What are the reasons for a back payment? (Steuernachzahlung)

If a back payment threatens

You can quickly falter if a handsome tax back payment is required by the tax office. But what causes may cause the additional tax payment is so high? There are several reasons for this. Flat rates were not taken into consideration, special expenses (Werbungskosten) were not recognized or not all income tax expenses were stated in the tax return.

Note: Under the item "Feststellung" in the tax assessment (Steuerbescheid), there are detailed explanations of how the tax refund or repayment comes about.

What can lead to a back payment

  • additional expenses (Sonderausgaben)
  • Advertising costs (Werbungskosten)
  • household-related services (haushaltsnahe Dienstleistungen)
  • Exceptional costs (außergewöhnliche Belastungen)
  • double housekeeping (doppelte Haushaltsführung)

Costs were not recognized

  • not all expenses have to be considered e.g. a suit for an office job does not need to be recognized, as it can also be used for personal use.

Lump sums (Pauschalen) were not recognized


  • Account management fees €16
  • Work equipment (Arbeitsmittel) €110
  • Telephone and internet costs €240

Evidence Was Not Enrolled

Certain issues must be proven with appropriate supporting documents. For the tax year 2018, the following items must be verified:

  • Capital gains tax and interest deductions (Kapitalerträge and Zinsen)
  • Exceptional costs (außergewöhnliche Belastungen)
  • Entertains (Unterhalt)
  • retirement (Renteneinkünfte)
  • social benefits (Lohnersatzleistungen)
  • donations (Spenden)
  • disability (Behinderung)
  • ...

You can object (Einspruch) to the tax notice (Steuerbescheid)

After receiving the tax notice (Steuerbescheid), you have 1 month to file an appeal (Einspruch). First of all, an informal letter that shows the tax office, even without mentioning any reasons, that an objection has been made is sufficient. Later, this letter can also be withdrawn without fear of consequences.

Tip: If only a specific part of the tax bill is to be rechecked, it is advisable to apply for a simple change (Änderungsantrag).

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