Did you, like many non-residents who were living and working in Germany, have to move back to your home country due to COVID-19?
The good news is you could now be due a German tax or pension refund… and maybe even both.
In this guide we are going to take a closer look at everything you need to know to claim your German tax refund from your home country.
First things first. How much tax can I claim back from Germany?
The average German tax refund is €1,020 so it’s definitely worth your while to claim your tax back!
However, exactly how much you will be able to claim back will depend on your personal circumstances.
Curious about how much you can claim? Use our German tax refund calculator to see how much you are owed!
Can every non-resident claim a German tax refund?
In short, you will be due a German tax refund if…
• Your annual income was under the tax-free allowance
• You worked part-time or had a temporary job in Germany
• You were not correctly classified for tax payments
• You financially supported your parents or other dependents in your home country
• You paid rent in both Germany and your home country
• You paid for flights to and from Germany
• You incurred work-related expenses such as travel costs
• You paid pension insurance
• You are married, but were taxed as single
• You had work-related expenses that were not covered by your employer
How do I claim my German tax refund?
In order to claim your tax refund, you must first file a German tax return.
It’s free to file your tax return directly with the German tax authorities yourself.
However, it is important to keep in mind that, if you file yourself, it will be up to you alone to ensure you receive your maximum refund while remaining compliant with the German tax authorities.
The main advantage of working with a tax agent (like Taxback.com!) is that you will receive your maximum legal refund and avoid all the boring tax paperwork.
In order to claim your tax back you will need your:
Lohnsteuerbescheinigung – this is the official government form of your annual income statement which you will receive from your employer at the end of the tax year.
Identifikationsnummer - Your 11 digit unique identification number which is your personal tax ID number and will be given to you when you register an address in Germany.
Steuernummer - If you have filed your German tax return in previous years, you can find it on your Assessment order (Steuerbescheid) from the Finanzamt (local tax office).
Should I file a joint tax return?
In Germany tax rates for married couples are lower. Your spouse doesn’t even have to have travelled with you to Germany for you to claim, so it’s worthwhile filing a joint tax return!
If your spouse stayed at home while you worked in Germany and you are an EU or EEA resident, you can still file jointly.
For all tax benefits for married couples in Germany, get in touch with us at Taxback.com and we can file your tax return which could be beneficial to you and your spouse.
Could I be owed tax if I’m a student?
Yes. International students in Germany are often entitled to claim substantial tax refunds.
If you were an international student who earned an income above €450 regularly, you require an income tax number and can claim a tax refund.
Laptop Deduction Expense
In Germany you can deduct this expense if the cost for the items is not exceeding €952 (including 19% VAT) at once in the tax return. However, if it is exceeding the amount, the costs will have to be depreciated over several years. This will be dependent on their usual period of use (the usual period of a laptop’s use is 3 years).
When is the German tax deadline?
The German tax year runs concurrently with the calendar year - 1 January – 31 December.
The tax return deadline is usually 31 July, however you can request an extension if needed. If the tax return is prepared by a German tax professional like Taxback.com, the deadline is extended to 28 February after the second year.
After filing your tax return, it is reviewed by the German tax authorities and once it is finalized, your assessment notice will be sent out.
Keep in mind, if you do not file your tax return before the deadline you may incur fines and penalties if you owe tax to the German authorities.
What about my pension contributions? Can I claim these back now that I have left Germany?
If you worked in Germany – and you are a resident of a non-European Union country – you can potentially claim a refund of your German pension contributions.
The pension contribution in Germany is 9.35% of your salary. You must have left and be out of Germany for at least two years before you can apply to get all your pension payments refunded.
The average pension insurance refund a Taxback.com customer receives is €5,410 so it makes a lot of sense to check what you are owed. What’s more, we can go as far back as 1994 when applying for your refund.
You can claim a German pension refund if…
• You must be a resident of a non-EU country (excluding Israel, Turkey and former Yugoslavian states).
• You must have paid contributions into the German Pension Fund for less than 5 years (60 months).
• You must have been working after 1994 in Germany to claim your tax back.
Why apply with Taxback.com?
• When you apply with Taxback.com you are guaranteed to receive your maximum tax and pension refund
• Simple online process- no complicated forms
• 100% compliance with German tax authorities guaranteed
• Your refund paid into any bank account in the world
• 24/7 Live Chat tax support to answer any questions
The Average German Tax Refund is €1020
The Average German Tax Refund is €1020