If you’re a freelancer in Germany, you need to register with your local Finanzamt. They’ll give you a tax number (Steuernummer) and you’ll need it when invoicing your German customers.
A Steuernummer is a 10 or 11 digit number that has the format “12/345/67890”. It’s called a tax number, and it’s your ID for freelance work and businesses.
Your tax number is a unique identity that identifies you in the tax system, and it’s for life. You’ll need it when you register your business, prepare invoices and other paperwork for your employer, and if you apply for a social insurance card.
You’ll get a tax number when you register your address for the first time, and then about 2 to 4 weeks later they’ll send you a letter with your ID. If you move, your new district’s Finanzamt will automatically issue you a new tax number.
ELSTER is the tool for submitting your tax declaration digitally, designed by the Federal Central Tax Office. It saves you a lot of time and it’s easy to use!
It’s worth registering online in advance and getting the password sent to you by post. It might take a few days, so don’t leave it until the last minute!
The deadline for filing your tax declaration is 31 July. In some cases, you can ask for an extension, but there’s usually a penalty for late filing.
Your income tax is calculated by taking the net income you receive during the year and reducing it by any deductions, such as work-related expenses or pension contributions. The tax office will decide how much you should pay.
You can also deduct your moving expenses, travel costs and other expenses related to your job. It’s best to find out what is and isn’t eligible for these deductions ahead of time, so you don’t end up owing more money than you can afford.
Some deductions are mandatory and others depend on the type of income you have. For example, you need to write off some of your salary if it’s not a normal salary (like a part-time job). Other deductions are available for special expenses such as the cost of a handicapped person’s care or for your traumatic experiences.
Other special deductions include your child’s education, donations and many other expenses you might have. For a full list of what’s eligible for these deductions, check out the official website of the Federal Central Tax Office.
Your tax return is a document that details your taxable income for the year, and which taxes you paid in advance. You can file your tax return online or on paper, and you can submit it on your own or with the help of a professional.
It’s important to make sure that you correctly fill out your tax return, and that all of your information is accurate. This way you’ll avoid penalties and misunderstandings with the tax office. Steuererklärung