Filing a tax return - help on how to file

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According to the respective info page on the Elster site [link], you still need to go the the Einwohnermeldeamt regarding changes to your religion-related tax status.

 

I also had a look for you on the Finanzamt Dortmund West website and notice that it advertises a 10am to 6pm hotline for questions relating to Lohnsteuerkarten [link]. The number is:

 

01805/23 50 99

 

The Lohnsteuer system is in flux at the moment, so you may want to give the hotline a call to double-check.

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Another question:

 

If I had two different jobs last year should I fill in the Mantelbogen ESt 1V for each of them (2 forms) or just put all the information about both jobs on 1 form? If anyone has had experiences with this and could help that'd be great.

 

Cheers

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If I had two different jobs last year should I fill in the Mantelbogen ESt 1V for each of them (2 forms) or just put all the information about both jobs on 1 form? If anyone has had experiences with this and could help that'd be great.

 

You only ever need one Mantelbogen, which is for your name, address, bank account information, ...

 

The income from the jobs goes into:

- Anlage N, if you were an employee

- Anlage S, if you were self-employed

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Special deductions in your tax return if you're employed by a temp agency:

- way to and from work

- subsistence

 

If you work for a temp agency (=Zeitarbeitsfirma) and are loaned out to another company (= you are a Leiharbeiter) you have a financial advantage in your tax return over normal employees.

 

*********************************************

 

Normal employees can only deduct:

number of working days x simple distance to work x 0.30€ per km

(it's 0.30€/km if you go by car, 0.13€/km if you go by motorcycle, 0.05€/km if you go by bicycle)

and put that into line 36 of Anlage N.

 

Normal employees cannot deduct any special additional subsistence costs for their normal work, they can only fill in those costs when they get sent on trips by their employers.

 

*********************************************

 

Way to and from work for a Leiharbeiter

However, if you're a Leiharbeiter you get to deduct double what normal employees are allowed to for the way to work:

number of working days x kilometres of way to work and back x 0.30€ per km

(it's 0.30€/km if you go by car, 0.13€/km if you go by motorcycle, 0.05€/km if you go by bicycle)

and put that sum into line 50 of Anlage N.

 

So basically, you are treated as if you went on a job trip every day that you drive from home to work and back again.

You can fill in this deduction for as long as you work at the company that "rented" you, be it for 1 month or 1 year (so there's no 3 month cut-off).

 

Extra subsistence costs for a Leiharbeiter

Because job trip rules apply to Leiharbeiter, you can also deduct a flat rate for extra subsistence costs for the first 3 months for each company you're loaned out to for your daily "job trip".

So if you work 3 months at work site A, then 4 months at work site B, then again 2 months at work site A, you can claim 5 months to work site A (because the interim "trip" to site B started the clock again) and 3 months to site B (3 month maximum at a time).

 

total time = time for way to work + time at work + time to get back home again

 

  • if total time is more than 8 hours but less than 14 hours: 6€ per day, fill in line 52 of Anlage N
  • if total time is more than 14 hours: 12€ per day, fill in line 53 of Anlage N

 

If you are the special case that you are a Leiharbeiter, live in Germany and commute to a place of work outside Germany you do "job trips to foreign parts" every day and you can use whatever the flat rate per day is for your place of work from this table and fill it into line 55 of Anlage N.

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Hi...my German is non-existent but I have to do my tax & wondering if anyone knows of any cheap and good accountants in/around Frankfurt. I've been quoted 500 Euro & I simply cannot afford this.

 

Alternatively, my neighbour has offered to do it with/for me but she doesn't know all the 'tricks' of what I can/can't claim. How important is this or will the forms take me through it step-by-step like in the tax in other countries such as Australia?

 

Thanks in advance...

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If I fill in my religion as VD and have paid more months of Church tax than I should, I suppose I should include somehow the (dated) certificate of leaving the Church in order to get those amounts reimbursed, correct?

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Of course you can just add a copy of that certificate (= Kirchenaustrittsbescheinigung) when you submit your tax return documents to the Finanzamt.

However, the normal state of things would have been for you to take your Lohnsteuerkarte and your Kirchenaustrittsbescheinigung, right after you left the church, to the Finanzamt and let them change your church membership on it right away, so that your employer no longer retains church tax for you.

 

Leaving the church isn't effective immediately, but only for the next month save one after the month in which you declared that you want to leave the church.

 

Example:

You declared your Austritt on 1. February 2011

--> you will still have to pay church tax for February and March 2011

 

See here for where to go to declare leaving the church (= Kirchenaustritt) in Dortmund.

 

See here for an overview for the whole of Germany of where to go to do a Kirchenaustritt.

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Yes I should not have been as lax about it. I started working on the 15th of October, "left" 25th of October (I was never really in it, but as I truthfully confirmed that I had been baptised). I was hoping I only needed to pay half a month but oh well. If I just need to pay November instead of November and December it is bad, not terrible.

 

My Lohnsteuerkarte is in the employers' HQ in Dusseldorf and I'm trying to get it to have it corrected. It would be much better if you either kept your Karte with you or if you did not need to have it to get it changed! In any case I should stop putting it off and just do it already.

 

Ivo.

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I think on top of the Anlage AUS I should fill out one of these (there is one in Englisch, but I presume I have to use the one in my mother tongue)

 

http://www.fin-rlp.de/home/vordrucke/einkommensteuer/bescheinigung-euewr/index.html?tx_ofdpreprint_pi1[test]=test&tx_ofdpreprint_pi1[mode]=1

 

Ivo.

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It would be much better if you either kept your Karte with you or if you did not need to have it to get it changed!

 

 

It's being phased out, so from next year there'll be nothing to get back from your employer or to get changed.

 

As I understand it, your position is that you can't be bothered to get your Lohnsteuerkarte back from your employer and changed and would rather front the money for a while. If so, and if the Amtsgericht or wherever you went to leave the church hasn't already informed your Finanzamt (in which case you don't necessarily need to do anything at all), then I'm pretty sure you can just show the Kirchenaustrittsbescheinigung to the Einwohnermeldeamt. When the new electronic system kicks in at the end of the year, your company will then be informed of the change automatically, and it won't collect church tax from you anymore. I don't believe you are obliged to get the card changed. I think the woman who gave you the (out-of-date) advice about your church-tax status being automatically updated for your 2011 card was presuming that you would immediately go to the Einwohnermeldeamt (without your Lohnsteuerkarte) to report your change of religious status (again, if that change wasn't automatically reported to the Finanzamt by the Amtsgericht or wherever it was).

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Interesting. We will have to go backward and follow that up, because when my husband de-registered from the church, he was told that the change would not be effective until the next tax year, which was 7 months after we entered Germany (his parents had registered him and he had never thought to de-register until returning from abroad). Would this advice vary by state?

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The rules are not necessarily the same in all states. But "until the next tax year" sounds wrong, whichever state you were in at the time.

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@IvoMV:

 

In NRW, "Das Amtsgericht... teilt den Austritt der für die Wohnung des Ausgetretenen zuständigen Meldebehörde" [§ 5 here]. So it looks like you can just sit pretty, if you want.

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I think on top of the Anlage AUS I should fill out one of these (there is one in Englisch, but I presume I have to use the one in my mother tongue)

http://www.fin-rlp.de/home/vordrucke/einkommensteuer/bescheinigung-euewr/index.html?tx_ofdpreprint_pi1[test]=test&tx_ofdpreprint_pi1[mode]=1

 

The German Finanzamt would accept any of those language versions, I just wish you joy of making the Portuguese equivalent to the German Finanzamt sign and put their official stamp on that piece of paper if it was written in a language they didn't understand :)

So I think you had better use that Portuguese version...

 

You will need to fill in this form to prove that your wife's income is less than 10% of your total family income and to get those deductions you mentioned for your wife, since she will continue to live in Portugal while you work in Germany.

 

****************************************************************

The following stuff is just a side note, which won't be of interest to you Ivo, but it may be to others.

 

There is a special form similar to your form (also bi-lingual) which you have to get filled if you pay financial support to needy relatives living outside Germany and want to deduct a part of these payments from your pre-tax income.

 

They will be counted as a "Außergewöhnliche Belastung" (= extraordinary burden) which means that the more you earn, the less will the Finanzamt allow to "count" from what you pay to your needy family outside Germany.

Example:

If you earn 52,000€ a year gross and aren't married, the German Finanzamt says you can easily afford to pay up to 7% of that, i.e. 3,640€ a year to your needy relatives without you feeling a financial pinch because of it, so they will only accept deductions for all support you paid out above that amount.

There's a table near the bottom of this Wiki article citing the income brackets and which different percentages apply.

 

On top of that there's also another constraint. Depending on how poor a country is judged, the German Finanzamt has put all countries into groups.

If the country your needy relatives live in is in:

 

  • group 1 --> you can deduct 100% of what you pay to them
  • group 2 --> you can deduct 75% of what you pay to them
  • group 3 --> you can deduct 50% of what you pay to them
  • group 4 --> you can deduct 25% of what you pay to them

 

Filling in those forms and collecting all the supporting documentation the German Finanzamt asks for can be a drag, but at least that way you can get some of your tax money back for something you would have been doing anyway, i.e. supporting your needy relatives.

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Panda, you are a Tax Hero*.

Next time I'm in Munich I really should get you something. I mean that!

If you work at TUM (wondering this as you mentioned being an Engineer) I suggest buying you lunch.

 

 

@IvoMV:

 

In NRW, "Das Amtsgericht... teilt den Austritt der für die Wohnung des Ausgetretenen zuständigen Meldebehörde" [§ 5 here]. So it looks like you can just sit pretty, if you want.

 

Thanks for the info Chris and others.

 

The lady at the courthouse was actually nice (which I hear is not always the case) and I do not resent her out of date advice - she even made it clear it was a suggestion. I think it would have been correct advice if they had re-issued the tax card as they used to do every year (it seems) until this one.

 

I know she mentioned that she was going to send a copy to some other authority (I do not remember if it was the tax services or the registration service) and one copy to me**, which was another reason I thought it was cool to wait and front a couple of months (from what I understand now, I will only have December reimbursed).

 

I think I will be proactive though... Fronting the full year may be worth getting off my behind and writing a German letter to request my Lohnsteuerkarte in the end (and going to the city to show the certificate and the Karte either to the Finanzamt or the E. place).

 

I do not mind learning German to be here (and I think I should really make the effort), but I have to admit that when it applies to legal technical German and form filling (which I dislike in any language) it really saps my willpower for doing certain things. But on the flipside I guess money is a decent incentive!

 

Ivo.

 

* They should make a game with that name.

 

** Due to some annoying issues with my postal address (which I would say is cursed if I believed in crap like that) I have never received this and will need to pick it up in person from the same lady at the courthouse.

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I was in school for most of 2010, so I earned less than 17,000 euros from freelance work. From what I understand, that means I don't have to pay tax. Does anyone know how I need to declare that to the government/ what to do to make sure that's official? I found a tax consultant, but it seems silly to pay someone 120 euros to tell me how to not pay tax. Many thanks for your help.

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I was in school for most of 2010, so I earned less than 17,000 euros from freelance work. From what I understand, that means I don't have to pay tax.

 

What makes you think that? €17,000 (turnover, not profit, or income) is the lower limit for compulsory registration for VAT. As far as income tax is concerned, anything over €8004 (for a single person, after deductions) is taxable.

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I was in school for most of 2010, so I earned less than 17,000 euros from freelance work. From what I understand, that means I don't have to pay tax. Does anyone know how I need to declare that to the government/ what to do to make sure that's official? I found a tax consultant, but it seems silly to pay someone 120 euros to tell me how to not pay tax. Many thanks for your help.

 

You will not have to pay 19% VAT, if you did not mention VAT in your invoices. If you did mention VAT you'll have to pay it to the German Finanzamt.

 

You will, however, have to file a tax return and will end up paying:

 

  • income tax (= Einkommensteuer)
  • solidarity tax (= Solidaritätszuschlag), which is an extra 5.5% of your income tax

 

 

You can calculate the income tax you'll have to pay yourself, with this nifty official income tax calculator: https://www.abgabenrechner.de/ekst/?

 

  1. in the box next to "zu versteuerndes Einkommen", put in your total income
  2. check either verheiratet (= married) or alleinstehend (= single)
  3. click on "Berechnen"

On the resulting web page you'll get:

 

  • tax amount on the income you gave in
  • fomula how it was calculated
  • and best of all, a graph with the income tax rates (blue line is the tax rate applied to your total income = average tax rate) as the y-axis and your taxable income as the x-axis:
    e.g. as a single you have to pay (income tax + solidarity tax) of 11.87% on average, i.e. 2,017.16€ on a total income (= profit) of 17,000€

    post-24869-12973379258641.gif

    The turquoise line is the limit tax rate, i.e. on the euro between 16,999€ and 17,000€ you pay a tax rate of 25.58%

 

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