Pension taxation, general information

How are old-age pensions taxed?
Life annuity insurances in which the acquired entitlements cannot be lent, cannot be inherited, cannot be sold, cannot be transferred and cannot be capitalized (statutory pension insurances, professional pension and comparable private annuity insurances) have been subject to the so-called taxable portion (taxable part of the pension) since 2005 Income tax.
For the year 2005, the taxable portion is uniformly 50% of the gross pension. This applies to all existing pensions (pension commencement before 2005) and to the pensions paid for the first time this year.
The taxable portion of the pension will be increased for each new pension up to 2020 in steps of 2% to 80% and then in steps of 1% to 100% up to 2040.
The tax-free part of the pension is determined based on the relevant percentage from the gross pension of the following year after the start of the pension and applies for the entire term of the pension.

From how much pension do taxes have to be paid?
Whether pensioners have to file a tax return and pay taxes depends on the amount of their taxable income. This includes not only pension income, but also other income, for example rental income or a company pension.
An income tax return is required if a pensioner's income exceeds the basic income tax allowance. In 2018 the annual basic tax allowance is 9,000 euros (individual assessment; from 2019: 9,168 euros, from 2020: 9,408 euros). For married couples / life partners who are assessed together, these amounts double.

Pensioners with no other income
Some pensions are tax-free. The portion of a pension that is subject to taxation depends on the year in which the pension commenced. If you retire in 2005 or earlier, it is 50 percent.
Business expenses and special expenses can still be deducted from the taxable part of the pension.

Pensioners with other income
If, in addition to the old-age pension from the statutory pension insurance, other taxable income (e.g. company or works pensions) is drawn or if the spouse / partner assessed together with the pensioner is, for example, an employee and earns income from non-self-employed work, the taxable part of the pension income tax must be determined.



You can obtain tax assistance from:
  • voluntary pension advisors,
  • Income tax aid associations and
  • Members of the tax advisory professions .
The information and collection points of the Hamburg tax offices are available for issuing tax return forms and clarifying individual questions.

There is currently a simplified country form for pensioners that is only valid as a tax return in:
Brandenburg, Bremen, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony.
The Hamburg tax offices refuse to accept the country form as a tax return. Therefore, please use the general forms for the income tax return (see links) or submit the tax return electronically, e.g. via ELSTER.

From the tax assessment period 2019 onwards, the preparation of a tax return is much easier because the tax office automatically takes over data that is available electronically (e.g. pension amounts and contributions to health and long-term care insurance).
If you only receive pension and / or pension income, it is sufficient in many cases to submit the completed and signed cover sheet.

Related Links

  • Forms to download Tax Administration Hamburg
  • How are pensions taxed?
  • Retirement income calculator (Bavaria)
  • Overview of pension taxation
  • Information on pensions and benefits

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