ELStAM, employee, factor method

Instead of the tax class combination IV / IV or III / V, spouses / partners can apply for tax class IV in connection with a factor, the so-called factor procedure.
  • For each spouse / partner, the tax-relieving regulations are applied to their own income tax deduction (e.g. basic allowance).
  • The tax-reducing effect of the splitting procedure is taken into account.
  • The tax class combination IV / IV with factor leads to a different distribution of wage tax between the spouses / life partners than the tax class combination III / V: the wage tax increases compared to tax class III and decreases compared to tax class V.
  • Any exempt amount (e.g. due to income-related expenses above the employee lump sum) affects the calculation of the factor and is therefore not added to the factor.
  • Classification in tax class IV with a factor is valid for two years.
  • If the wages change, the change of the factor can be requested.
  • Changes to the detriment of the spouse / partner (e.g. a lower allowance) must be reported to the tax office immediately.
Form 'Application for tax class change for spouses' with tax identification number and signature of both spouses / partners. This can be submitted as follows:
  • In writing (by letter)
  • In person: with identity paper
  • By proxy: with identity paper of the proxy and written power of attorney

Note: If the application form is signed by both spouses / civil partners, only one of them needs to be present for a personal application.


The factor method can be chosen by spouses or civil partners who both receive wages.


  • Spouses / life partners who are classified in tax class IV with a factor are required to submit an income tax return for these years.
  • 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, establishing a civil partnership, birth).
Section 39f of the Income Tax Act

Related Links

  • Leaflet on tax class selection 2022
  • ELStAM, employees, allowances (income tax reduction)
  • ELStAM, employees, change of tax class for spouses and life partners

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