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Deadline extension (Fristverlängerung): When time is breathing down the back of your neck

When the alarm goes off on the 31st the big day has come.

When the alarm goes off on the 31st of July at the crack of dawn, then you know, the big day has come. We don’t mean your birthday. And not that you got your pay check. Instead, we mean the day when everyone does thier tax return at the last minute.

Of course, not everyone is required to do their taxes by the 31st of July, but a good 50% of employees have no choice. Additional information about who must file their taxes can be found in our “Mandatory assessment” section.

If all else fails and you can prove that you are unable to file the tax return at your respective tax office by the deadline, you can request that the deadline be extended. However, there are some things to be considered regarding this.


When the deadline approaches

Paragraph 46 of the Income Tax Act clearly stipulates who must file their tax return by the 31st of July. First and foremost are tradesmen, freelancers, those self-employed and employees with multiple jobs.

For those who file their taxes voluntarily, they have up to four years time. You can file your taxes retroactively untile the 31st of December. Accordingly, you can even file taxes for the 2015 tax year in 2019.


When does an extension come into question?

In principle, any taxpayer can apply for a deadline extension at the tax office. As a rule, a simple e-mail or a letter by fax is sufficient.

But watch out! Not every tax office offers a deadline extension by mail. Furthermore, it’s not recommended to call, as no proof can be provided in an emergency.

An extension can be granted for the following reasons:

  • Illness
  • Missing documentation
  • Heavy workload


Other things to consider

It is particularly important that the letter contains an exact date by which the tax return will be submitted. In order for the case to be dealt with quickly and properly assigned, it is advisable to record the tax identification number and the name and address. The tax identification number can be found, for example, on older tax assessments.

Note: Obliged persons who have their tax declaration issued by a tax consultant or a tax-assistance association do not need to request a deadline extension have until Dec. 31st of any year to submit it.