How to do your German tax return with wundertax
Filing taxes in Germany can be really confusing for those who aren’t fluent in German or aren't comfortable with difficult tax jargon. It's especially difficult if you don’t exactly know how taxes work here. Although many may enjoy the challenge, when it comes to money, most of us would prefer to not take risks and go for the easiest possible solution.
Step-by-step guide to tax returns in Germany
With wundertax, filing your tax return in Germany is a breeze. This tax tool is designed for people without any prior knowledge of taxes in Germany. In just 17 minutes, you can file your tax return and claim your tax refund. The average tax refund in Germany was recently increased from 1.051 to 1.072 euros!
To ensure you get the highest possible tax refund, wundertax put together this handy step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Enter your personal data
After you choose which tax year you’d like to file your tax return for, you are asked to enter your first name, last name, date of birth, address, religion, and marital status. If you are married, you also have the option of filing a joint tax return together with your spouse.
Step 2: Provide information about your income
This is the most critical step in the tax tool. Whether you are traditionally employed or self-employed, this is where you enter information about your income. Traditional employees will need their income tax certificate (Lohnsteuerbescheinigung) provided by their employers. Freelancers can use the tab “other sources of income” to enter their information.
After your data is entered, wundertax’s live calculator will let you know the estimated amount of taxes you owe (and after you've entered your expenses, your estimated tax refund!).The tax tool will also let you know whether you’re required to file your tax return or if you can submit it voluntarily. Voluntary tax returns can be submitted up to four years following a given tax year.
Step 3: List your expenses
In this step, you can declare various expenses such as job application costs, training costs, professional association fees, tax consultants, communication costs, and more. Pro tip: You can even deduct the costs of wundertax’s tax tool on your tax return in the following tax year!
Step 4: Add your work / study expenses
In the fourth section, you can deduct more costs incurred for professional or educational reasons such as computers, software, books, and so on. If you spent less than 110 euros on such items, you don’t need to specify the type of item, the total cost, or the purchase date. If your expenses exceeded 110 euros per year, hold on to your receipts and invoices in case the tax office (Finanzamt) requests proof.
Claim your highest possible tax refund with wundertax!
Step 5: Outline your commuter costs
In the fifth step, you can deduct commuter costs to work by providing your home and office address. Up to 30 cents per kilometre for one-way travel to or from work, regardless of means of transportation, can be deducted. On January 1, 2021, the commuting allowance increased to 35 cents per kilometre from the 21st kilometre. If you moved or changed jobs throughout the year, don’t panic. You can make another entry with the respective addresses.
Step 6: Add your other expenses
In the sixth step, you can insert other additional expenses that you accumulated throughout the tax year such as childcare costs, household-related services, healthcare costs, insurance costs, donations, business trips, and much more. You can also deduct costs for professional-related relocations in this step – perfect if you moved to Germany for work!
Step 7: Input personal tax data
In the last step, you’re asked to provide important data that the tax office (Finanzamt) needs to process your tax return such as your tax ID or tax number (Steuer-ID or Steuernummer) and your bank account details. Following this step, you can review your draft and either make corrections if necessary or proceed to the payment process. Good to know: The wundertax tool automatically checks if your entered data is plausible or needs to be reviewed.
Submit your tax declaration
All finished! Your tax return is done! To submit it to the tax office online, you can scan your ID or passport and Anmeldung (registration). You’ll receive a confirmation letter soon after stating that your tax return has been filed. Keep in mind that it can take up to 10 weeks for you to receive your tax refund.