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The fastest way to do your taxes in Germany without speaking German. A review of Wiso, Smartsteuer, Wundertax, Sorted.
The deadline for the tax declaration (Steuererklärung) for the fiscal year 2022 is the 2. October 2023 source. Tax declarations done with the help of a tax consultant can be submitted by the 29. February 2024 source. The tax declaration has to be submitted to your local Finanzamt. Use Finanzamt Suche to find your responsible tax authority.
A tax declaration is mandatory in the following cases:
Employees don't have to do a tax declaration in Germany unless they received benefits that count as Entgeltersatzleistungen. These include:
A more complete list of benefits that have to be declared is here.
Self-employed have to do a yearly tax declaration.
Capital gains from German banks or traders are usually directly submitted to the Finanzamt.
Rental income from assets in Germany has to be filed.
Other incomes might have to be declared as well.
Employees might get some tax back and usually profit from handing in a tax declaration (Steuererklärung).
These are your options to file your taxes:
You can submit your files online via tax software or tax online service. No paperwork is requested and you don't need to hand in any invoices or other files beforehand but the tax authority might request some files afterward as proof.
You need a certificate from the tax authority to submit your tax return. This can be requested through the official Elster software and takes several days. We point out some tax services in this article that handle this for you or can do without.
Wundertax says that doing the taxes with their service only takes 17 minutes on average and you can try it for free with no upfront costs and only pay when submitting the tax declaration.
Price: starting at 35.- Euro for one tax declaration.
Sorted aims to be a complete solution for small businesses which includes features like registering a new business, and invoicing and you can speak to one of their tax consultants against an additional fee for more complex situations.
Price: starting at 98.- Euro per year
Steuergo offers a clear interface and is available in English and many Eastern European languages.
Price: starting at 35.- Euro for one tax declaration
Smartsteuer is a relatively complete online tax service and has English forms and support.
Price: starting at 40.- Euro per year for five tax declarations
ExpressSteuer is for employees only. The service refers the tax return to an independent tax advisor. The fee is 20% of your tax return - but only if successful. In case of additional payments, the process is stopped and a special fixed price of €49.- is offered. Answer a few questions and let their software estimate the amount of your tax return. You can then decide whether you want to commission the tax return.
Price: 20% of your tax return.
I personally use the Wiso web version to file my taxes. It has a very clear user interface and tips to fill out the forms. Where possible sensitive values are preset or there is an autocomplete for fields.
In my opinion Wiso web is the best and most complete solution for anybody who understands sufficient German and doesn't mind the occasional Google search to find out what goes where.
Price: starting at 36.- Euro per year
Register for the *Wiso web version here.
Employees can join a tax club (Lohnsteuerhilfeverein) where a person can help them fill out their income tax returns. Search the website of the federal association of tax clubs to find a tax club near you.
A local tax consultant (Steuerberater) can be found at www.steuerberater.de. A Steuerberater is not cheap but recommended for self-employed with substantial revenue and who have to pay business and value-added tax. The fees are regulated so you can use this tax consultant fee calculator to get an idea of the costs.
Zasta is a less expensive option if you want to speak to a tax consultant but want to go through an app. Zasta does unfortunately not work for self-employed.
Price: starting at 50.- Euro for a tax consultant session
This is the service for you if you are a student and want to get taxes based on your study costs back. This works retrospectively for 4 years. Steuererklärung Student is only for students.
Price: starting at 35.- Euro per tax return
Prices last checked 08. March 2023. Prices are not guaranteed. Please check the websites for prices.
A honest review of Fyrst, Holvi, Kontist, Finom and Wise.
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