24,500€ profit a year from those non-freelancer activities.

For people who do need it, here's the Gewerbesteuererklärung form for 2013 and here the one for 2012.

How to fill in the Gewerbesteuererklärung: see instructions here

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Since you had a turnover of over 17,500€ you will have to submit a formal profit and loss account, in form of the Anlage EÜR.

How to fill in Anlage EÜR: see instructions here

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You can find all paper tax forms for the Umsatzsteuererklärung USt 2A 2013 here, the ones for 2012 are here.

How to fill in the Umsatzsteuererklärung for the simplest case that you have to pay 19% VAT on all your income. For instructions see here

For more complicated cases, see here for Anlagen UR and UN.

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In addition to the tax forms described above, i.e. Mantelbogen, Anlage S or Anlage G (and possibly the Gewerbesteuererklärung), Anlage EÜR and the Umsatzsteuererklärung you may also need:

  • A lot of Anlagen, look at end of turquoise area
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