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What is a Tax Declaration?

A tax declaration is a document that you must submit to your local Finanzamt (finance office) every year. It can be filed on paper or online using the tool called ELSTER, designed by the Federal Central Tax Office.

The main purpose of a tax declaration is to tell the Finanzamt how much income you earned, how much wage tax was withheld from your pay and how much you should have paid in taxes for that year. If you are a self-employed person, you may also need to provide information about your income from property and pensions.

You will also need a tax number and a tax identification number. These numbers will be issued to you by your local district’s tax office when you first submit your tax return. The numbers are not permanent, so they will change if you move or move to another district.

Expenses: In Germany, you can deduct expenses from your income. These include your living costs, travel expenses and other expenses that you have incurred in connection with your work. These can be anything from moving costs to the cost of finding a job, acquiring new equipment or even travel costs for business trips.

Public support: Anytime you received money from the government, it is usually accounted in your tax declaration. Corona grants/aid/support money for freelancers are accounted in the form of Corona Zuschuss, Uberbruckungshilfe, Neustarthilfe or Hartefallhilfe, just to name a few.

If you are a self-employed person, submitting your tax return can be very complicated and you may need to seek professional advice. There are 3 main online platforms that help you to submit your German tax return: Smart Steuer, SteuerGo and Interface. Steuererklärung

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