Marriage leads to a change in the tax bracket Unfortunately this specification of service has not yet been completely translated.

You do not want to keep the tax class combination IV/IV automatically granted at marriage? Then you and your wife or husband can submit an application for a tax class change to your competent tax office of residence.

If you are getting married, you will automatically be placed in tax class IV at the time of the marriage if:

  • they do not live permanently apart and
  • Your domicile or habitual residence is in Germany.

The registry office automatically informs the Federal Central Tax Office about the marriage.
Alternatively, you can apply for the formation of the tax class combination III/V. Furthermore, you can select the tax class combination IV/IV with factor.

Your employer or the employer of your wife or husband should not be informed about the changed marital status? Then you or your wife or husband can submit an application to your responsible tax office for consideration of tax class I. The effect with regard to the deduction of income tax then corresponds to tax class IV. Alternatively, you can also have the employer blocked from retrieving the electronic income tax deduction characteristics.
However, if you do so, your employer is obliged to pay tax on your salary according to the most unfavourable tax class VI.

Background information on the choice of tax class by spouses:
As a rule, the employer only knows the salary of the employee working for him, but not that of the wife or husband. Consequently, only an employee's salary can be taken as a basis for the deduction of income tax. The wages of both spouses can only be combined after the end of the year as part of the income tax assessment. Only then does the applicable annual tax result. It is therefore often unavoidable that too much or too little payroll tax is withheld in the course of the calendar year. In order to come as close as possible to the annual result, the spouses have 2 tax class combinations (IV/IV as a legal rule and III/V on request) and the factor procedure as options.
Which tax class combination is the best? This cannot be answered in general, but depends on your needs and the circumstances of the individual case.

Combinations IV/IV or III/V:
The tax class combination IV/IV assumes that the spouses earn almost the same amount. The tax class combination III/V is designed in such a way that the sum of the tax deduction amounts for both spouses roughly corresponds to the common annual tax if the wife or husband with tax class III achieves 60 percent and the wife or husband with tax class V 40 percent of the sum of the earnings of both spouses. As a result, the tax deduction for tax class V is proportionally higher than for tax classes III and IV. This is also due to the fact that in tax class V the basic allowance due for the subsistence minimum is not taken into account, but in double amount in tax class III. If the ratio of the actual wages does not correspond to the legal assumption of 60:40, tax arrears may be made. For this reason, when choosing the tax class combination III/V, there is an obligation to submit an income tax return.

Combination IV/IV with factor:
Instead of the tax class combination III/V, you can choose the factor method in addition to the tax class combination IV/IV. The tax class combination IV/IV in conjunction with the factor to be calculated by the tax office ensures that for each wife and husband, by applying tax class IV, the basic allowance applicable to him or her is taken into account in the deduction of income tax and that the wage tax to be withheld is calculated by applying the factor of 0,... (always less than 1) according to the effect of the splitting process. The factor is a tax-reducing multiplier, which is calculated from the effect of the splitting procedure if the wages of the spouses are of different levels. Allowances are included in the factor. The factor is automatically provided to the employer as an electronic payroll tax deduction feature.

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.

If you are married in Germany, you do not have to submit any documents.
When marrying abroad, you must submit the duly issued foreign marriage certificate.

Forms: yes

Online procedure possible: yes

Written form required: yes

Personal appearance required: no

Related Links

  • "Application for a change of tax class for spouses" in the form management system of the Federal Finance Administration in the area "Tax forms" under "Wage tax (employees)"
  • Applications for the electronic wage tax deduction characteristics in the form management system of the Federal Finance Administration in the area "Tax forms" under "Wage tax (employees)"
  • Application online on ELSTER

Preconditions

  • You and your wife or husband are subject to unlimited income tax. This means that your domicile or habitual residence is in Germany.
  • You and your wife or husband do not live apart all the time.

Related Links

  • § 39e paragraph 3 Income Tax Act (EStG)

If you do not want to keep the tax class IV automatically assigned at marriage, you and your wife or husband can apply for a change in the tax class:

  • 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 a change of tax class for spouses"
    • Applications for electronic income tax deduction characteristics if you or your wife or husband wish to retain tax class I or wish to block the employer's call-off.
  • Fill out the application on the electronic device or print it out by hand.
  • Applications in paper form must be signed by you and your wife or husband yourself.
  • 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 for spouses and the applications for the electronic income tax deduction characteristics (ELStAM) online via ELSTER to the tax office. 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.

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Last update or date of publication
02.03.2021