Filing a tax return - help on how to file

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Yes, you can, in principle. But that's a situation where I would recommend that you get some professional tax advice.

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Next year I don't mind getting a steuerberater as there will be tax to be saved, so no prob, but this year it would have cost more than tax saved!

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Can I carry over a loss to 2011's return?

Yes, it's called Verlustvortrag and is done automatically by the Finanzamt.

 

On the other hand, if you wanted to carry the loss backward = Verlustrücktrag, i.e. to reduce a profit you had made in 2009, you would have to apply specifically for that (the default is that they carry the loss forward). Carrying the loss backward is only possible up to one year into the past.

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hi Panda,

do you know if I can include the cost of moving to Munich & language classes in my profit & loss account?

 

sincere thanks for your help, it's most appreciated... :)

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Hi there,

 

I have a question about which copies should I send along with all the forms: bus/metro tickets, German Course receipt, Lohnsteuerbescheinigung, pay slips, Gleitzeitabrechung(which shows the days I worked or had business travel).

Thanks,

 

Leonardo

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do you know if I can include the cost of moving to Munich & language classes in my profit & loss account?

 

I don't see why not.

 

You are only allowed to claim deductions for business expenses, but you can argue that you wouldn't have earned money if you hadn't moved here.

If you were an employee things would be easier and they would certainly accept the moving costs for you to take up the new job.

However, as always with the Finanzamt, claim everything you can think of, the only thing they can do is not accept it and who knows, maybe they will just wave it through.

 

I would also try to deduct the German course as a business expense, after all without good German how are you supposed to earn and give the Finanzamt its due ;)

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I have a question about which copies should I send along with all the forms: bus/metro tickets, German Course receipt, Lohnsteuerbescheinigung, pay slips, Gleitzeitabrechung(which shows the days I worked or had business travel).

 

Yes, send the the originals of the above (not the pay slips, the same information is contained in the Lohnsteuerbescheinigung), plus documentation for anything for which you claim a deduction, so that you have a paper trail for every expense you claim. Just buy a Pritt stick and start glueing everything on pieces of blank paper and write at the top of each page for what they are, e.g. "Travel costs for job interview with company A", and so on. The clearer and self-explanatory everything is the quicker they will process your claim and not come back to ask you to explain it to them.

General rule: If in doubt, attach it.

 

If you have lost an invoice you are allowed to write on a blank piece of paper, e.g. "Parking fee for job interview, 4€, 24.7.2010, Munich, at Westenrieder Str. 3" and sign it. This is then called an Eigenbeleg and the Finanzamt has to accept it in lieu of the invoice you lost.

 

Just be sure to make a copy of all documents before you hand them in at the Finanzamt (and of your filled in tax forms).

They will have a look at them and once they have processed your tax return, send all the original invoices and documents back to you by snail mail.

 

You could of course submit your tax return electronically via Elster, then you would only have to attach the Lohnsteuerbescheinigung, and if you don't have extravagant expenses, they would just wave it through. The default with electronic submission is that they don't want all those invoices attached.

 

However, this has a downside too, it will keep your case open and they can come along any time and ask to see the invoices/documents because they haven't yet seen them.

 

So if you want to get it over with for sure and be allowed to throw away the invoices after you have received the Bescheid (which is not advisable, you should keep everything at least 5 years filed in a folder at the back of your cupboard) attach the originals and let them jot down in their files that they have seen them and that everything is ok.

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Re alvesjr's question - would I also need to send copies of my bank statements to show monies received and monies spent? Or sohuld I wait to see if they request them?

 

thanks!

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Re alvesjr's question - would I also need to send copies of my bank statements to show monies received and monies spent? Or should I wait to see if they request them?

 

Different kettle of fish :)

 

Employees have to attach everything, because once their Bescheid has become final there's nothing the Finanzamt can do to change it short of accusing them of tax evasion (and proving it!). Their tax is fixed and the case is over with.

 

The self-employed operate under different conditions. Since you're self-employed the Finanzamt can come along at any point of time within the next 10 years and audit all your invoices, bank statements, etc. so they aren't that worried to get everything checked immediately, they know they have enough time to do it. This would then be called an Außenprüfung or Betriebsprüfung.

So you just have to do your profit and loss account and have all the invoices and bank statements filed orderly as back up in case they want to see them. The Finanzamt can look up your bank account movements anyway, so not declaring income is a bad idea and they know that everybody knows about this, so it's all getting very transparent.

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Yes, send the the originals of the above (not the pay slips, the same information is contained in the Lohnsteuerbescheinigung), plus documentation for anything for which you claim a deduction, so that you have a paper trail for every expense you claim. Just buy a Pritt stick and start glueing everything on pieces of blank paper and write at the top of each page for what they are, e.g. "Travel costs for job interview with company A", and so on. The clearer and self-explanatory everything is the quicker they will process your claim and not come back to ask you to explain it to them.

 

Thanks a lot.

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I always put my German learning through my P&L accounts (never had my accounts checked though). Exactly as Panda says, I can certainly demonstrate it is necessary to run an effective business here (right down to basis contacts / negotiations etc).

 

Also, anyone can put career-related training through their general declaration (Steuereklärung) so we are no different from anyone really. It is also not just courses. Text books etc can count too.

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Hi does anybody know by when we have to file these taxes? I no longer have the support of a tax advisory and will have to do it on my own. Any pointers would be appreciated.

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Hi does anybody know by when we have to file these taxes?

You are supposed to do it by 31. May for the preceding year, and frankly that's the best way, do it and get it over with while you still remember what exactly you did last year.

 

However, both the self-employed and employees are now allowed to hand in tax returns for up to 7 years in the past, see this discussion.

 

 

Any pointers would be appreciated.

 

Either:

 

  1. get your previous tax advisor to give you a copy of the forms she/he filed for you for the last years. That way you have an example.
    or
  2. if you're an employee you can go to a Lohnsteuerhilfeverein and get the tax forms filled in for a moderate fee that depends on your gross income (see the post in Claiming tax deductions for prices), map of their locations in Munich
    or
  3. follow the step-by-step instructions set down in the TT Elster wiki

Once you have filled everything in and gathered all your invoices and supporting documentation, go to a copy shop, copy the whole lot and then go to:

Servicezentrum of the Finanzämter

Deroystr. 6

80335 München

map

opening times:

Monday - Wednesday: 7.30 - 16.00

Thursday: 7.30 - 18.00

Friday: 7.30 - 12.30

 

and don't bother to draw a number, just drop the original set at the table in the middle of the room, and ask them to put their Eingangsstempel (= entry stamp) on all the forms of your copied set, go home and file the copied set for future reference.

 

After about 8 weeks expect the letter from the Finanzamt sending you back your original invoices and the Bescheid.

File those in the folder in which you already filed the copied set.

 

Example of a "Bescheid über Einkommensteuer und Solidaritätszuschlag":

 

post-24869-1303827626917_thumb.jpg

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PandaMunich, Excellent work on your posts in this forum!

 

After your detailed step by step account of how to fill out the tax return for 2010 I wondered if you could additionally provide details for the Anlage kind form?

 

Thanks in advance

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How to fill in Anlage Kind

 

You have to fill in a separate Anlage Kind for each child.

 

line 1: fill in your surname

line 2: fill in your first name

line 3: fill in your tax number. If you have more than one child, fill in next to Lfd. Nr. if you're filling in the form for child no. 1, or no. 2, ...

 

line 4: tax identification number of your child (= Steuer-Identifikationsnummer)

line 5: first name of your child / surname of your child

line 6: date of birth of child / child has been married since ... / how much Kindergeld your child received in 2010

line 7: address where child lives. If it's outside Germany also add name of country

line 8: Wohnort im Inland: child lived in Germany from date ... to date ... / Wohnort im Ausland: child lived outside Germany from ... to ...

 

line 9: fill in a number indicating how the child is related to you:

1: biological/adopted child

2: foster child

3: grandchild or stepchild

 

line 10: the child is also the child of:

name of person, last known address, date of birth, relationship of child to that person (see line 9 for categories) / dates from date ... to date ... that person had a relationship to the child (e.g. biological mother only up to the time she gives child up for adoption)

line 11: the other parent lived outside Germany: from date ... to date ...

line 12: other parent died on date ...

 

Child over age 18:

Goal is to get the amount your child earned (=child's income - expenses) to be lower than ,004€ that year. If it was just one cent more than that you will have to pay back the Kindergeld!

line 13: child was in school, university or professional training: from date ... to date ... / if child visited another school/uni/training later on that year: from date ... to date ...

line 14: Name of school, university or professional training

line 15: child did not find an apprenticeship and was therefore unemployed from date ... to date ...

line 16: child was on a social/ecological voluntary service year, or a European volunteer year, or did civilian service in lieu of military service outside Germany: from date ... to date ...

line 17: child was between ensuing educationary blocks (e.g. after school, before start of university), maximum of 4 months: from date ... to date ...

line 18: child was unemeployed and registered with the "Agentur für Arbeit": from date ... to date ...

line 19: child was under age 25 and unable to earn his/her living because of a disability: from date ... to date ...

line 20: child did military service or civilian service in lieu of military service: from date ... to date ...

 

line 21: during the calendar year: gross salary of child / salary expenses child can claim / child's capital income / pension child received / expenses on capital income and pensions

line 22: during the period for which you apply for having the child count in your tax return (e.g. after child lost job): gross salary of child / salary expenses child can claim / child's capital income / pension child received / expenses on capital income and pensions

line 23: during the time your child lived outside your home: gross salary of child / salary expenses child can claim / child's capital income / pension child received / expenses on capital income and pensions

 

line 24: during the calendar year: other income / public education subsidies (e.g. Bafög subsidies, but not Bafög loans) / extra income e.g. scholarship / expenses incurred for extra income / social security costs, health&nursing insurance / specific education costs, e.g. way from home to univeristy and back again, tuition fees=Studiengebühren, books, stationary, 20% of internet access, ...

line 25: during the period for which you apply for having the child count in your tax return: other income / public education subsidies (e.g. Bafög subsidies, but not Bafög loans) / extra income e.g. scholarship / expenses incurred for extra income / social security costs, health&nursing insurance / specific education costs, e.g. way from home to univeristy and back again, tuition fees=Studiengebühren, books, stationary, 20% of internet access, ...

line 26: during the time your child lived outside your home: other income / public education subsidies (e.g. Bafög subsidies, but not Bafög loans) / extra income e.g. scholarship / expenses incurred for extra income / social security costs, health&nursing insurance / specific education costs, e.g. way from home to univeristy and back again, tuition fees=Studiengebühren, books, stationary, 20% of internet access, ...

 

Health & nursing insurance of child

line 31: public health insurance you paid for child or if child has private health insurance, that part of te private health insurance that corresponds to "basic cover" (i.e. to public cover, amount is written in a letter the private health insurer sends you every year)

line 32: amount corresponding to insurance to get Krankengeld contained in amount in line 31. Krankengeld means that the child gets money (to compensate for lost income) from the insurer for each sick day.

line 33: contribution to public or private mandatory nursing insurance

line 34: reimbursed health&nursing insuarance contributions

line 36: difference between what you actually paid for health insurance of child and what you already claimed in line 31

line 37: if parents are separated or divorced: You paid ...% of child's insurance.

 

Transfer of allowances Kinderfreibetrag and Ausbildungsfreibetrag to somebody else:

line 38: if other parent didn't pay pay at least 75% of the alimony he/she should have, ask to transfer allowances to you: 1

line 39: if child under 18 was not registered as living with the other parent, ask to transfer allowances to you: 1

line 40: if you are a parent and want to transfer allowances to child's stepparents or grandparents (also fill in Anlage K): 1

line 41: if you are a grandparent or stepparent and the allowances were transferred to you: 1

 

Additional allowance for single parents (Entlastungsbetrag für Alleinerziehende):

You won't get this additional allowance of 1,308€ per year if any other persons over 18 live with you for which you don't get Kindergeld, i.e. even if older children still live with you or if you have a live-in partner.

line 42: the child was registered at your address: from date ... to date ...

line 43: you were paid Kindergeld for the child: from date ... to date ...

line 44: at this address, one or more persons over 18 (except me) were also registered for which you do not attach an Anlage Kind: 1=yes 2=no / If yes, from date ... to date ...

line 45: you formed an household (e.g. live-in partner) with at least another person over 18 for which you do not attach an Anlage Kind: 1=yes 2=no / If yes, from date ... to date ...

line 46: Surname first name of that/those person(s)

line 47: related to you how (e.g. brother) / occupation of that/those person(s)

 

Allowance because of extra needs of a child over 18 living outside your household because of education/training:

This allowance is 924€ per year.

line 48: the child lived outside your household: from date ... to date ...

line 49: address where child lived

line 50: if you are separated/divorced or a parent of an illegitimate child and don't want to share that allowance 50/50 with the other parent --> you also have to attach a letter stating reasons why you should get more than half that allowance, e.g. the other parent doesn't contribute (enough) money to the child's needs. Percentage of that allowance you apply for: ...

 

School fees:

line 51: at private school: name of this school / total school fees

line 52: if you are separated/divorced: you paid following amount of the school fees

line 53: if you are separated/divorced: in accordance with the letter you also attach you apply for a different share of the school fees to be attributed to you (e.g. if you pay all of them 100%): Percentage of school fees to be attributed to you: ...

 

Disabled or orphaned child:

line 54: child is: orphaned / disabled / blind or helpless / sight and locomotion-disabled / degree of disability in percent

line 55: disability passport/certificate/disability pension certificate was issued on date: ... / valid from date ... to date ... / mark box if it's valid indefinitely / mark box if it is attached / mark last box if it was attached to the tax return in a prior year

 

Child care costs (Kindergarten, private child care, help with homework - no extra tuition!):

Only for children up to 14 if both parents work (if only one parents works only from age 3 to 6) and if you paid via bank transfer into the carer's bank account.

You are only allowed to claim as an expense two-thirds of the cost.

Maximum allowed for costs: 6,000€ --> maximum allowed as an expense: 2/3 x 6,000€ = 4,000€

Screen shots of filled-in Anlage Kind for different constellations, just click on constellation that fits you (e.g. one parent at home and child between 3 and 6)

 

line 61: company or organisation name or name of child private carer (e.g. Kindergarten Musterstr.) / from date ... to date ... / cost e.g. 2,400€

 

line 62: reason for which you had to have child care: you are the father or foster-father / you are the mother or foster-mother / you worked! / from date ... to date ... / cost, e.g. 2,400€

line 63: you were an employee earning 400€ or less or some other kind of employee who didn't pay social security contributions (no disadvantage if you were, so relax): mark box

line 64: you had to have child care because you yourself were in education/training: mark box / from date ... to date ... / cost, e.g. 2,400€

line 65: you had to have child care because you yourself were disabled: mark box / from date ... to date ... / cost, e.g. 2,400€

line 66: you had to have child care because you yourself were ill: mark box / from date ... to date ... / cost, e.g. 2,400€

line 67: one parent stayed at home, but you are still allowed to deduct child care for a child who is at least 3 and younger than 6 (to encourage you to bring the child to Kindergarten so that he/she gets socialised): mark box / from date ... to date ... / cost, e.g. 2,400€

line 68: you received tax-free reimbursements: amount (will be subtracted from child care costs)

 

lines 69 to 76: fill in for other parent, just like lines 62 to 68. Just be careful you don't claim double your real costs i.e. if you paid 2,400€ in total, only put the 1,200€ cost next to the first parent and fill in 1,200€ next to the second parent, or whatever allocation is best for you, just be sure the sum of (costs_claimed_by_father + cost_claimed_by_mother) is correct (in example 2,400€).

 

Now comes the part where the Finanzamt wants to know which kind of income you had so they know from which kind of income they should subtract 2/3 of the child care costs (you are only allowed to claim two-thirds of the cost!):

 

line 77: mark box if you are the father or foster-father / you are the mother or foster-mother

line 78: you had income from farming: name of your occupation, your tax number, name of your Finanzamt / cost for child care / cost you are allowed to claim, i.e. 2/3 x cost_child_care, e.g. 2/3 x 2,400€ = 1,600€

line 79: you had income from a business: name of your business, your business' tax number, name of business' Finanzamt / cost for child care / cost you are allowed to claim, i.e. 2/3 x cost_child_care, e.g. 2/3 x 2,400€ = 1,600€

line 80: you had income from being self-employed: name of your occupation, your tax number, name of your Finanzamt / cost for child care / cost you are allowed to claim, i.e. 2/3 x cost_child_care, e.g. 2/3 x 2,400€ = 1,600€

line 81: you had income from being an employee: cost for child care / cost you are allowed to claim, i.e. 2/3 x cost_child_care, e.g. 2/3 x 2,400€ = 1,600€

 

lines 82 to 86: same thing for other parent (look at lines 77 to 81 for instructions)

 

line 87: parents of child lived together: from date ... to date ... / child was part of joined household from date ... to date ...

line 88: parents didn't live together: from date ... to date ... / child was part of your household from date ... to date ...

line 89: parents didn't live together: child was part of other parent's household from date ... to date ...

 

line 90: only for separated/divorced parents or the parents of an illegitimate child. You attach a letter explaining your reasoning why you should get more than half of the maximum possible amount for child care (e.g. because you were the only who paid it!). You apply for following percentage: ...

 

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

Instructions in German for filling in Anlage Kind (from page 11).

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I think I'm in an unfortunate situation, a circular loop of sorts.

 

My country of tax residency for 2010 wants the Bescheid to issue their equivalent of the Bescheid (I already submitted the taxes there, as the deadline was end of April).

 

Germany wants the equivalent of the Bescheid from the country of tax residency* to know officially what the declared values were, so that I can use my wife's lower income here in the calculations for tax due.

 

I'm not sure what to do here... It seems that this effectively makes it impossible to get the due deductions from having spouse with no taxable income :(

 

Ivo.

 

* It is actually a form from Germany's tax offices that I got from the web, in which the declared values are filled in and it has to be stamped by the other tax offices - apparently they won't stamp it without first validating my tax declaration there, and they want to see the German Bescheid to validate my tax declaration (I guess they suspect I may not be declaring all my income?).

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Hi Ivo,

 

here's what you could do:

 



  1. Try to convince the Portuguese tax department again to fill in the German form "Bescheinigung EU/EWR" by explaining again that this form is only about your wife's income and about any of your=husband's income that was taxable in Portugal = "Einkünfte, die im Ansässigkeitsstaat der Besteuerung unterliegen". I admit the "Bescheinigung EU/EWR" form is worded a bit ambiguously since it uses "state of residence" in line 9 which could be interpreted as meaning Portugal (your wife's state of residence) or Germany (your state of residence), but they mean Portugal.
    This is the best chance, after all you can communicate with them in a language you know like a native ;)

  2. If that fails, make a copy of the letter with which the Portuguese tax department informed you that they won't fill in the "Bescheinigung EU/EWR" for your wife's income, translate it into English and post it on Toytown. I will be happy to translate it (if you post it before June 3rd, after which I will start travelling and will have scant Internet access for the next 3 months) or alternatively post it in the Translations forum and some kind soul will take care of it, I'm sure.
    Then send to the Finanzamt a copy of that letter in Portuguese plus the German translation of it and let them thrash it out with the Portuguese tax department via their official channels.

  3. If all the above fails and after you have explained the situation in full to the German Finanzamt (so that they aren't surprised by what you will now do), just let the German Finanzamt issue the tax Bescheid as if you were single and then within 30 days of the date it was issued, write the German Finanzamt a letter telling them that you object to it:
    ************************
    Betreff: Einspruch gegen den Bescheid vom <insert date Bescheid was issued> und Antrag auf Aussetzung der Vollstreckung

    Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

    hiermit erhebe ich Einspruch gegen den Bescheid vom <insert date Bescheid was issued> und stelle Antrag auf Aussetzung der Vollstreckung.
    Begründung:
    Es wurde im Bescheid nicht berücksichtigt, daß ich in der Einkommensteuererklärung einen Antrag gestellt hatte, daß meine Ehefrau als unbeschränkt steuerpflichtig in Deutschland behandelt wird.

    Mit freundlichen Grüßen und Dank
    Ivo Marques Vernandez
    ************************

    Then send the a copy of the initial (wrong) German Bescheid to Portugal and with it get the Portuguese to fill in the "Bescheinigung EU/EWR" for your wife.
    Then re-submit the now signed "Bescheinigung EU/EWR" (you had submitted it before with all the amounts of your wife's income filled in, but without the official Portuguese tax department signature in your income tax return!) to the German Finanzamt --> they will issue a new amended Bescheid
    (--> for the tax year 2010 you will have to send that new Bescheid to Portugal since you still will be tax liable there for the 2010 income)

I don't really see the problem for the tax year 2010, since for that year you have to be taxed in Portugal anyway and I don't see why you need to bother with a German tax return and a "Bescheinigung EU/EWR" at all for 2010 (but I am sure you have your reasons).

 

For the ensuing years the above algorithm should work, but it would be preferable if you manage to solve the problem in step 1 or 2.

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I don't really see the problem for the tax year 2010, since for that year you have to be taxed in Portugal anyway and I don't see why you need to bother with a German tax return and a "Bescheinigung EU/EWR" at all for 2010 (but I am sure you have your reasons).

 

For the ensuing years the above algorithm should work, but it would be preferable if you manage to solve the problem in step 1 or 2.

 

Thanks for the strategies. I'm already trying to convince them to stamp the EU/EWR, but I lost a bit of hope when they said they needed the Bescheid and I figured out the Bescheid was only coming some weeks after filing in Germany.

I didn't think getting a wrong Bescheid on purpose would be a possible solution.

 

The reason for wanting to file a tax return in Germany is that what Portugal does is charge me for income I got in Germany (but I'm legally forced to declare otherwise it is tax evasion). At best, due to the double taxation convention, they deduct from the amount they would charge me on account of having already paid tax for that amount in Germany (to avoid double taxation).

What they won't do though is return any of the excessively retained income that Germany taxed at the source. So to get money back I definitively need to claim it here.

 

Ivo.

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