LIVING IN GERMANY

Tax Declaration in Germany

It’s tax declaration time once again! This is one of the differences I noticed here in Germany. Back in the Philippines, the HR department does everything for me, I would just wait for my payslip to see if I got a tax return or not. But here, we have to do it on our own per household. While taxation system here in Germany is quite complicated, and honestly, I am not in the position to explain and make it clear for you what all these tax classes mean and what is the best one for you, I am here to tell you when and what you can include in your tax declaration. Hence, this is going to be only short and I would not bombard you with formula or numbers, because, hey, we hire somebody to do this for us! I am just responsible for all the documents our Steuerberater needs.

So, when do you need to submit tax declaration to the Finanzamt? Every household with regular income is required to submit the past year’s tax declaration up to 31st of May every year. While it is possible to submit tax declaration from more than one previous years (correct me if I am wrong, but I think you can submit tax declaration from 7 years, i.e., for this year, you can submit from 2009 to 2016), it is better to submit this yearly to avoid possible penalty fees.

And here’s the important part for you, fellow Pinays:

IF you are supporting a family back home (e.g. parents, kids, grandparents), you can include that in your tax declaration. All you need to do is to have your supported person/ family back in the Philippines to complete the following documents:

  • Maintenance declaration form. You can download it here. This form should also be NOTARIZED in the Philippines.
  • Certificate from BIR that states that the person signed in the maintenance declaration form does not have a stable income and rely solely on remittances. To be able to get this,  a certain certificate from the barangay (certificate of indigent I think) will also be asked, which the BIR will attach to the certificate.

Once you received all these from your family, attach the copies of bank transfer (or Western Union or Azimo confirmed transaction details). If you use the Steuererklärung software, I think there is a portion there about Unterhaltserklärung. And if you have Steuerberater like us, just give him/ her all these documents along with other regular documents for tax declaration.

There’s a catch though, the Unterhaltserklärung has only a limited amount per year, if I remember it right, it is limited to €4000 per year. Also, you really need to prove that the person you support cannot work for themselves, or that you are the only person they can count on. And it does not mean full reimbursement of your remittances, you will get just a percentage of it.


Other documents you can include in your tax declaration:

  • copy of receipts of PC or furnitures bought THAT IS RELATED TO YOUR PROFESSION (e.g. if you registered yourself as a freelancer, buying new writing desk and PC is part of your starting up)
  • the confirmation of enrollment in university or VHS
  • all other receipts related to education or your practiced profession

 

Happy Accounting!

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