Job Formalities

Taxes when your place of residence is in Germany

Allgemeine Information

Grundsätzlich ist jede natürliche Person, die im Inland einen Wohnsitz oder ihren gewöhnlichen Aufenthalt hat, unbeschränkt einkommensteuerpflichtig (§1 EStG). Das bedeutet, dass ihr gesamtes Welteinkommen im Inland der Einkommensteuerpflicht unterliegt.

Als unbeschränkt steuerpflichtig behandelt werden kann auf Antrag, wer zwar nicht in Deutschland lebt, seine Einkünfte aber zu mindestens 90 Prozent der deutschen Einkommensteuer unterliegen oder die ausländischen Einkünfte nicht über dem Grundfreibetrag liegen. Sofern Sie einen solchen Antrag stellen möchten, wird Ihnen Ihr zuständiges Finanzamt gerne behilflich sein.

Wer in Deutschland Einkünfte erzielt, aber weder einen Wohnsitz noch seinen gewöhnlichen Aufenthalt in Deutschland hat und die Aufenthaltsdauer von 183 Tagen unterschreitet, ist beschränkt einkommensteuerpflichtig (§ 49 EStG). Hier gilt es, die betreffenden Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen zu beachten.

Tax identification number

Every natural person registered in Germany receives a tax identification number from the Federal Central Tax Office. This tax identification number (which is comprised of 11 digits) helps to clearly identify every tax payer, thus simplifying the administrative work of the German tax authorities. If you maintain a place of residence in Germany, your tax identification number will remain valid for your entire life (it can be used everywhere in Germany).

Important: If you move abroad and give up your place of residence in Germany by giving note of departure to your local Bürgerbüro (citizens services), your former tax identification number is not guaranteed to be available when you return to Germany. To find out whether your tax identification number (and the electronic ELStAMinformation associated with it) is up to date, you should contact your local tax office.

Typically, you will receive your tax identification number by mail from the Federal Central Tax Office within a few weeks of registering in Germany (at the Bürgerbüro (citizens services)).

If you have lost your tax identification number, you can contact the Federal Central Tax Office and ask them to retrieve it for you. Unfortunately, this may take up to four weeks.

International citizens who are newly registered in Germany and need to obtain a tax identification number for employment purposes can ask their local tax office to issue a tax identification number within a few days of taking up residence (and registering at the Bürgerbüro (citizens services)).

If you live in Konstanz, the Finanzamt (tax office) Konstanz is responsible. Simply show your national ID card or passport to a staff member at the information counter and ask for a tax identification number.

Admittedly: Visiting the Konstanz tax office in person comes with a little inconvenience. But it is well worth the effort. Letting your employer have your tax identification number early can help you avoid being taxed in category VI, which comes with a very high monthly tax burden. 

Electronic wage and tax statement

Each year (usually towards the middle/end of January) you will receive your “Ausdruck der elektronischen Lohnsteuerbescheinigung” (wage and tax statement) from the Landesamt für Besoldung und Versorgung (LBV) in Fellbach. This so-called “Lohnsteuerbescheinigung” (wage and tax statement) confirms how much gross salary you earned in the previous year and provides an overview of the taxes and social security contributions (employer’s and employee’s share) that were paid on your behalf.

The wage and tax statement is especially relevant if you want to file an income tax return. It’s relatively simple to complete the relevant income tax return form (“Anlage N - Einkünfte aus nichtselbständiger Arbeit”) since the relevant items on your wage and tax statement are marked with numbers that correspond to the line numbers on “Anlage N”.

The LBV typically posts your wage and tax statement to your home address. If you have not received a wage and tax statement for the previous year yet, you should check whether you provided an up-to-date address to Human Resources and/or the LBV. As soon as the LBV has an up-to-date address for you, you can ask them to post your wage and tax statement to you.

Employees whose permanent place of residence is in Switzerland and who benefit from cross-border commuter taxation (4.5% deduction at source) can request that the LBV send them a wage and tax statement for the previous year.

The same applies to employees whose permanent place of residence is inside or outside the EU/EEA area: Please phone or email the LBV to request your electronic wage and tax statement (in German), if you require one. The LBV will post it to your home address.

Income tax return

Do I need to file an income tax return?

Three principles apply:

  1. Anyone who has his/her permanent place of residence in Germany or who spends more than six months of every year in Germany (183 days) is liable to pay tax in Germany for any income he/she earns anywhere in the world (= unlimited tax liability).

  2. If you have filed an income tax return before, you will also need to file an income tax return in the subsequent years.

  3. You are legally required to submit an income tax return if you and your partner have tax category III / V or if you are in category VI.

The income tax return for the previous calendar year must be filed by 31 May. This year, the deadline has been extended to 31 July.

To avoid financial loss, we recommend that you contact an expert (e.g. a tax accountant or a “Lohnsteuerhilfeverein” (income tax assistance association)). If you are unmarried and do not have children, have your permanent place of residence in Germany and are not in secondary employment or do not receive other income, e.g. abroad, filing an income tax return is not that complicated. You will be able to complete it on your own.
If you have family, have tax-deductible expenses, carry extraordinary financial burdens (e.g. because you operate a photovoltaics unit), receive income from freelance / secondary employment, are paying towards a supplementary pension scheme, etc., you should probably contact an expert (tax accountant, “Lohnsteuerhilfeverein” (income tax assistance association)).

Don't be afraid to consult them! It’s true that you will have to pay consultation fees, but the services you will receive (and their respective costs) can be agreed on in advance so that there are no nasty surprises when it comes to paying for the advice you received. You can claim the costs you incurred by consulting a tax expert in the income tax return you file in the following year.

Please note that, besides the main form (“Mantelbogen”) and the form for employees (“Anlage N”), there are other forms you may need to complete to adequately document your individual financial situation.

Unfortunately, the SSV cannot provide advice on your income tax return or help you complete it. However, we have developed a brochure with useful information that can help you as you complete your income tax return.

Einkommensteuererklärung (PDF brochure, in German)

Income tax return (PDF brochure, in English)

More information is available from the:

Federal Ministry of Finance

Changing your tax category

Are you married and/or living in a civil partnership, living in Germany and not permanently separated from your spouse/civil partner?


  • one spouse/civil partner has no income or
  • one spouse/civil partner earns considerably more
    (> 60% of the added total income of both partners) than the other
    (< 40% of the added total income of both partners),

it could be advantageous to adjust your tax category from IV / IV (default category) to III / V or V / III.

By adjusting your tax category, you can influence how much net salary you and your spouse/civil partner are paid out at the end of the month. This only applies if you have “Zusammenveranlagung” (joint assessment) and/or “Ehegattensplitting” (income splitting). “Ehegattensplitting” can help reduce your total monthly tax burden if your income differs considerably from that of your partner and vice versa.

Please note that changing your tax category has no influence on the total amount both partners are liable to pay in annual taxes.

If you opt for “Zusammenveranlagung (joint assessment)/“Ehegattensplitting” (income splitting) and, as a result, decide on a combination of tax categories III/V or V/III, you must file an income tax return in the following year.

Please note that you cannot change your tax category more than once a year unless you can provide strong reasons for doing so, such as a change in your personal situation.

You will find helpful information and advice on the topic of taxes in the income tax guide published by the Ministry of Finance Baden-Württemberg.

Lump sum taxation of mini jobs

Do you have two mini jobs working for different employers that do not exceed the monthly “Geringfügigkeitsgrenze” (income threshold) of € 450?

The “trouble” with working for two different employers is that (if you are not married and do not live in Germany, for instance), you can select tax category I for one employment relationship, while the other has to be taxed in category VI. You can claim the taxes in category VI you are liable to pay for one of your jobs in the following year’s income tax return.

You can also contact your tax office to register a “Freibetrag” (tax-free amount) or “Hinzurechnungsbetrag” (additional amount) for both of your employment relationships so as to reduce your tax burden a little during the year.

Under certain circumstances, you may even be able to apply for another type of tax (and administrative) relief in the form of lump sum taxation:

We recommend that you select tax category I for the employment relationship that you earn the highest monthly wage for, so that the secondary employment relationship that you earn less for can be taxed in category VI (i.e. your taxes in this category will be calculated from a lower gross salary).
If your secondary marginal employment taxable in category VI is at the University of Konstanz, you can request lump sum taxation.

Lump sum taxation means that instead of paying taxes in category VI, you will be charged taxes in the amount of 2% of your gross salary each month. This payment fulfils the tax requirements for this mini job.
And you will not need to file an income tax return to have excess taxes reimbursed.

Another advantage: You can revoke your lump sum taxation arrangement at any time and return to being taxed in category VI.

Please read the information sheet on page 2 of the LBV form before submitting your application.

Social security contribution rates and components for 2018

Overview of contribution rates and components

Overview of contribution rates and components for social security valid in 2018 (in German).
The Beitragssatz (percentage deducted from your salary for social security insurance) is divided into an employer's share (AG = Arbeitgeber) and an employee's share (AN = Arbeitnehmer).

What is the Beitragsbemessungsgrenze (income threshold)?

The Beitragssatz (percentage deducted from your salary for social security insurance) is divided into the employer's share (AG= Arbeitgeber) and the employee's share (AN=Arbeitnehmer).

The“Beitragsbemessungsgrenze” (income threshold) is a component in German social security law. This threshold determines how much of your salary you are required to pay social security contributions for if you are insured by statutory insurance.
If your salary exceeds the income threshold, contributions are only paid for the amount up to the threshold, not for the part exceeding the threshold.

Income thresholds have been determined for

  • health insurance and nursing care insurance as well as for
  • pension insurance and unemployment insurance.

If your annual income in the next 12 months will probably exceed the Jahresarbeitsentgeltgrenze (annual income threshold), you are no longer obliged to take out statutory German health insurance. Instead, you can choose to continue statutory German health insurance voluntarily, or take out private health insurance.
The LBV (Landesamt für Besoldung und Versorgung) calculates your expected income for the next 12 months to determine if you are eligible for one of the options mentioned above. Not only the gross salary, but also annual payments and bonuses or grants, if applicable, are taken into account.

If you earn less than 450 euros per month (mini-job) you can, under certain conditions, apply for exemption from compulsory pension insurance.

Employees who are insured in the context of a family health insurance taken out by their partner/parent, must not regularly earn more than € 435 (gross) per month (in 2018).
If you are not sure whether your family's health insurance will cover you while you are marginally employed (mini job), we recommend that you to contact your health insurance provider. Only they can make a binding statement.

If you earn more than the maximum income thresholddefined for health- and nursing care insurance you will pay the full contribution rate, either as a voluntary member of statutory health insurance, or as a member of a private health insurance provider. As you have to make advance payments for your health and nursing care insurance yourself, you can request that the LBV reimburse the employer rates. For more information please go to Reimbursement of the “Arbeitgeberanteil” (employer’s contribution) for health and nursing care insurance.

Social security contribution rates and components for 2018

Sozialversicherungs-/(+ ggf. steuer)rechtlicher Status von


Stipendien dienen der Förderung der Wissenschaft. Daher zählen Stipendien nicht zu den klassischen Beschäftigungsverhältnissen. Es wird kein Arbeitsvertrag begründet.

Auch Promotionen dienen nicht dem Betriebszweck der Universität und stellen somit keine Grundlage für ein Arbeitsverhältnis dar.

Aufgrund der vielschichtigen Eigenschaften von Stipendien kann die Universität Konstanz nicht bewerten, ob die fraglichen Mittel einkommensteuerpflichtig sind. Daher ist der/die Stipendiat/in für das Steuerrisiko seines/ihres Stipendiums selbst verantwortlich.

Mit Annahme des Stipendiums verpflichtet sich der/die Stipendiat/in dazu, die Frage der Versteuerung mit dem Finanzamt in Eigenregie zu klären und evtl. anfallende Steuern hieraus direkt dorthin abzuführen. Dies kann ggf. im Rahmen einer Einkommensteuererklärung vorgenommen werden.

Da kein Arbeitsverhältnis begründet wird, unterliegen Stipendien grundsätzlich auch nicht der Sozialversicherungspflicht. Das bedeutet, dass der/die Stipendiat/in sich selbst krankenversichern muss. Sollte der/die Stipendiat/in eine Versicherung in den weiteren Sozialversicherungszweigen (z.B. Rentenversicherung) wünschen, ist dies ebenfalls von ihm/ihr in Eigenregie zu klären. Nähere Informationen hierzu erteilt Ihnen die Deutsche Rentenversicherung (siehe auch auf der Website des SSV-Service unter der Rubrik Sozialversicherung / Deutsche Rentenversicherung).

Die Frage, ob zusätzlich zum Stipendium eine Nebentätigkeit ausgeübt werden darf und wenn ja, in welcher Höhe, kann nur vom Stipendiengeber beantwortet werden. Wir möchten Sie bitten sich direkt dorthin zu wenden.

Bitte beachten Sie, dass im Rahmen eines Stipendiums auch kein gesetzlicher Unfallversicherungsschutz besteht. Über die Satzung der Unfallkasse Baden-Württemberg kann Versicherungsschutz während dese Aufenthalts auf dem Universitätsgelände bestehen.

Bitte beachten Sie auch, dass durch die Universität kein Versicherungsschutz für Sachschäden besteht. Stipendiate / Stipendiatinnen müssen für verursachte Schäden somit selbst aufkommen. Darum wird empfohlen, ggf. eine eigene private Haftpflichtversicherung abzuschließen.

Auch die Möglichkeit zur Vermögensbildung nach dem 5. Vermögensbildungsgesetz (VermBG) ist aufgrund des Nichtbestehens eines Arbeitsverhältnisses leider nicht gegeben.