Apply for a change of tax brackets during marriage or civil partnership

As a spouse and partner and as a life partner, you have three possible tax class combinations at your disposal. You can choose freely from these.

The amount of payroll tax withheld from your wages depends on the tax bracket.
If you and your spouse or partner (hereinafter for both: partner) do not live permanently separately, you can choose between the following tax class combinations:

  • IV/IV,
  • III/V or
  • Tax class IV with factor. Tax class IV with factor is also referred to as factor method.

In order to change your tax class, you must always submit a joint application to your local tax office. This also applies to a new classification of tax classes III and V.
For the change from tax class III/V to IV/IV, it is sufficient if only you or your partner submit the application.
For example, you can apply for a tax class change in the following cases: You or your partner

  • no longer receive wages, or
  • start working again after unemployment.

You can also change the tax bracket several times a year.

If you and your partner live permanently apart, you must inform your local tax office so that the tax class is changed (I instead of III/V or IV/IV).

Hint:
Since the entry into force of the act introducing the right to marry for persons of the same sex on 1.10.2017, no new civil partnerships can be established in Germany. Since then, same-sex couples have been able to enter into marriage with each other and are thus on an equal footing with couples of different sexes.
Existing civil partnerships can be converted into a marriage. However, there is no obligation to do so. Existing civil partnerships can be continued in their current form.

You do not need to submit any documentation.

Forms: yes

Online procedure possible: yes

Written form required: yes

Personal appearance required: no

Related Links

  • "Application for tax class change" and "Application for wage tax reduction" in the form management system of the Federal Finance Administration in the area "Tax forms" under "Wage tax (employee)"
  • Application online on ELSTER

Preconditions

The marriage or civil partnership is intact.

Related Links

  • § 38b paragraph 3 Income Tax Act (EStG)
  • § 39 paragraph 6 Income Tax Act (EStG)

If you and your partner would like to change the tax class, you can submit an application to your local tax office:

  • In the form management system of the Federal Finance Administration, select the appropriate application form in the "Tax forms" section under "Wage tax (employees)":
    • "Application for tax class change"
    • "Application for a reduction in income tax"
  • Fill out the application on the electronic device or print it out by hand.
  • You and your partner must sign the application.
  • Send the application by post to your local tax office.
  • You will receive a notification.

Alternatively, you can also submit the application for a change of tax class online and barrier-free via ELSTER. ELSTER is barrier-free and platform-independent access to the electronic services of the tax administration.
For electronic authenticated transmission, you need a certificate. You will receive this after your registration on ELSTER. Please note that the registration process can take up to 2 weeks.

Responsible for the content
Lower Saxony State Tax Office

Last update or date of publication
23.02.2021