Change of income tax brackets during marriage or civil partnership

The tax bracket determines the amount of payroll tax that is withheld from your wage. If you and your spouse or partner do not live permanently apart, you and your spouse or partner can choose between the following tax class combinations: _ IV/IV, _ III/V or _ Tax class IV with factor. Tax class IV with a factor is also referred to as a factor method. If you make a joint application with your spouse or civil partner at your competent tax office, the tax brackets can be changed from IV/IV to III/V or IV/IV by factor. Similarly, the assignment of tax classes III and V can be exchanged on a joint request (see further information). For the change from tax class III/V to IV/IV, it is sufficient if you or your spouse or civil partner apply for the tax class change at your competent tax office (see further information). A change of tax class shall take effect on the first day of the month following the application. For example, you and your spouse or civil partner may request a tax class change in the following cases: _ You or your spouse or civil partner no longer receive a wage, _ You or your spouse or civil partner return to work after unemployment. From 2020 onwards, the change in the tax bracket will no longer be limited to once a year. In the following cases, you are obliged to inform your competent tax office that a different tax class is to be taken into account: _ You and your spouse or civil partner have separated permanently, _ Your spouse or civil partner has died. Note: Since the entry into force of the law establishing the right to marry for persons of the same sex on 1.10.2017, no new civil partnerships can be established in Germany. Same-sex couples have been able to marry each other since then and are thus treated as same as different-sex couples. Existing civil partnerships can be converted into a marriage. However, there is no obligation to do so. Existing life partnerships can be continued in their current form.


The application for a change of tax class must be submitted in writing on the officially prescribed form to the competent tax office (see further information).

There must be an intact marriage or civil partnership in order to choose between several tax class combinations.
Section 38b paragraph 3Income Act (EStG) Section 39(6) of the Income Tax Act (EStG); The legal bases can be found on the Internet on the website of the Federal Ministry of Justice

To take into account a different tax class combination, you and your spouse or civil partner submit an application to your competent tax office using the officially prescribed form (see further information).