Not everyone is required to submit a tax return - for most employees, the tax deducted from their monthly wages is sufficient. For both those required to submit and those who submit voluntarily, there are some important tax topics to keep in mind:
Tax IDs are identification numbers that help the tax office (Finanzamt) to identify and organize taxpayer information. These numbers are permanent and every resident of Germany is assigned with one.
Most employees aren't required to submit a tax return if they have no income in addition to their (non-freelance) employee wages. However, for most taxpayers, it's still worthwhile to submit a voluntary tax return as an average tax refund of 1,027 often awaits them.
There are some simple rules that determine who is required to file a tax return:
There are also special situations that lead to a mandatory tax return that are not so easy to define. If this is the case, you will receive a letter from the tax office informing you that you are obliged to file.
The deadline to submit your tax return (when you are required to file) is July 31st of the following year. If you are filing voluntarily, you can file retroactively up to four years later.
Since 2018, taxpayers no longer have to automatically provide proof when filing their tax return; however, there is a requirement to hang on to all receipts and invoices in case the tax office requests proof for specific entries.