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Taxes & Payroll Contributions

Suffice it to say, the German tax system is complex. There are a maze of deductions, special exemptions, tax breaks for families, and much, much more. If you think you are entitled to get some money back, and most taxpayers are, you should seek professional advice from an income tax association (Lohnsteuerverein) or a tax consultant (Steuerberater). They will either charge you a flat fee or a fee based on your total income - but this can be deducted in the next year as an expense.

Income tax for an Individual

Taxation of an individual's income is progressive, meaning the higher the income, the higher the rate of tax payable. An individual is liable for income tax on money earned as an employee or as a self-employed person. Single taxpayers are liable to pay tax if they earn more than 7,664 euros per annum and the amount is doubled for married taxpayers.

Tax rates for an individual vary between 15 percent and 42 percent depending on income. Your income tax card (Steuerkarte), which was mailed to you shortly after you registered with the German authorities, should be given to your employer who will return it to you at the end of the year with the necessary information for your income tax return. Along with the tax return itself, the income tax card must be returned to the tax office (Finanzamt). The filing deadline is the end of May of the year following the tax year concerned, but it is possible to get an extension. Annual income tax returns can also be submitted online using the Elster service ( For more extensive information, consult the tax office website at


Payroll Contributions

In addition to income tax, you will be liable for a wide array of social contributions. If you pay social contributions for less than five years (60 months), you might be able to get a refund on the employee portion (not the employer's contribution) of the retirement insurance only. This does not apply for your employee contributions to both unemployment or the nursing care insurance. If you reside in Germany for more than 60 months, you are entitled to German retirement benefits.

Retirement, Unemployment and Nursing Care Insurance

The biggest chunk of the total social contributions pays for your retirement insurance (Rentenversicherung), which represents 19.5 percent of your monthly income. Unemployment insurance (Arbeitslosengeld) amounts to 6.5 percent of your gross revenue, while the long-term care insurance (Pflegeversicherung) represents 1.7 percent or 1.95 percent for taxpayers who do not have children.

Solidarity Surcharge

The enormous job of merging the two Germanys was in part financed by this tax, which is a surcharge of 5.5 percent of the normal income tax paid. Even though unification was over 20 years ago, this tax remains the lasting legacy. The tax is levied on all corporations and individuals.

Church Tax

If you are member of either the Catholic or Protestant church, you will also be liable for tax equal to 8-9 percent of the income tax you pay. For a more detailed discussion of this tax, please see the chapter on Churches and Religion



I'm a teacher thinking about moving to work in Germany, as a single person what level of tax would i have to pay?

I've been given a quote of an annual salary of 50, 000 euros.

Hi Robyn,

For a single person, your tax rate would be about 25% (income tax plus solidarity surcharge). You would also have to pay into the retirement and unemployment insurance, but you can get this back if you leave Germany after two years (I think). And you would have to pay for health insurance, which at a minimum would be about 250 euros per month. If you have further questions, you can contact

Susanna Regenbogen-Stenger
tax adviser
Raiffeisenstraße 9 · 61118 Bad Vilbel
Tel.: 06101/64003

Hope this helps


Hi Robin,

Try to calculate or have an idea how much tax you will have to pay.


I receive a retirement from the German system after working in Germany for 27 years. This year is my first full year of retirement, and my wife and I are submitting income tax papers to the IRS. According to the CPA preparing our returns, we will owe a considerable amount of taxes on my German retirement income, while in Germany the amount I receive is exempt from taxes. This retirement is the equivalent of the American Social Security system; in fact, a large amount of my SS points were combined with the German system to make up a full retirement under the German system. This is covered under a "windfall prevention agreement" between Germany and the U.S. Is there any way I can avoid paying U.S. taxes on my German retirement income? Thanks -- Bill


I am a Software professional, I got an opportunity to work in Germany, my initial salary quote is 42,000 euros. I am a married man with a kid less then 1 yr old.

Please suggest me how much i need to pay as tax and other deductible for insurances. It will be great if you can suggestion some tax calculation link in english.


Your personal tax rate depends on many factors, but as a general rule you net salary will be about 60% of your gross salary -- with deductions for income tax, health care coverage, social security, unemployment insurance, etc...

A good English language website is

Hope this helps.


In answer to Bill Weger's question:

I doubt that your German social security benefits are "exempt" from German taxes but your CPA is clearly wrong with regard to their taxability by the US.

If you continue your residence in Germany your German social security retirement benefits (gesetzliche Rentenversicherung) will be US income tax-free. This is because of a very rare benefit conferred on US citizens by the Germany-USA income tax treaty (DBA-USA)

Para. 5 of Article 18 of the Germany-USA treaty (DBA-USA) reads in pertinent part:

"5. Social security benefits paid under the social security legislation of a Contracting State and other public pensions (not dealt with in Article 19 (Government Service)) paid by a Contracting State to a resident of the other Contracting State shall be taxable only in that other Contracting State. In applying the preceding sentence, that other Contracting State shall treat such benefit or pension as though it were a social security benefit paid under the social security legislation of that other Contracting State.

As is typical in all US bilateral income tax treaties the DBA-USA contains a clause - the so-called "savings clause" - that reserves to the USA the right to tax its citizens as if the treaty did not exist; i.e. ordinarily the benefit conferred by Art. 18 para. 5 would be of no help. The savings clause in the DBA-USA is para. 4 of Article 1 and it reads as follows:


a) Except to the extent provided in paragraph 5, this Convention shall not affect the taxation by the United States of its residents (as determined under Article 4 (Residence)) and its citizens.

As you can see, however, certain treaty benefits specified in paragraph 5 are specifically exempt from the "savings clause"; one such benefit is the social security provisions of Art. 18 para. 5 quoted above. Thus Article 1 Para 5 provides:

5. The provisions of paragraph 4 shall not affect the benefits conferred by the United States:

a) under paragraph 2 of Article 9 (Associated Enterprises), paragraph 6 of Article 13 (Gains), paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 of Article 18 (Pensions, Annuities, Alimony, Child Support, and Social Security), paragraph 1 and 5 of Article 18A (Pension Plans), paragraph 3 of Article 19 (Government Service), and under Articles 23 (Relief from Double Taxation), 24 (Nondiscrimination), and 25 (Mutual Agreement Procedure); and

Oddly enough, the treaty is crystal clear that US social security benefits paid to a US citizen resident in Germany would be subject only to German taxation. However, because Art 18 para. 5 is written to emphasize that unusual fact, it - strictly speaking - says nothing about the taxability in the other country (e.g. the USA) of social security benefits of one country (e.g. Germany) paid to a resident of that same country (e.g. Germany).

Since it would be extremely odd and anomalous that the US would abandon its right to tax US citizens resident in Germany on their US Social Security benefits but retain the right to tax them on their German social security benefits, I think it is pretty clear that this was not the result intended by the failure to mention that "obvious" situation in Article 18 (5). One can also fall back on the argument that a US citizen in Germany is - by virtue of that citizenship - always a "resident of the other Contracting State" within the meaning of Art 4 of the treaty ("Residence")

To claim the right under the treaty to exclude German (or US) social security benefits from US taxation you must file a special form every year called Form 8833. Disclosure of a Treaty-based return position.

I am a US citizen planning to work as freelancer in Germany.
Married with 2 kids.

Do i need to pay for Social Security?
Do i need to pay for Healthcare?

Is the maximum tax bracket 42% + Solidarity Tax ?
What are the other tax deductions that i need to consider?

Sam S's question is too vague and general to answer. It is not even clear what country's taxes he's referring to.

American citizens who are tax resident in Germany are subject to taxation by both Germany and the United States on ALL their worldwide income. That's ALL income. That's BOTH countries.


Alles klar?

Besides the USA only 3 other countries on the planet Earth tax on the basis of citizenship: Eritrea, Vietnam and North Korea.

Great company, no?

(To be fair: Eritrea only charges a flat 2% on its citizens abroad.)

Because of the extraordinary complexity involved, the costs of tax (including social security) and information reporting compliance imposed on US citizens abroad are extremely expensive in terms of time and/or cost to acquire or hire the expertise necessary. (It also supposes that the US citizen can find a German steuerberater who is familiar with the double taxation avoidance provisions of Article 23 of the Germany-USA tax treaty. Such persons are few and far between.)

Many information reporting requirements are designed by the US Treasury to artificially burden US taxpayers who are tempted to invest outside the USA or use the services of foreign financial institutions that compete with the homegrown variety. Unfortunately, no one at Treasury considered the horrendous impact these compliance "tarifs" on capital outflows might have on Americans living outside the US.

The only saving grace is that the IRS lacks the expertise, budget or financial incentive to review the accuracy of whatever nonsense you submit on your Form 1040. Even in the unlikely event a US taxpayer living overseas tells the whole truth to the IRS and correctly computes his tax, the amount due (if any) in most cases will be so small that it is hardly worth the IRS's time to maintain the human and budget resources to monitor compliance.

Consequently, US citizens abroad are pretty much on the honor system with respect to reporting non US source income.

Thus, in many cases you can save yourself a peck of money by remaining as aggressively ignorant of US tax law as possible and engaging in creative "wishful thinking". You may or may not be "cheating" the IRS but in either case not enough to matter to them - or you.

However, if you are tempted to actually find out what a bottomless pit of complexity awaits US citizens abroad, you can start by going to the IRS website and downloading Publication 54.

But remember: ignorance is bliss.


I have a job offer to teach near Munich. I would be paid in dollars (70K) I am also single with a child. Would I pay US and German taxes?



I am living in Stuttgart and will be here for 3 years, how can a recover the taxes that I been paying on my bills food and clothes etc, I understantd that I do not have to pay taxes because I am not a resident.
Please can someone help me with this?

Hi Nancy,

If you are a resident of Germany, you have to pay VAT on your food, etc... If you are working on a German contract, however you can apply to get a refund for your retirement insurance (the employee portion, not the employer's contribution) but you have to live in Germany for less than 5 years.

If you have any specific questions, you should contact one of the tax advisers who specialize in expat tax issues. Susanne Regenbogen Tel.: 06101/64003 might be able to help.



My question might be weird, but let me ask it. I a master student here in Germany (Hamburg), and hope to go through a Phd programme also next year. I'm married but don't have children and my wife is also a student.

I have an income (scholarship) from European Union and exempt from paying taxes (It is around 18.000 annully). As, I'm going to stay in Germany perhaps at least for 5-6 years, is it possible and advisable to pay tax and social contributions by my own to be entitled to social benefits like retirement, unemployment, nursing care and benefits when having a baby.


Hi Seyed,

I don't think you have any choice but to pay taxes and also participate in German social benefit system. If I correctly understand you question, you are asking whether you can opt out. You can't. The social benefits and taxes are mandatory.



I am moving to Germany in January with my husband who is in the military. I am going to be working remote for the company I currently work for at home in Virginia. We will be living in Germany for approx. 3 years. Will German tax have to be deducted from my paychecks even though the company I work for is in the USA??



I have been working in Germany on a contract as a phd researcher for 3 and a half years. I make about 1600 euro brutto a month and my rentenversicherung contribution is taken directly out of that amount each month.

two questions:

1) Am I correct in thinking that I can apply for a refund for all I have contributed for the past 3 and a half years, i.e. is that direct deduction the 'employee's contribution;?

2) can you tell me what percentage of my employee's contribution I am entitled to as a refund? 100%?

Thanks a lot.

Hi Alex,

As we state in the article above, you pay social contributions for less than five years (60 months), you might be able to get a refund on the employee portion (not the employer's contribution) of the retirement insurance only. This does not apply for your employee contributions to both unemployment or the nursing care insurance.

But if you need more information, it would be best to contact the Deutsche Rentversicherung Bund. The website is (and there is an English section) and the tollfree telephone number is 0800 10004800

Hope this helps


To Megan:

Germany will have the right to tax you on your personal services income earned while physically present on German soil once you are physically present for more than 183 days.

As a "distance employee" with NATO SOFA status, however, the Germans will not be aware that you are either in Germany or performing services here. They will also not know when you leave.

So, unless you voluntarily go down to your local Finanzamt and beg them to tax you, you won't be hearing from the German tax authorities.

In addition, because once you and your husband establish Germany as your "tax home" as that term is defined by US tax law, you will be eligible to exclude your (not your husband's) income from US taxation under Sec. 911 of the Internal Revenue Code.

How do we know the difference between the types of retirement benefits under the treaty with the United States? Does Duestche Rentenversicherung administer social security for private employment as well as government service?

can you please let me know about the cotribution towards social security and income tax for marie curie feelow (married with a child) in germany (where one has to pay full 100% contribution of social security). the average package of Marie curie fellow is 91000 euro per year

Dear David
Thanks a lot for all the information given in this website which I found in the hope to find information about how to get my money back that was deducted as a Church-tax without my authorization.
I have been here working for almost three years, and my contract is going to due an end on next FEb 2010, It is just now that I have realised that this tax is not mandatory for all workers in Germany but only for those who practice those religions. I have quit already but the church-tax has been taken for almost 30 months, 40 E/mth
Also, I have a question:

I have been also a Marie Curie's student and almost done by now. Please, if you are not a member of either Catholic church or Protestant (evanganisch), then you do not have to pay the KIRCHENSTEUER. I have been paying that by mistake almost for three years and I am not member of any of these religious organizations.

Hi Josefina,

You can opt not to pay the church tax, and we have an article about this how to do this

But I don't think you will be able to get back the tax you already paid. At least your tax money went to a good cause! In addition to the religious services, churches in Germany also run alot of social programs, kindergarten, hospitals, etc...


Hello David

I married in Church Nov 2009 to a Canadian Citizen but she is a Spaish Resident!
We have been dealing with all the legal documents and we have been told the Civil has all they need just waiting to receive a call to set a date!!!!WE PRAY !!!We are still in shock she was requested a Certified Letter from her Father in Canada giving his permition we can marry, then this also needed to be Translated to German Legally and stamped!!!!!We both are over 40 years Old!!!!
My Question is can we declar a Tax deduction for my Income Tax as I have supported my Common law wife for the past year in Spain and Germany and she has been in Germany this time since Oct. organizing our Church Wedding and dealing with all the nessasary Legal Documents we then needed Legally by an Official Translater translated from English to German!
My years income has supported us both.
Married in a Church Ceramony but still waiting since Oct. to have civil marriage.
Can we get any of my Taxes back as a Parnership exempt as same sex partners ;AND COMMON LAW couples have tax exempts while living together.Please correct me if I missunderstand but I am hoping Germany shares as Spain and Canada in exempts for Tax when taxed as single while living with a dependent partner!
Any info would be greatly excepted!!!
Distressed Couple waiting to legalize our Church Wedding Vows and hope we have legally a right for a tax credit from all my taxes I paid !

Hi, I have a friend who is an American citizen living in Germany on very low income (just working part-time as a freelancer). He recently found out he owes 3500 euro in taxes to Germany, but does not have the money. What does Germany offer/do to people who can't pay. Are there payment plans available? What are the steps my friend can take to resolve this?


Your first step should be to discuss this with the tax office and submit documentation about your financial situation to prove that you are indeed indigent. The Finanzamt is very efficient when it comes to the tracking income, so make sure you can truly back up your claim of poverty.



I have a friend from the US that was employed by German company that was also based in the US. He lived and worked in Germany for three years. The German side of the company was to pay the German taxes, but the company filed for bankruptcy and has not paid the taxes. He is now back in the US. What could happen if he did not pay the taxes? The amount due is over $50,000.

Hi Maria,

You'll have to be more specific. When you talk about German taxes, are you refering to income tax? That is withheld from the employee. At the end of the year, until employees file for tax returns. So I don't quite understand how your friend can have $50,000 in back taxes based on 3 years of work.


Hi There,

I am receiving a job offer in Germany. We are trying to settle my salary. I am a single person. Would you please be kind enough to let me know which one of the below salaries would be most beneficial to me?

50k euro
60k euro
70k euro

How much would be deducted from my salary?

Thanks in advance for your time and support.

Hi Hamed,

That's easy...go for the higher salary. The tax rate at that income level is about 42% for an unmarried single person.


I have moved to Germany 2 years ago and did not speak German. I just realized that I was paying Church tax even though I don't profess any religion. I guess when I took residence I was asked abut baptism or they assumed Italians are religious. Nobody explained to me the existence of this tax and the implication of the residence registration. I now cancelled from the Church registration at the Burgeramt. However, I would like to claim back the taxes I erroneously payed for 2 years due to lack of diligence from the Burgeramt. Any idea on how to address my case?

I am an India and started working as a assistant research worker and a PhD student in Marburg. My salary is BAT IIA/2. I started in sept 2009 and have been paid only 7022,77 Euro till 31st Dec. I have paid a tax of 677,32. Will I get this back. I also pay rent in Germany and have flew home with a ticket of 900 Euro once.

Please help


Hi Paolo,

You can't reclaim back church taxes. Just be aware, that by not being a member of the church, you could be denied church weddings, funerals and baptisms. There are also many social programs that are funded by the church tax, such as kindergarten, etc... We have an article about this here.

Hi Pradipta,

You should file a income tax return and hopefully you will be able to get a partial refund. But it depends on many factors.

We have an article about this here:


I know, for a full-time employee half of the social contributions (pension, unemployment insurance) is paid by the employer.

How is it for a part-time employment e.g. 50 Euro/Hour, 40 hours/ week? When the employer doesn't pay any social contribution, does the employee have to pay the full or still half of the contributions?

Thank you.

I am from India and planning to move to Germany to work as a teacher at an International school. I am aware that the income tax will be deducted from my monthly salary.However I am wondering if teachers from India receive a tax break for the first two years? I am aware that US and UK teachers working in India do receive a tax free salary for the first two years. But I am not sure if there is a similar tax treaty for with Germany?

Thank you,

Hi Seyed and David,

Im a PhD student in germany, and I get paid 2000 EUR a month with a scholarship (Stipendium). According to my contract, this money is tax-free because its not considered a 'payment' (steuerfrei gemäß Sektion 3 Nr. 44 Einkommenssteuergesetz (EStG)) and no social security is paid for by it (es unterliegt nicht der Sozialversicherungspflicht).

So Id be interested in other opinions too, if it would be advisable to pay taxes and social security in this situation. My guess is the following: by regularly paying taxes in Germany, your ability to get a 'permanent' residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) will improve. As far as I understand it, you have to pay into the Germany system for like 5 years to have a chance at this. Maybe payment of the social security stuff would also be necessary for that, and otherwise the benefit of paying this is probably going to come down the road (retirement, possible unemployment.) One interesting question: what requirements are there for resident aliens to get paid time off to be with their kids? (Vaterzeit, Mutterzeit... Elternzeit).

Hi 5s, Che

Hello Bill Weger and ONuallainxx,

ONuallainxx, you gave a very in-depth response about Bill's problem - thanks for the great comments - but I just found something that negates this:

"To claim the right under the treaty to exclude German (or US) social security benefits from US taxation you must file a special form every year called Form 8833. Disclosure of a Treaty-based return position."

According to the IRS website, there are certain exceptions to the requirement to disclose a treaty position. Search for "claiming tax treaty benefits". Here are the two exceptions that may apply for Bill:

" 2. You claim a treaty exemption that reduces or modifies the taxation of income from dependent personal services, pensions, annuities, social security and other public pensions, or income of artists, athletes, students, trainees, or teachers. This includes taxable scholarship and fellowship grants 3. You claim a reduction or modification of taxation of income under an International Social Security Agreement or a Diplomatic or Consular Agreement"

Number 2 sounds good to me, as a student. Apparently I, as a student, dont have to use form 8833 to disclose a treaty position since the "treaty exemption [] modifies the taxation of [] income of students".

Best - Che

I have a German couple that wants to buy rental property in Florida as an investment, can they get a break on their German taxes for a deduction?

Siegfried: As far as I can tell, the tax deduction for vacation rental property all depends on whether the house is rented out the majority of the time and not used by the owners as a second house.

There is a German language article about this here.


Hello David,

If a UK employer has hired a employee in Germany (living in Germany for more than 2 years), how can the employer withhold the tax and social security payments if the employer doesn't have a physical presence in Germany.Can the employer pay full gross salary to employee and ask him to do the payments? If not what would be the best way to handle such situation?

Hello Ashwind

The employer can be obliged to register his company in Germany for wage tax and social insurances if he has with his employee a branch in Germany. In this case the employer would have the obligation to calculate the payroll and arrange the payments.

If the employer has no branch office here in Germany, then the employee himself has the obligation to file monthly declarations and arrange the payments.

Please keep in mind, that in the first case the employer has to pay his half of social security contributions on top of the gross salary. In the second case the employee has to pay both halves himself. Given this fact the gross salary has to be different calculated if the same net amount should be paid.

If you are interested in detailed advice on this issue, please contact me at, Tel 06101-64003 (or see the advert at the top of this page).

Kind regards,

Susanna Regenbogen-Stenger

Hello, I am an american citizen who has been living in Germany for about 13 years, my question is whether or not I can take my paid in retirement with me when I leave ?

Hi Danny,

It's complicated, but I don't think you can cash our your retirement contribution. But you can, of course, have your retirement pay sent to you in the US (once you reach retirement age).



I started my employment in Germany in March 2010. But now I am moving out of the country, to Ireland in October for good. I would like to get my taxes done when I am in Germany. Any clue if I can do it now?

If not whats the best way to get it down. Mine shouldnt be a lot complex I guess.



I am considering taking a position with a US based company that would involve working with the company's German affiliates for about one year. I would be on the payroll of the US based entity (not the German affiliate)and be paid in dollars and would be like any other US based employee. I will most likely need to rent an apartment to keep the costs down. Does this arrangement trigger German tax implications, and if so, what are they? The job pays roughly $100k/yr.

Thanks- Mike

I'm a retired United States Air Force member who is considering an job offer from a US based company to work in Germany; the salary is $72,500.00 USD. What can I expect top pay in taxes. I'm married but will be coming alone to Germany.

I am from India and started recently with a job in Germany, i would sincerely appreciate to find answers to couple of questions:
1. I am a married but my wife would not be able to join me for another year or so and i was taxes as per Category I. The German finance department told me that i can get some taxes back if i send some money to my wife for her living and submit the receipts. I just wanted to know that how much money can one send to his/her spouse and how can i get the amount back?
2. If i stay in germany for few years only and then goes nack to my home country or somewhere else, do i get some or all of my social security contributions? If yes, how does it work?
Many thanks!

I have an interesting situation. I have German/Canadian citizenship, and recently moved to Germany to study German. However at the same time I am doing contract work for a US based company while I am in Germany. I get paid to a Canadian Bank account. Do I need to pay taxes while in Germany? If I wanted to get insurance in Germany would the insurance rate be based on the money I am making from the US firm? Anything else I would need to know?

Where can I obtain a translation of terms on payroll documents. Does one exist?

Hello, I am a DOD civilian working in Germany(ID card holder with full priviledges/ tax exemptions).I am married to a local national who works for the German government.We own a house together, plus I am in a band that is registered as a GBR.Although the finanzamt does not tax me directly, they tax my wife on all of my income.Eventhough I pay and claim all income on my U.S. returns.How can I get the finanzamt to stop taxing her for my income that I already claim?

An ammendment to my last question:Since they are taxing my wife and I, why can't I recieve the social benefits? For example social security, unemployment, health care, etc...

David - I am a US citizen (working for a US company with no offices in Germany) expecting to start a consulting assignment with a client in Germany. I will be paid in the US by the company - and will be spending many 2-4 week trips to Germany. Am I subject to German tax or filing requirements?

I expect that my days in Germany over the calendar year should remain below 183. Assuming the answer changes if I spend more than 183 days, is only my Germany income taxed in Germany or even the US income earned while in the US is also taxed?

Thank you for the great site!

I'm an Italian Citizen.
I got an opportunity to work in Germany.It's a temporal contract for two months.The salary is 1600€ gross per month.As a single person what level of tax would i have to pay?Can I recover some taxes when I come back to my country?

I want to know the monthly duedate submission by employer to income tax and social insurance every month.

hi i am a designer who has been offered a 6 month contract with a german based company, the pay will be 35,000 euro. when i have looked into taxes it appears i will pay more in germany than the uk, as i am on a german contract will i have to automatically pay german taxes and does the fact it is only for six months matter? thanks

I am an a dual citizen of Ireland and the USA.
I have permission to live in Germany based on Irish citizenhip but do not have permission to work here.
I am coming up on my first full year of living here.
I have paid my US taxes as required and now wondering what taxes I might have to pay in Germany.
I have no income (salary) and living off my savings in a German bank which I deposited ahead of getting permission to live in Germany. I was required to show fiancial means and a private health insurance before I could get permision to live here.
I have sold some financial stocks held at the German bank - they were at a loss however - inorder to raise money to continue to live here.
Can you tell me if
1) I can not work
2) and I have only income from selling stock
do I need to pay taxes in Germany, too?

Does anybody know how to "unregistered" from the Church contributions in Germany taxes? I do not practice any religion but many years ago when I did visit Germany I did registered as Roman Catholic because I was baptized and now German taxes is using that to withdraw contributions from my salary.

You need to go down to City Hall (Bürgerburo) and fill out the forms. It is relatively painless. But be aware that if you leave the church ... it does have its consequences. You will not be able to use their facilities for weddings, kindergarten, etc...

My husband has got an onsite opportunity to work at Munich for one and a half years.We returned in India on 2010 June.After that we got a letter asking for us to pay catholic church tax.But no information on where you have pay it and all.moreover we were not availed any church services and we belong to catholic church in India.Is this will affect our social security fund which we applied recently.
please help.

I am retired.I will be in Germany for 4-5 months next yr 2013 and then plan to rent my apartment for 4-5mts which I hope will give me total rent of approx 3000euro for the yr.
Would i be liable for tax on this amount? I will be a none resident.
Thank you

Hello, I'm thinking of moving to Germany. Supposing I was offered a job for a gross salary of 34,000 euros. I'm a single mother, with two kids aged 7 and 11. What would be my net salary?

Thank you.


I am really confused about how to sort out my tax, I just arrived and have a half time position. I applied for a tax card and then received a letter stating that I would be taxed at the level 6 rate until I leave in my tax card from 2010. I don't have one of these! I have just come for Ireland.
How do I sort this out. I can't be taxed at that level on a part time position I'd have no money!!!!

Please help.

Have you been down to the Finanzamt and got an appointment to discuss it?

Is it correct that my German payroll taxes are calculated based on my gross and not net income, and that my payroll taxes are simply deductions for determining my Lohnsteuer?

If I switch from being an employee after less than five years to being a freelancer, but still remain in Germany, can I opt out of Rentenversicherung and receive the portion I paid in back?

HI John,

Both your questions are quite detailed and you will need to consult a tax specialist (Steuerberater) to get a qualified answer.

Hi John
your German payroll taxes (=Lohnsteuer) are calculated from your gross income less specific deductions like health and old age insurance and a flat amount of work related expenses of EUR 1000.

Because of the flat deduction of work related oost it generally pays off to submit a German Tax Return (Einkommensteuererklärung) to the revenue if your real costs have been higher.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have further questions or need help filing the German Tax Return.



Richard Schäfer
FMT German Tax Advisors
Walter Kolb Str. 13
60594 Frankfurt am Main / Germany
T: +49696612490

Hi Robyn
actually your German Income Tax would be approx. 20% (10000) including solidarity surcharge.
Your German Taxes will be deducted from your payroll (=Lohnsteuer) and are calculated from your gross income less specific deductions like health and old age insurance and a flat amount of work related expenses of EUR 1000.

Because of the flat deduction of work related oost it generally pays off to submit a German Tax Return (Einkommensteuererklärung) to the revenue if your real costs have been higher.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have further questions or need help filing the German Tax Return.



Richard Schäfer
FMT German Tax Advisors
Walter Kolb Str. 13
60594 Frankfurt am Main / Germany
T: +49696612490

I'm married and I'm atheist while my wife and daughter are baptised. Do I have to pay kirchensteuer when I declare them as baptised? My wife isn't working and we plan to declare in "steuerklasse 3". Tx FV

H! I'm a Dutch citizen, resident in South Africa, with a South African wife. I have been offered a position in Frankfurt. I plan to arrive there shortly, but my wife will not be in a position to join me for at least a couple of months. Does she then have to register with the municipality in person, or can I register her when I arrive? Is my understanding correct that I will initially be taxed in Steuerklasse I, to be converted to III only if and when my wife will be physically present?


Thank you so much for your forum. In a brief read I have learned many things that would have properly prepared me for my employment in Germany. And now my questions: I am a US citizen and
I have been working at a German company for the last 11 months and am being paid about Euros 115k, including bonus. My effective tax rate is about 45 percent, a good deal higher than I had ever imagined possible.
I am divorced, single, and thinking about what portion of the 45% would be returned to me were I to return to the US between June 2014 and June 2015. Would there be a tax advantage to me of returning to the US at one or another time along that continuum OR of continuing to work in Germany beyond the two-year anniversary?
Thank you for your commentary.

Hello, I am a US citizen on a 3 year Expat contract (paid by German company, taxed fully in Germany) that is due to expire end of Apr 2015. I was granted the ability to pay into my US 401k versus the German pension system due to my short stay. However, I am still paying "long term care" and unemployment. I assume this is correct? If I allow my contract to meet its natural expiration, can I receive some of those payments back when I return to the US? If yes, then if I turn around and sign a permanent German contract with the company, am I still able to be reimbursed for those 3 years? Your forum has answered several other questions I have been unsucessful in answering in the 2 years I have been here. Thank you!

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