As an employer, you are obliged to deduct wage tax, the solidarity surcharge and, where applicable, church tax from each wage or salary payment.
These contributions must be calculated on the basis of the personal tax information stored in the fiscal authority’s database as “Elektronische Lohnsteuerabzugsmerkmale” (electronic wage tax deduction information, ELStAM); it is your responsibility to retrieve it.
At the end of each reporting period, you must disclose the amounts deducted from all employee wages in a wage tax return, send it to the fiscal authority in electronic form and transfer the total outstanding amount to the fiscal authority. You will not receive a tax assessment.
The reporting period may be
- the calendar month
- the quarter or
- the calendar year.
This depends on the amount of tax payable.
At the end of the year, you must also transmit the data for the entire calendar year, print it out and give it to your employee as an “electronic wage tax statement”.
N.B. The wages paid to part-time and temporary staff may in certain circumstances be subject to flat-rate taxation. For example, if you take on an employee under the terms of a “mini-job”, the flat-rate contributions for wage tax, health insurance and pension insurance are not returned to the tax office, but sent to the Deutschen Rentenversicherung Knappschaft-Bahn-See.
The tax office in the district where the employer’s premises are located
- Warum soll ich einen Ort angeben?
- Mit Hilfe der Ortsangabe können wir die für Sie passenden Informationen, Formulare, Dienste und Ihre zuständige Stelle anzeigen.
- Welchen Ort soll ich angeben?
- Zum Beispiel Ihren Wohnort, wenn Sie einen Reisepass beantragen wollen oder den Unternehmensstandort, wenn Sie ein Gewerbe anmelden möchten.
Wage tax return
Send the wage tax return to the competent authority in electronic form using your software. You can obtain the necessary signature certificate free of charge from the Elster.de after performing a one-off registration procedure.
You must keep a wage account for each employee and calendar year. The nature and amount of the wage paid and the wage tax, solidarity surcharge and (if applicable) church tax deducted must all be recorded in this account.
Electronic wage tax statement
At the end of the year, you must calculate the wages, tax and social security contributions in the wage account. Send this information to the fiscal authority in electronic form using your software. Once the fiscal authority confirms that the data has been transferred, print it out and give it to the employee.
Employers without computer-based payroll accounting systems who only employ persons in their private households on a mini-job basis are exempt from this requirement. Please request further information from the competent authority.
Wage tax return
You must subject your wage tax returns and transfer the outstanding amounts to the tax office by the following dates:
- every month by the 10th of the following month if the wage tax paid for the previous calendar year was more than 5,000 euros
- every quarter by the 10th of the month following the quarter (e.g. on 10 April for the first calendar quarter) if the wage tax paid for the previous year was more than 1,080 euros but less than 5,000 euros
- every year by 10 January of the following year if the wage tax paid for the previous calendar year was less than 1,080 euros
In the year that the company starts doing business, the amount of wage tax deducted for the first full month following the commencement of operations is used as the basis for calculating the tax for the whole year.
Electronic wage tax statement
You must submit the electronic wage tax statement to the fiscal authority by teh last day of February of the following year.
The fiscal authority will check your wage tax calculations by means of external audits.
Please contact the competent authority if you have no technical equipment enabling you to use the internet.
You can use the direct debit facility to simplify the tax payment process.
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Finanzministerium, represented by the Oberfinanzdirektion Karlsruhe, released it on 01.09.2017. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.