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Split year tax return and cost of steuerberater

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Hello, 

 

We moved from abroad last August (2016) and my husband has been working since then here in Germany. We have just been to see a Steuerberaterin who mentioned that it would cost about £825 to do our tax return for 2016.  

 

It seems an awful lot even given that situation is slightly more complex than the norm as we have a split year and a German property which we get a small rental income from. We will be doing the tax return from the country we moved from ourselves. It seems unlikely we will save £825 from just 5 months of pay my husband made here in Germany. Surely the point of having Steuerberater/in is to save some money and not pass it straight on to someone else, probably along with more money from our pocket? 

 

We are also concerned that her costs will increase over and above the figures that were mentioned. Is it appropriate to ask for a written quote so we do not get any nasty surprises?

 

Also I have been reading posts on here where people mentioned filing several years worth of tax returns at a time e.g 2006/2007/2008. Is this still allowed? We were under the impression that the 2016 tax return had to be submitted by 31st May or 31st Dec 2017 if using a Steuerberater. If this is the case, how can 3 years of tax returns ever be filed simultaneously?

 

Thanks

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Filing a tax return in your case is not about saving money, but it is something mandatory for your case.

If you have extra income like your German rental income, you have to file each year, only employees with no other income are allowed to file later, i.e. submit multiple tax returns at once.

 

The price seems reasonable, this is what a Steuerberater costs.

You can ask for written quote, but it isn't binding since her fees are anyway governed by law, the Steuerberatervergütungsverordnung (isn't that a nice long word? :D), and the only variable is how "difficult" your case is, which is something that she can only know after having done your tax return ;)

 

In your case - if you didn't have any self-employed income - you can also just let a Lohnsteuerhilfeverein do your tax return, they are cheaper:

https://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/topic/212597-is-going-to-a-steuerberater-worth-it-for-me/?do=findComment&comment=2376850

 

 

 

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Thank you Panda. We decided not to continue with the Steuerberater. My other half checked and her fee of 825 was without VAT ( I guess I need to get used to people quoting before additional of VAT). She also confirmed that 1500 would not be expensive so the figures could have headed that way.

 

Lohnsteuerhilfe said they could not help us as the income from rent is too high (it is just over 1000) a month but is all in my husbands name. 

 

I have another question. 

Are we obliged to file a tax return in Germany for 2016 given we were still resident in the UK for 7 months of the year? There must be a set number of days below which the tax return is filed only in the country where one has spent most time. For example, someone moving here in December would not be expected to file a tax return (with all associated expenses) for the sake of a few weeks?

 

 

And one more question. As we have now decided to do the tax return ourselves for 2016, it seems we are late with the application and face a fine. Does anyone know how much we are looking at and could we plead our case with the tax office to avoid the fine? We had assumed we would use a Steuerberater and therefore have alonger deadline.

 

Thanks

 

 

 

 

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You don't seem to understand your situation: as soon as you have just 0.01€ of German rental income, you have to submit a tax return for that year!

 

The fine is small, around 20€.

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It is one of the joys of moving to Germany, they take the simple and make it super complicated. It's good once you here but it's getting here is the difficult part.The problem is that unlike elsewhere the German government takes in account what you earned before moving here. My Steuerbreater said it's best to arrive in Germany Jan 1st. As PandaMunich mentioned again unlike elsewhere you can't just go to H&R Block to get your taxes done you HAVE TO go an accountant and it's not cheap. So when you get frustrated start swearing just think of how much money you'll save.

 

Don't quote me on this but I do believe the Finanzamp will correct mistakes on self filling, as long is it's not money related, i.e. you claim a big refund but actually owe money. 

 

 

1 hour ago, hoppety said:

I guess I need to get used to people quoting before additional of VAT

Yeah I got caught out on that on during renovations. Got a quote worked out the budget and then got the bill and it was stupid £$%%^$£  VAT!

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Thank you. OK so we need to file a tax return. I asked because in the UK you only need to file if you are resident for a certain proportion of the year.

 

I never would have considered basing my move date (or rather money earning )on the German Tax year but I guess that was would save a lot of hassle if was towards the end of the year. 

 

Good to know that the fine is small. So we will try and do it ourselves and see where we get to. Fingers crossed it is not too complicated.

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I'm afraid you still haven't understood the gravity of your situation.

If you have German rental income, you always have to submit a German tax return in which you declare it, no matter where you are resident.

This is laid down in the double taxation agreements that Germany has with other countries.

For example, in the Germany/UK double taxation agreement this is laid down in article 6.

 

So if you had German rental income before 2016 and haven't been filing German tax returns for these years, you have been committing tax evasion.

The fine for that is a bit higher.

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Hi Panda,

 

Thanks for your concern but not to worry, it is only a 2016 tax return we owe. Neither of us earned a cent in Germany in 2015 or before from rental income or otherwise. My husbands property was only bought last year mid way through 2016 (I seem to remember you helped me in a post with that purchase) and of course we will get the 2016 tax return in a.s.a.p now. I suppose there is still time to get a Steuerberater if we don't make any headway ourselves.

 

Thanks

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Come to think of it, Lohnsteuerhilfe turned him away when he told them the monthly rent as they probably assumed we had a full year's worth of rent which would take him over the limit for requesting their services. They might be willing to help based on the fact he only got rent income from Aug onwards.

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They were being nasty, a Lohnsteuerhilfeverein is allowed to help a married couple that has rental income of up to 26,000€ a year, see here: https://www.bvl-verband.de/lohnsteuerhilfevereine/wen-duerfen-lohnsteuerhilfevereine-beraten/?L=0


Edit: just looked up your posting history, if as you say in this post, you are not married, the limit is 13,000€.
I would advise you to get married, not just for this and the extra tax advantages for married people (if he doesn't earn, they amount to a lot!), but also because then your husband would be covered for free under your public health insurance under Familienversicherung.

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Ah that is interesting about the rental limit. We will try them again.

 

Re my previous post, we weren't married then but we are now! 

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