FAQ - German tax for expats

FAQ – German tax for expats


Got any questions? Find out more right here …


I. Income tax


Are income taxes in Germany state specific?
No, income tax is a federal tax and the same for all federal states in Germany.


II. Tax system


When should I declare tax in Germany?
If you stay for more than 6 months in Germany (not necessarily in one calendar year) you create a tax residence in Germany. This means that you are bound to file tax returns.

What is the penalty for not filing taxes in Germany?
Depending on a few things the penalty for late filing of tax returns is up to 10% of the tax due.

How do I apply for fiscal registration number in Germany?
You can apply for a tax number at your local tax office via a specific form that needs to be filled out. Once the tax office has worked on this form they will issue a tax number. A different tax office is in charge of the intracomunitarian VAT number, which will be issued after the tax number.

How can I get my tax category in Germany?
A tax class or tax category is issued by the local tax office. Depending on your marital status you can choose between different tax classes, each having a different impact on the wage tax and the tax return.

Can school fees be claimed back from tax in Germany?
Yes, as long as the fees are from a school comparable to a German state school. It also depends on the grade of the class if you can deduct the fees from taxes.

Do expats have a right on property in Germany?
Yes, of course. Anybody, either living in or outside of Germany, is entitled to buy a property, for their own use or for rental purposes.




What is the vat rate in Germany?
The VAT rate in Germany is 19%.

How can I get a vat number in Germany?
Usually you request one while asking for a tax number.


VI. Freelancers


How much tax do freelancers pay in Germany?
The tax due will depend on a couple of things like marital status, number of children, expenses and other aspects.


V. Inheritance tax


What is the inheritance tax Germany?
The tax rate on inheritances depends on a few things, mainly the amount inherited and the relation with the deceased. It starts at 7% up to 50%.

What is the German inheritance tax for foreigners?
The same rate applies basically for everybody living in Germany, regardless of their nationality.