assess income tax Unfortunately this specification of service has not yet been completely translated.

The tax office issues the income tax assessment based on the information you provide in your tax return. The amount of tax depends on the amount of income. The calculation of income also takes into account expenses incurred for work ("income-related expenses"), insurance premiums, medical expenses and various other expense items.


The obligation to file an income tax return depends on what types of income the income consists of and how high the income is.

1) If only wages are received for which wage tax has already been withheld, there is only an obligation to file an income tax return under certain conditions, e.g. if

  • the salary was received from several employers,
  • in the case of spouses/life partners, the tax class combination III / V or IV / IV with factor was applied during the year,
  • an allowance has been taken into account for the deduction of wage tax and the wages earned in the calendar year exceed ?11,900 (for 2019: ?11,600) or, in the case of married couples/life partners assessed jointly, a total of ?22,600 (for 2019: ?22,050),
  • the employer has not determined the wage tax for a miscellaneous payment (such as bonus, severance payment) in accordance with the rules for current wages,
  • parents who are not to be assessed jointly apply for a different division than the half division of an allowance for education away from home or for a disability allowance to which a joint child is entitled.

2) If the income is made up of other income (e.g . rental income , pensions, self-employment/commercial activity) in addition to wages , the tax declaration obligation depends on the amount of the other income.

Insofar as this (other) income exceeds the amount of 410 euros in the calendar year, there is an obligation to submit an income tax return.

The annual amount of 410 euros also applies to the receipt of basically tax-free wage replacement benefits (e.g. unemployment benefit, sickness benefit, parental benefit). Since these benefits have an influence on the amount of the tax rate (so-called progression proviso), a tax return must also be submitted if the amount of 410 euros is exceeded.

3) If, on the other hand, no salary is received, but the income consists exclusively of other income (e.g . rental income, pensions, self-employment/commercial activity), an income tax return must be submitted if the total amount of income exceeds the so-called basic allowance.

This basic allowance amounts in 2020

  • single persons: 9,408 EURO in 2019: 9,168 EURO
  • for jointly assessed spouses/life partners: 18,816 EURO in 2019: 18,336 EURO.

Information on the simplified declaration for retirement income can be found under Publications.

  • Einkommensteuergesetz
  • Einkommensteuer-Durchführungsverordnung
  • Informationen zur Vereinfachten Erklärung für Alterseinkünfte

If, among other things, income is earned from commercial or self-employed activities, the tax return must always be submitted electronically. The free software of the tax authorities (ELSTER procedure; is available for this purpose. In all other cases, the tax return can also be submitted in person or by post.

The tax office checks the information and then issues a tax assessment in paper form. If the tax return is submitted by ELSTER, the tax assessment can also be submitted in electronic form. A notification will then be sent by e-mail as to when the tax assessment can be accessed electronically. In order to maintain tax secrecy, the tax assessment is only provided in encrypted form. To retrieve the data, the encrypted file must first be downloaded to your own PC and decrypted using the selected authentication method.

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