Tax return processing times by the Finanzamt

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Hi,

 

I submitted a [late] tax return for 2006 in early September 2007 using WISO Sparbuch and the Elster Online system. My German is pretty poor, but I managed to use the software, and I'm under the impression the tax return was submitted... this is what the software says at least.

 

But 3 months later, and I have received nothing in the post from the Finanzamt, and the WISO Sparbuch software says after contacting the Elster system that no decision has been reached on my tax return.

 

The tax return itself should have been straightforward to process, and I'm due to get a good bit of money back, so I don't want to lose this.

 

If anyone has any experience with this...

 

Should I be worried? Or is 3+ months pretty normal to have to wait, especially given that I handed it in 6 months after it was technically due? In particular, should I be worried given that I'm approaching the year-end of 2007?

 

Does anyone know if the Finanzamt accept queries about the status of returns via email, or do you need to phone / call in person?

 

This may sound like a silly question, but where I come from it can make a big difference when interacting with the state institutions that you call in person, as emails are often ignored. But my German is still sufficiently poor that I try to do these things by email if at all possible.

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In my personal experience, it has taken anywhere from one to six months to receive feed-back after filing my income taxes.

 

Always done it the old-fashioned way, though, never via internet.

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Does anyone know if the Finanzamt accept queries about the status of returns via email, or do you need to phone / call in person?

 

This may sound like a silly question, but where I come from it can make a big difference when interacting with the state institutions that you call in person, as emails are often ignored. But my German is still sufficiently poor that I try to do these things by email if at all possible.

You could always fax them or - better yet - write a good, old-fashioned letter.

 

If I remember right, my last tax return took about... 3-4 months? Filed via Elster and directly submitted in written form for confirmation, both on time though.

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They're only people, for Gods' sake - armed with your tax number simply call them. You might find them surprisingly helpful. I've got to know the woman dealing with my tax affairs quite well, much though she does everything by the book, she's very approachable, and often quite helpful.

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I second Yorkshire Lads reasoning here.I have been in touch with mine and they check up on the computer and tell you if its in the records.If it is you have to bide your time.You cannot rush these people after all they are civil servants.

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I submitted my return on 28th April through a Steuerberater and haven't heard anything back or seen any money transfered. Is a 2 month wait normal? How long do people normally wait to get the money back when using a Steuerberater?

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I thought that they had to process tax returns within 3 months? Not sure on the exact timing, but I think they have a limit around this mark.

 

Having said that, have you sent via post all of your receipts etc? Because they might not start processing until they receive this.

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You could always fax them or - better yet - write a good, old-fashioned letter.

Or email them of course (in my experience they reply by letter). On the later (2 month) query, I reckon the time is OK. The May year end means it's "rush hour" in tax return terms, so there may be a queue. Mine was six weeks in February. Also no doubt varies by office of course.

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In April 2009 a lot of people are still submitting their 2007 tax declarations. Add to that the submitters for 2008 and keep in mind that the Finanzämter had to redo almost all tax bills for 2007 because of the "Pendlerpauschale" and you know why they might need a little longer.

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Topics merged by admin

 

Anybody have info on how long it takes for the government to process simple tax refunds where the income is well below the minimum?

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During the last two years, it took a couple of months for the Finanzamt in Bochum to send refund for first year and demand for more tax in the second year. In both cases, income was above the minimum. I guess it could vary depending on the location.

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2 minutes ago, RPC said:

During the last two years, it took a couple of months for the Finanzamt in Bochum to send refund for first year and demand for more tax in the second year. In both cases, income was above the minimum. I guess it could vary depending on the location.

 

Thank you. :)

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I see a response from 2 - 6 months seems normal.  Is there any actual law about response times though?  We submitted (well the accountants submitted) February 2018 for 2016 and April 2018 for 2017.  We have gotten nothing back yet.  The accountants say they ask and are told the Finanzamt is working on them.  

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On 3/15/2019, 3:56:56, norcal_sf said:

I see a response from 2 - 6 months seems normal.  Is there any actual law about response times though?  We submitted (well the accountants submitted) February 2018 for 2016 and April 2018 for 2017.  We have gotten nothing back yet.  The accountants say they ask and are told the Finanzamt is working on them.  

 

No, there is no law regarding response time. All it will depend on is the date you submitted your papers and how many they have to process along with those that they received together with yours. Usually, the earliest would be 1-2 months waiting period. It could take longer. 

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Glad to have found this thread, though sad to see there is no real time frame for responses. 

 

We submitted on March 20th this year (for 2018), and now it's mid-September and we've still received complete nada, zilch, zero. I'm pretty annoyed! I know we should get back a generous return. There's nothing too complicated in our return, should be pretty straightforward. We always do our taxes ourselves, and according to my records, we've always filed between mid to late March. Typically get something back by June/July.

 

One complication may be that we moved summer of 2018 to a new city, although still within Niedersachsen, although it shouldn't matter too much. Still, we've contacted both relevant Finanzämte.

 

In late July, we finally decided to call directly and see if everything was in order. After the requisite eternity on hold, the first Finanzamt (where we live now and where we filed) seemed unsure, but said it must be being processed by the Finanzamt in Old City. So we called them and same routine, hmmm, nah, it must be being processed where you live now. After another annoyed call back to square 1 in New City, and more digging, oops, yes, we started it here, but Old City has to mail us one thing before we can proceed. Call Old City again to report this, oh yea, woopsy-doodle, says here we sent that several weeks ago. Call New City again, oh ok it must be here somewhere then, so then, you should get it next month (i.e. before September).

 

Cue to Monday last week, 2nd week of September, we call again. More uncertainty, obviously no one really knows. Finally get someone more senior on the line, turns out our case-worker has been written off sick the last several weeks, and (though not said directly, it was clear) nothing has been done since she left. We're tranferred to her replacement to get a timeline, but he doesn't know, he's only got there a couple weeks ago and, anyhow, sounds fresh, like his voice just broke and I can imagine the pimples. He tells us that if it's fast, it'll come in 4 weeks, i.e. sometime in early October. 

 

Wow.

 

After we get out money back, I will certainly write a complaint letter. Things can take time, I don't expect speedy service, I get it, but the vague brush offs, unanswerable delays, and obvious lack of concern do annoy me. I had the impression both places considered us the other's problem. 

 

It's also annoying because we could have used the return for a simpler filing of Elterngeldantrag, but instead had to dig out every pay stub and photocopy them, along with records for some (piddling) freelance work I do on the side once in a blue moon. We also had a renovation project planned with the money, and now that'll have to wait till next spring. Grrr.

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Yep, I’m also getting annoyed with this.  Usually I’d have the cash within 2, sometimes 3 months and now it’s creeping up to 5. It’s a sizable return and I could really use the money.

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