Tax class change after the death of the spouse or a domestic partner
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Verstirbt Ihr Ehegatte oder Ihre Lebenspartnerin bzw. Ihr Lebenspartner, werden Sie grundsätzlich in die Steuerklasse III im Jahr des Todes und im darauffolgenden Jahr eingereiht.
If your spouse dies, your tax class will automatically be switched to tax class III from the first of the month following the day of your death.

In the following year, you will also remain in tax class III.

From the beginning of the second calendar year after the death of your spouse or life partner, tax class I will be created for you by program.

There will be no change to tax class III after the death of your spouse or partner if, for example, you were permanently separated at the time of death.

Instead of tax class III, you can also consider tax class II, which may be more favorable, if you are entitled to the relief amount for single parents. You can apply for tax class II at your responsible tax office (see further information).

A notice:
Since the law introducing the right to marry for persons of the same sex came into force on October 1, 2017
no new civil partnerships can be established in Germany.

Same-sex couples have been able to marry each other since then and are therefore treated as equal to different-sex couples.

Existing civil partnerships can be converted into a marriage. However, there is no obligation to do so. Already existing civil partnerships can be continued in their previous form.
  • None for tax class III
  • For tax class II "Application for income tax reduction"


If you and your deceased spouse or partner were not permanently separated at the time of death, you will automatically be classified in tax class III.


  • Hamburg citizens can contact any regional tax office in Hamburg for ELStAM matters.
  • The registration offices are responsible for changing the civil status data in the register (e.g. marriage, birth).
Section 38b Income Tax Act (EStG)

Related Links

  • ELStAM, employee, tax class II (single parents)
In principle, you do not need to take any action in order to receive tax class III after the death of your spouse or partner.

If you wish to be classified in tax class II, you can apply for this at your responsible tax office so that the relief amount for single parents can already be taken into account in the wage tax deduction procedure.

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