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Proof of foreign income

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Dear all,

 

I moved to Germany last October. Previously I worked in Israel as a postdoc research. During this time I was not officially employed, but rather received a living allowance stipend (this is the standard for a postdoc in Israel, e.g., https://international.huji.ac.il/book/post-doctoral-regulations), which was tax free. The money was paid directly into my bank account each month - I did not receive a payslip or equivalent. I declared this foreign income in my German tax, and now they are asking for proof of income. The problem is - I have none. As noted, the money was paid directly into a (now closed) bank account, with no payslip.

 

Any advice?

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They want proof that this was really a scholarship (and not, for example, employee income) and therefore tax-free under §3 Nr. 44 EStG, not proof that you got the money (they actually believe that just from you stating it).

 

So you something like the letter from the organisation that paid you that scholarship, in which they told you:

  • "We will pay you a scholarship of ... ILS per month, for the next x months."
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Dear PandaMunich,

 

Thank you. I was actually not aware it was tax-free (where I am free, almost nothing is tax-free)! The precise request was:

 

Bitte legen Sie Unterlagen über den im Ausland bezogenen Arbeitslohn vor und weisen Sie ggf. die Besteureung nach.

 

Presuming I could get a letter from the University (which would certainly be in English), would it be necessary to get this officially translated in German?

 

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Arbeitslohn means "wages", so they think this is taxable employee income, and you now have to disabuse the Finanzamt of this notion.

 

You will need 2 things to convince them that this was a tax-free scholarship (= Stipendium, in German):

  1. that letter in English from the university (if they were the ones from whose budget that scholarship money came from, and not just the intermediary who paid it out to you!), which should clearly state that this is a scholarship and not employee income. It should also state that this scholarship was paid out of public money, that the money was just enough to cover your cost of living and that you did not have to do any specific scientific or employee-like tasks in return for that money (these are the some of conditions for it to be tax-free as stated in  §3 Nr. 44 EStG).
  2. documents that prove that the institution from whose budget the scholarship money came from was a "public" institution or an institution that was set up by a public institution. (this is the remaining condition for it to be tax-free as stated in  §3 Nr. 44 EStG).
    Normally, the statutes of that institution will do.

The Finanzamt is allowed to ask for a translation of all non-German documents into German, but in my experience it is sufficient if you pencil in German translations of the key words on a copy of that letter/the statutes.

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