German tax return

What you should know about annual tax returns?

Each taxpayer must submit an annual tax return to the local tax office. The tax office at the place where the respective company is headquartered is responsible for this.


  • Registration at the tax office
  • Tax collection and deadlines
  • Payroll tax deductions

Registration with the tax office

In the case of business start-ups, registration is done at the relevant tax office by submitting the so-called "tax assessment questionnaire". This questionnaire will be sent to newly created companies after the establishment of the company or business registration by the tax office.

The tax offices are also available for the purposes of tax information. However, companies should seek the advice of a tax consultant to optimize their tax returns. Tax consultants can be found throughout Germany on the website of the German Tax Consultants Association.

Tax collection and deadlines

The tax collection for the main types of taxes (income, corporate, commercial and VAT) is accomplished by means of advance payments (for example, monthly or quarterly) which are offset against the tax liability incurred in the annual tax return. The tax return for a year must be filed by the 31, May of the following year, but this period may be extended upon request.

The tax return consists of different forms for each tax type. Where possible, supporting documents of the deductible expenses must be enclosed or submitted at the request of the tax authorities.

Deduction of payroll tax

Employees pay payroll tax - a special term for the income tax paid by dependent employees. The employer is required to withhold the income tax directly from the employee’s salary and pay it monthly to the tax office. For this reason, employees who earn only income from employment are not obliged to submit an annual tax return.


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