Who must submit a tax return?

I. Income tax as an annual tax

Income tax is charged on the income of a taxable person.

As an annual tax, the income tax registers all tax-relevant processes in a tax year (so-called settlement period), about which the tax authorities naturally want information.

For example, the legislature has created a comprehensive obligation via §§ 149 AO, §§ 25, 46 EStG and § 56 EStDV, which shows who has the duty to submit a tax return for the respective assessment period.

II.Relevant norms for the duty to submit a tax return

For a better understanding, the main relevant passages of the respective standards are extracted below:

§ 149 AO (filing of tax return)

“(1) The determine tax legislationWHO for delivery a tax return obliged is. To submit a tax return also obliged, WHO Before that at the request of the tax authorities. The request can be made by public notice.”

In general, the law determines who is obliged to submit a tax return. However, the person is also obliged to submit the tax return – regardless of any statutory provisions – if the tax authority requests him to submit a tax return.

§ 25 EStG (equalization period, tax declaration obligation

“1. The income tax is calculated after the end of the calendar year (assessment period) according to the income that the taxpayer has received during this assessment period, unless an assessment has been omitted pursuant to section 43, subsection 5, and § 46.”

According to § 25 EStG, there are statutory exceptions that make an assessment unnecessary, which of course does not require payment of income tax.

The following are exempt from submitting a tax return for the respective assessment period:

Section 43, subsection 5, EStG (investment income with tax deductions)

“5) 1For capital gains within the meaning of § 20, the income tax is settled with the tax deduction, insofar as they have been subject to capital gains taxation;

Capital gains have already been settled due to withholding tax (if applicable).

§ 46 EStG (assessment on receipt of earned income)

“(2) If it exists income fully or partially out Income from non-self-employmentfrom which tax deductions have been made, a disposition only performed,

1. if the positive Total taxable incomethat were not liable for tax in the salaryreduced by the amounts that accrue according to section 13, subsection 3 and § 24a, or the positive sum of respectively the incomes and benefits covered by the progression reservation. more than 410 euros amounts to;

2. if the taxpayer coexists received salary from several employers Have; this does not apply if the salary is combined by several employers for deduction in the payroll tax according to section 38, subsection 3 a, point 7;

3. if the sum of the sub-amounts of the fixed pension rate that is included in the tax deduction in salary according to section 39b, subsection 2, sentence 5, no. 3 letter b to d, for a taxpayer is greater than the deductible pension expenses according to § 39b, subsection 1, no. 3 and no. 3a together with subsection 1 4, and the total salary earned in the calendar year exceeds EUR 13,150, or for spouses who meet the requirements in section 26, subsection 1, the total earned salary. of the spouses in the calendar year exceeds EUR 24,950;

3a. if from spousethere according to §§ 26, 26b together for income tax invest is, both paid salary have and one for all or part of the assessment period taxed according to tax class V or VI or in tax class IV the factor (§ 39f) has been registered;

4. if for a taxpayer Reimbursement in accordance with § 39a, subsection 1, clause 1 number 1 to 3, 5 or number 6 has been determined and the total salary earned in the calendar year exceeds EUR 13,150 or at Spouses who meet the requirements in section 26, subsectionas in the calendar year thereof spouse’s total salary exceeds EUR 24,950; the same applies to a taxable person who belongs to the person in section 1, subsection 2, said circle of persons;

4a. if it is a parental couple who do not meet the requirements in section 26, subsection 1, point

a) to c) (omitted)

d) the parents by section 33a, subsection

e) as far as section 33b, subsection 5, 3rd point, the parents jointly request that the lump sum for the disabled or the lump sum for survivors be divided in a ratio other than half.

2The assessment duty exists for every parent who has received income from employed work;

5. if the income tax for a taxpayer is determined for another referral in accordance with section 34, subsection 1 and 2, no. 2 and 4 according to section 39b, subsection 39c (3);

5a. if the employer has calculated the payroll tax based on another reference, and the salary from previous employment in the calendar year has not been taken into account (section 39b subsection 3 point 2, section 41 subsection 1 point 6, capital S);

6. if During the assessment period, the employee’s marriage was dissolved by death, divorce or annulment and he or his spouse in the dissolved marriage remarried during the assessment period Have;

7. if

a) a spouse as referred to in § 1a, subsection 1, no. 2, is taken into account for an unrestricted taxpayer according to § 1, subsection

b) for a taxpayer who belongs to the group of persons mentioned in § 1, subsection 3, or § 1a, there is, in accordance with § 39, subsection that in accordance with section 39, subsection 2, 2.-4. period, the responsible tax office for the place of business is then also responsible for the employment;

8. if assessment is requested, especially for offsetting wage tax in income tax. The application must be made by submitting a tax return;

9. if an application is submitted as referred to in no. 8, and an application is also made to be treated as an unrestricted taxpayer as referred to in section 1, subsection The responsibility lies with the employer’s payroll tax office.”

In the case of § 46, subsection 2, EStG, the legislator makes an additional payment, in which cases a taxable person with earned income according to § 19 EStG must still submit a tax return.

The duties to submit a tax return are supplemented by Section 56 EStDV.

§ 56 ESTDV (tax liability)

“1Resident taxpayers have an annual tax return for the most recent calendar year (assessment period) in the following cases to deliver:

1. spousewhere during the assessment period Prerequisites in section 26, subsection of the law has existed and from where no one chooses the individual assessment according to § 26a of the Act,

a) if neither spouse has earned incomefrom which tax deductions have been made, and the Total amount of income more than twice the basic allowance in accordance with section 32a, subsection 1, sentence 2, no. 1 in the version applicable at any time,

b) if at least one of the Spousal income from employmentfrom which tax deductions have been made, and a Assessment according to section 46 subsection 2 nos. 1-7 of the law is taken into account;

2. Persons who, during the assessment period, have not met the requirements in section 26, subsection of the Act.

a) if the total income has exceeded the basic deduction according to section 32a, subsection

b) if the total amount of income includes earned income from which tax deductions have been made, and an assessment pursuant to section 46, subsection of the Act.

2 one tax return is other than that to deliver, whose by the exit of previous assessment period one left loss deduction established has been.”

III. Summarized

In short, you can say:

Anyone who is asked to do so by the tax office must file a tax return.

Furthermore, all taxpayers who generate income according to § 2, subsection 1, EStG, submit a tax return in Germany.


Employment income according to § 19 EStG, which has already been settled via income tax and income from property assets according to § 20 EStG, which has been settled via capital gains taxation.

By exception:

Income from employment according to § 19 EStG in connection with exceptional cases according to § 46, subsection 2 EStG and § 56 EStDV.

Leave a Comment