Submitting voluntary tax return - is it worth it? (Freiwillige Steuererklärung)

Employers deduct a certain amount from the monthly pay slip to the tax office. In most cases, however, this amount is higher than the actual tax liability (Steuerlast) of the employee. Now you can get annoyed about it, or you can just get back the money back. That, however, only works with an income tax return (Steuererklärung). It can also be voluntarily submitted to the tax office, and this is almost always financially worthwhile.

The Average Refund (Steuerrückerstattung)

Taxpayers who are especially not obliged to submit a tax return enjoy filing tax returns with the tax office. On average, the tax refund is around €900 that would otherwise go to the treasury.

In 2013, around 13.2 million taxpayers filed a tax return, of which 11.5 million received a refund. Of the total 60% of this fell between €100 and €1000, only 10% got less than €100 and they allowed the 1% to receive a repayment of more than € 5,000.

Personal Refund

Unfortunately, it is not possible to say in general terms how high the repayment will be for the individual employee. These results from the difference between the taxes paid in the year and the actual tax liability. This difference can be calculated in advance. This makes it clear to know whether the submission of a tax return is worthwhile for the individual or not. However, the calculated amount is usually only an approximation to the amount repaid.

Submitting Tax Returns With a Retroactive Effect (Steuererklärung rückwirkend einreichen)

A tax return can also be filed four years retroactively. So, if someone submits the income tax returns of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 in 2019, a significant sum can come back. With that, summation may be a huge dream can be fulfilled.

How long it takes for the tax return from the tax office to arrive and the amount to get deposited in the account depends on the burden on the employees. With a few weeks to months, however, you can expect the amount. To shorten the time a little, it is worthwhile to submit the declaration early and in full.

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