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How to keep up with the German tax-jungle

With all its intricacies and bureaucratic obligations, the German tax system and tax declarations can be challenging even for natives. The tools and websites linked on this page offer you a first overview and can help you feel more comfortable and avoid stress as much as possible.

Natural persons with their domicile or habitual abode in Germany (§ 8 and § 9 German General Fiscal Code ("Abgabenordnung") respectively) are subject to unlimited income tax liability in Germany pursuant to § 1 para. 1 sentence 1 of the German Income Tax Act ("Einkommensteuergesetz") with regards all income earned in Germany and abroad.

Pursuant to §§ 1 para. 4, § 49 para. 1 no. 4a of the Income Tax Act, foreign employees working in Germany may even be subject to limited income tax liability if they do not have a domicile or habitual abode in Germany.

Unilateral tax relief regulations exist (§§ 34c, 34d Income Tax Act) to avoid overlaps in tax claims made by different countries of an individual taxable person. They are based on the principle of the ability to pay taxes, whereby no distinction may be made with regards to equality of taxation or whether income has soley been earned and therefore is solely liable for tax in Germany or additionally involves foreign remuneration.

Additionally, Germany has concluded (bilateral) double taxation agreements with many countries to regulate which country waives taxes in accordance with national legislation. Double taxation agreements do not substantiate any tax liability; rather they merely determine or limit the right to taxation.

Further Information

Double Taxation Agreements

Texts of the double taxation agreements concluded by the Federal Republic of Germany as well as other state-related publications

Elster (in German)

Elster (acronym for electronic tax declaration) is a project of the German tax administrations of all regions and the federal government for the processing of tax returns and tax returns via the Internet

Database of Tax Accountants (in German)

Search for tax accountants in Germany, Europe and worldwide amongst other things by area of expertise (for instance "income tax") and by country on whose tax law the adviser is specialised

Your Europe

Information on your rights and opportunities in the EU and its Internal Market plus advice on how to exercise these rights in practice. Useful information on living, working and studying in another EU country, including taxation