Filing a tax return - help on how to file

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I did earn less than €8004 but as I earned money in England I thought I didn't get a tax free allowance here.

 

Only if you tell them...

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Only if you tell them...

 

 

I think they find out if you do not tell them, as they have taxation agreements.

 

In my case, I think I am under 16k for 2010 with my earnings from another EU country together with the under 3 months I worked here in Germany. If I am married and the spouse effectively has no earnings would I get basically all my automatically deducted taxes for 2010 back?

 

Ivo.

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For 2010 tax returns people need to be aware of changes wrt Health Insurance, if they're doing it themselves. If you use a tax advisor they should know what they're doing and have it covered for you. For some people it may mean a bit more money back but it isn't so clear cut - anyway, your tax office/consultant should calculate it out correctly for you (to your benefit).

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First you need to check how much (if any) tax you paid in 2010. It's quite likely that without any additional deductions you'll get it all back if you earned a total of less than €8004 in Germany during the year - double that if you are married and your partner is not working.

 

 

How about if you only were only in Germany half of 2010 and earned less than €8004? Would you still get it back then?

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@IvoMV

 

Yes you're right, since you're married and the both of you together earned less than 16,008€, you will get the whole income tax and solidarity tax you paid back.

 

About the deductive effect for health insurance contributions, if you were an employee your employer has most likely already figured them in. However, you have to fill in the Analge Vorsorgeaufwand anyway (along with the Mantelbogen ESt 1A and Anlage N for your German income if you were an employee, Anlage AUS for your foreign income) and you will list them there again.

You can find the 2010 version of all tax forms here.

 

Anyway, with only 16,000€ gross income in 2010, you won't pay tax anyway.

 

See here for the income tax table for married couples for 2010.

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How about if you only were only in Germany half of 2010 and earned less than €8004? Would you still get it back then?

 

It doesn't work like that.

 

You have to tell the German state about your entire income for 2010, earned in Germany and outside Germany (including what taxes you already paid on it), and then, if with that global income:

- you earned less than 8004€ in 2010 if you were single

- your and your wife's combined income was less than 16,008€

you will get all German income tax (and solidarity tax on that income tax) you paid back.

 

You will have to list your income as following:

- German income from being an employee in Anlage N

- German income from being self-employed in Anlage S

- foreign income in Anlage AUS

 

Income tax table for singles for 2010

Income tax table for married couples for 2010

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Ah OK, so I will need my payslips etc from before I moved to Germany? I didn't realise that. Thanks.

 

Yes, it would be a good idea to attach a copy of them to the Anlage AUS.

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It doesn't work like that.

 

You have to tell the German state about your entire income for 2010, earned in Germany and outside Germany (including what taxes you already paid on it), . . .

 

Are you sure about that? When I came to Germany (20 years ago), I didn't declare my previous UK income, so received most of my tax back. In addition the UK tax office gave me a refund, because my PAYE payments had been based on the ssumption that I would be earning for the full year in the UK. My tax advisor at the time seemed to think, that this was perfectly legitimate, based on the premise that you are only eligible for tax on earnings accrued while you are resident in the country. It was a long time ago, so I guess the rules could have changed.

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Are you sure about that? When I came to Germany (20 years ago), I didn't declare my previous UK income, so received most of my tax back. In addition the UK tax office gave me a refund, because my PAYE payments had been based on the ssumption that I would be earning for the full year in the UK. My tax advisor at the time seemed to think, that this was perfectly legitimate, based on the premise that you are only eligible for tax on earnings accrued while you are resident in the country. It was a long time ago, so I guess the rules could have changed.

 

Yes, I'm sure about that.

 

If you are resident in Germany then you have unlimited tax liability in Germany and have to declare and tax your global income, see here for for an explanation.

 

However, Germany has double taxation agreements with most countries, so they will take into account the tax you have already paid on that foreign income outside Germany. Most of the time they will reduce the amount of German tax you owe on the total global income by the amount of tax you already paid outside Germany.

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Most of the time they will reduce the amount of German tax you owe on the total global income by the amount of tax you already paid outside Germany.

 

 

Well, that's very sporting of them.

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Well, that's very sporting of them.

 

Actually it's better than that. I checked the Steuerkompass for last year, and as I understand it you do indeed need to declare your income and taxes paid abroad, but any income earned before you moved to Germany is tax free. However your gross salary will be included in the 'Progressionsvorbehalt", ie it is relevant when calculating which rate your German income will be taxed at.

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A few quick questions on points of detail:

 

- This will be my first year submitting a German tax return. Am I going to get a pre-populated form through the post from the Finanzamt sometime in the near future instructing me to complete and submit a tax return, or do I need to do this on my own initiative?

- What date does the return for 2010 need to be submitted by, and is the date the same if you do the submission electronically or on paper?

 

For both of the questions above, is there any difference in the answer as it pertains to my private tax affairs compared to that relating to my Freiberufler activities? Specifically, is it two separate returns or one (ignoring the separate Umsatzsteuer return)?

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Am I going to get a pre-populated form through the post from the Finanzamt sometime in the near future instructing me to complete and submit a tax return, or do I need to do this on my own initiative?

No, but there are plans for introducing pre-populated electronic forms.

However, for now you still have to get the empty forms on your own.

 

 

- What date does the return for 2010 need to be submitted by, and is the date the same if you do the submission electronically or on paper?

 

31. May 2011. Same date for electronic or paper submission

 

 

For both of the questions above, is there any difference in the answer as it pertains to my private tax affairs compared to that relating to my Freiberufler activities? Specifically, is it two separate returns or one (ignoring the separate Umsatzsteuer return)?

 

No.

As a Freiberufler you also have to fill in the Anlage S. If you earned more than 17,500€ from your self-employed activities in 2010, you also have to fill in Anlage EÜR.

Don't forget the Anlage Vorsorgeaufwand for your health insurance payments.

 

Then just stuff all the forms (including the Umsatzsteuererklärung) into the Mantelbogen ESt 1A. That's why it's called the Mantel (= coat), because it's the outer-most layer ;-)

 

You can find the 2010 version of all tax forms here.

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Why is such a question annoying?

 

You'll need a replacement. You used to be able to get one without much hassle at the same office (usually your local Gemeinde) that issued the original one, but since the beginning of this year they are no longer responsible for issuing new or replacement cards pending the changeover to electronic "cards". You need to contact your responsible Finanzamt and have them issue a "Bescheinigung für den Lohnsteuerabzug", also called an "Ersatzbescheinigung".

 

If your employer really did lose the original I'd have him help you get the replacement.

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Actually I need a replacement and do not know the best way to do it. I got mistakenly "enrolled" into kirchensteuer. I already left it officially at the end of October (to be sure I did not need to pay November) but the lady at the courthouse suggested instead of having the trouble of asking my employer to return the card and getting it changed, that I could also just wait for January to come when it would be automatically taken care of and claim for the refund of November and December payments (allegedly possible with the officially proof that I "left the church" in October). However I got the payment slip for January and the Church tax was once again deducted, presumably it has to do with the tax cards not getting renewed each year as they used to be?

 

Can anyone clarify and advise me on what to do from here. I don't mind too much the small "interest free loan" I'm floating to the government (or church?) as long as I get the wrongly paid money back in the end.

 

Ivo.

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the lady at the courthouse suggested instead of having the trouble of asking my employer to return the card and getting it changed, that I could also just wait for January to come when it would be automatically taken care of and claim for the refund of November and December payments

 

I think you need to show the document that states you left the church (Austrittsbescheinigung) to your local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt).

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I think you need to show the document that states you left the church (Austrittsbescheinigung) to your local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt).

 

And do I not need to have my "old" tax card with me?

 

I ask this because the tax card is at the "Headquarters" of the institution paying me, which is in Dusseldorf, while I am in Dortmund. Getting it back is probably going to give me a bit of trouble which I don't mind avoiding in exchange for "floating" this loan for a while...

 

Ivo.

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If it is the case that you need to go the the Einwohnermeldeamt, then I think you just need to take the Bescheinigung.

 

But see this (from Wikipedia), especially the last sentence:

 

"Die Lohnsteuerkarte wird bis 2010 von der Gemeinde ausgestellt, in der der Arbeitnehmer am 20. September des Vorjahres den Hauptwohnsitz hatte. Die Gemeinde ist ebenfalls für die Änderung der Steuerklassen, der Religionszugehörigkeit oder des Namens zuständig, während das Finanzamt Freibeträge eintragen kann. Ab 2011 ist das Finanzamt die zentrale Anlaufstelle für alle derartigen Anliegen."

 

So you might want to phone your local Finanzamt to ask them what to do.

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