Apply for a tax class change at the time of marriage

Spouses who are both subject to unlimited income tax and do not live permanently separated are automatically classified in tax class IV at the time of marriage, even if only one spouse receives wages. If you and your spouse meet the requirements for tax class IV, you can also apply for the formation of tax class III for one spouse and tax class V for the other. Furthermore, you and your spouse can also choose the tax class combination IV/IV with factor. (see further information) If your employer and/or your spouse's employer is not to be informed of the changed marital status, you and/or your spouse can apply to your competent tax office for consideration of a less favourable tax bracket. This would be tax class I. It is also possible for you and/or your spouse to block your employer from retrieving the Electronic Income Tax Deduction Features (ELStAM). You and/or your spouse must apply to your responsible tax office for blocking the employer call (see further information). If you have the call blocked for your employer, your employer is obliged to pay tax on your salary according to tax class VI. 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 the marriage is concluded in Germany, there is no need to submit documents. In principle, the duly issued foreign marriage certificate serves as proof of a marriage concluded abroad. At the registry office of the place of residence, it can be requested that the marriage is subsequently notarized in the German marriage register. There is no obligation to post-notarization. However, the entry in the German marriage register can be advantageous because the local registry office can issue a marriage certificate. The registry office checks the effectiveness of the marriage according to German and the respective foreign rights. It is also checked whether the name declarations in the marriage certificate are effective. If necessary, name declarations will be included.


The application for a change of tax class or for blocking the employer's call-off must be submitted in writing to the responsible tax office on an officially prescribed form (see further information).

Preconditions
You and your spouse are subject to unlimited income tax, which means that your domicile or habitual residence is in Germany. You and your spouse do not live permanently separated. The transmission of the marriage from the registry office via the registration authority to the Federal Central Tax Office is usually automatic. The tax brackets are set to IV/IV.
Section 39e (3) of the Income Tax Act (EStG) The legal basis can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Justice https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/estg/__39.html

If you do not want to keep the tax class IV automatically assigned on marriage, you and your spouse can submit an application for a change of tax class to your responsible tax office (see further information).

Responsible for the content
Lower Saxony Ministry of Finance/Lower Saxony State Office for Taxes

Last update or date of publication
02.03.2021