Change of the church tax deduction when entering the church

When you enter or re-enter a church, you are required to pay church tax. The procedure for this is largely automated.

If you enter or re-enter a tax-collecting religious community, you must pay church tax according to the church tax laws of the länder, as a supplement to income tax or wage tax (Lohnkirchensteuer). The employer must therefore withhold not only the wage tax, but also regularly the church tax from the employee's salary and pay it to the tax office. The corresponding procedure for deducting wage church tax is largely automated. As a rule, you do not have to do anything else after declared admission to meet your church tax obligations.

How and at which point the church entry is to be explained, is regulated by the religious communities themselves. Church membership is recorded with the registration authorities of the Länder and can only be changed by them. The tax authorities have no influence on this. This is important, for example, if the authorities have incorrect data.

The registration authorities notify the Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt) of changes in church membership and the corresponding date. The BZSt stores the electronic income tax deduction characteristics (ELStAM) in a database. The stored data also includes characteristics for church tax deduction.

The BZSt provides the ELStAM to the employer for free automated retrieval. For the withholding of the church tax in the tax deduction procedure by the employer, the ELStAM are decisive, i.e. the employer is bound by this and does not need to examine the question of church tax liability.

You do not need to submit any documentation.

  • Forms: no
  • Online procedure possible: no
  • Written form required: no
  • Personal appearance required: no


  • personal declaration of church entry or re-entry to the religious community
  • the individual requirements depend on the respective religious community

Related Links

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

You submit the declaration of entry or re-entry to the respective religious community.

  • The religious community informs the competent registration authority. There, the information is stored and forwarded to the Federal Central Tax Office.
  • The Federal Central Tax Office informs the tax offices.
  • No application or notification to the tax office is required, as the data is forwarded to the employer by the registration authorities via the Federal Central Tax Office.

Responsible for the content
Lower Saxony State Tax Office

Last update or date of publication