Is going to a Steuerberater worth it for me?

19 posts in this topic

Hi All,

 

After reading some posts on tax returns, I decided to talk to a steuerberater to file my returns.

 

I am a PhD student/research assistant in Magdeburg since 2 years and earn about 1700 euro per month before taxes and the monthly taxes (lohnsteuer) I pay is about 153 euro. My situation is very simple. I don't have any other income apart from my stipend and no investments, real estate etc.

 

I went to the steuerberater and they told me that I can get about 150 euro per month tax back. So for 2 years that happens to be 3600 €.

 

They din't give me their exact fees but told me that this whole procedure would cost me about 150 to 250 €.

 

So my question is it really possible to get all the lohnsteuer of 150 € back or only a part of it is possible?

 

Is it worth to pay 150 - 250 € for this? The fees of this steuerberater is in normal range considering that I am filing the returns for 2 years?

 

Best,

Aachen

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I went to the steuerberater and they told me that I can get about 150 euro per month tax back. So for 2 years that happens to be 3600 €.

So my question is it really possible to get all the lohnsteuer of 150 € back or only a part of it is possible?

 

With a gross income of 1,700€ per month, you do pay 153.67€ per month income tax.

To get that whole amount of 150€ income tax back, you would have to earn only at the subsistence level, i.e. the tax free limit of 8,004 per year --> 667€ per month.

 

To go from a monthly income of 1,700€ to one of 667€ you would have to have allowable deductions of over 1,000€ per month.

This is not possible if you are only an employee (might be possible if you ran a business on the side which made only losses, but then the Finanzamt would jump on it and declare it a hobby = Liebhaberei).

 

So I think you must have misunderstood that tax advisor.

 

 

They didn't give me their exact fees but told me that this whole procedure would cost me about 150 to 250 €.

 

You have 3 choices:

 

 

  1. costs nothing: do the tax returns by yourself, but risk not claiming a deduction you might be entitled to but don't know about. For that see the step-by-step instructions for employees on the yellow background in the TT Elster wiki.

  2. 194€ (= 2 years * 97€ for a yearly income of 20,400€): have a Lohnsteuerhilfeverein do the tax returns for you. See Claiming tax deductions for further details. See here for a map with their locations in Magdeburg.

  3. up to (2 * 6/10 * 646€) + time fee = up to 775.20€ + time fee: have a Steuerberater do your tax returns, see this last part of this post for their fee structure. As an employee you only need to pay according to the consultation table, plus whatever time fee he/she deems necessary.

 

Is it worth to pay 150 - 250 € for this?

Your decision, but unless you send a lot of money home to India to support needy relatives (and can prove this, read Filing a Tax Return 2010) I don't see you getting back enough to risk going to a freelance Steuerberater who is allowed to charge you over 700€ if he/she deems your case "difficult".

 

If I were you, I would either do it on my own or go with the flat fee of the Lohnsteuerhilfeverein (they are also Steuerberater, only that they are employees of the Lohnsteuerhilfeverein and not freelancers).

 

 

The fees of this steuerberater is in normal range considering that I am filing the returns for 2 years?

 

This could be the normal range if he/she deems your case "easy" and charges only 1/10 or 2/10 of the standard fee (but they are allowed by law to charge up to 6/10, so beware).

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This is what exactly she wrote in email:

 

Soweit Sie keine weiteren Einkünfte haben und erhöhte Werbungskosten nachweisen können, kann maximal der Wert der abgezogenen Lohnsteuer erstattet werden. Nach unseren Berechnungen sind dies bei 1.700 € Bruttoarbeitslohn etwa 150 € pro Monat.

 

So I got it now what it means after reading your reply. In order to get that whole 150 € back, I have to show lot of expenses. In my case, I can't demonstrate that.

 

But in case of students status is it not possible to get whole 150 € back?

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But in case of students status is it not possible to get whole 150 € back?

 

No, you're an employee like any other :D

Only if you had received a scholarship instead of a salary would you be exempt from income tax.

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I asked because I had heard a lot of stories from others about income tax so that's why asked on the forum to clarify this.

 

I guess those stories were just fairytales then..

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As PM indicated, different factors are present in each situation, and they affect the overall result. In a nutshell, it depends.

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As PandaMunich stated there are Lohnsteuervereine. Based on your post I am assuming that you live in Magdeburg.

 

Here are a few and based upon your yearly income membership would cost you between 50,00 to 100,00 €

 

Lohn- und Einkommensteuer Hilfe-Ring www.lhrd.de Magdeburg has 6 offices. http://www.lhrd.info/seiten/index.html. Based on anual wages of 20400 fee is 84 yearly.

 

Vereinigte Lohnsteuerhilfe e.V. Lohnsteuerhilfeverein www.vhl.de Halberstädter Straße 21, 39112 Magdeburg 0391/61155 ext. 20

 

ABC-e.V. Lohnsteuerhilfeverein 5 offices in Magdeburg http://www.abc-lohi.de/beratungsstellen.php.

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I would suggest you to join in LOHNSTEUERHILFE where you have to pay once per year & get to know almost all the information about tax issues...

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I have to say, I just read the Toytown Wiki for the first time and it's super!

 

The guide is very comprehensive, you just need to take the time to fill in the form as thoroughly as possible.

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The only thing that I can caution you with is that never go by what someone else is getting...there tax situation is as individual as they are. I can't tell you how many times I have heard that this past season...well my friend got...why can't I?

 

:rolleyes:

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Hello,

 

I could use some help!

 

I am preparing my tax returns in Germany for 2009-2011 right now. I only worked one month in December in 2009 so I will get a good bit of money back. I am moving at the end of this year (beg. of December) so I will have to do my German 2012 taxes from overseas. I am just wondering if it is still possible to claim the one month's taxes back in 2009 when I file next year? Since I will have to pay a fee to the tax advisor, I would prefer not to do it twice if I can avoid that.

 

Please let me know, thanks!

 

Lindsay

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I believe it is possible to file the tax declaration for 2009 up to a certain amount of years after, but let´s wait for more expert advice on that.

 

I can only give you one piece of advice: by submitting the tax declaration for 2009 I believe you have to declare all income for 2009, so if you had other income in other countries as well that year, you might not get back as much as you think for that year. Maybe somebody can confirm this point too though, as I am not sure if it is only valid for EU residents.

 

Also, I am not sure how much will the Steuerberater (tax advisor) fee be for submitting 4 tax declarations at the same time (2009, 2010 as far as I can understand, 2011 and 2012), but it is surely a lot of work more than submitting just one tax declaration. You better ask for some cost estimation first, as you might be better off by going to a HILO Lohnsteuerhilfeverein and file the declaration for at least 2011 right now and benefit of the flat fee.

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I agree with everything in Livia's post.

 

 

  • You can submit tax return for the past 7 years, so no problem there.
  • Your non-German 2009 income will also count when calculating the tax in your December 2009 income.
  • Tax advisor fees are regulated by law, so in theory doing all those tax returns in one go or doing each one separately should cost the same. However, in reality the tax advisor will probably charge you a bit less (by reducing the "difficulty" weight) if you let her/him do more than one at the same time.
  • If you go to a Lohnsteuerhilfeverein (which is much cheaper than a freelance tax advisor), they will simply charge you the official fee for each year, but it will still be cheaper than a tax advisor. The cost schedules for both are linked to above, in post no. 2.

 

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We did a tax return with a Steuerberater. The fee they mentioned to begin with was a lot lower than what they charged at the end.

I guess my question is - do you usually get what you apply for? I guess we are worried that the fee might be more than what we get as tax return...

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The fee they mentioned to begin with was a lot lower than what they charged at the end.

 

Bit like taking your car to the garage for an inspection isn't it?

 

 

I guess we are worried that the fee might be more than what we get as tax return...

 

This is of course possible.

 

Most people go to a Steuerberater because they cannot fathom out how to submit their tax return themselves. You pay for this service (usually with the feeling that the process is deliberatly made complex as part of a job-protection scheme...)

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We did a tax return with a Steuerberater. The fee they mentioned to begin with was a lot lower than what they charged at the end.

I guess my question is - do you usually get what you apply for? I guess we are worried that the fee might be more than what we get as tax return...

 

Even when I did my tax using off-the shelf software I usually landed within about €10 of what was predicted - With a Steuerberater its almost always on the nose.

 

My rules for tax advice:

 

1) Young, few insurance policies or similar, few special outgoings -> Do it yourself (or see (2)

2) In your job a few years, a few life insurance etc schemes running, a few special job out goings -> Buy a software package for €20 (I like Quicksteuer but always buy the current version and update it online before you submit your returns)

3) If you have recently bought property - Have the first year done for you, then do it yourself (it only repeats after the first year)

4) If you have rental property, have been seriously ill, or off work, or have self-financed some training, or have any other slightly more complex situation - Go to an advisor, although a "Steuerhilfeverein" will be as good and a lot cheaper.

5) Own business, complex issues -> Steuerberater

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So, you're trying to avoid paying any income tax at all?

 

- aren´t we all?!!! :D

 

 

I guess we are worried that the fee might be more than what we get as tax return...

 

- not sure how much the quote is from your Steuerberater, but if you also calculate in the time it would have taken you to fathom out the forms and fill them in, plus the reduced level of stress you experience by having somebody else do the job, I would say that having a Steuerberater is good value for money.

 

Must say though that Pog's advice is pretty good - of course ti all depends upon your situation and how complicated your finances really are...

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