3 Min.

Your tax return: Don't miss these deadlines (Abgabefrist)

Not everyone has to file their taxes with their respective tax offices.

Despite the possibility of getting a nice refund, many people still procrastinate the tax declaration. And this is when deadlines are missed. In order for that to not happen in the future, we will explain the various tax deadlines for you.


Not everyone has to file their taxes with their respective tax offices. However, everyone, who would like, is allowed to do their taxes and submit them.

There are various deadlines that must be adhered to; otherwise, there could be consequences. This naturally brings up the question, who must file a tax declaration and who mustn’t.

Those required to file their taxes

You are required to file taxes if

  • if, in addition to your employment income, you earn more than €410 annually (this includes income from leased or rental property)
  • if you applied for a tax exemption with your respective tax office (Freibetrag)
  • Benefits such as ALG1, Kurzarbeitergeld, Elterngeld oder Krankengeld are included (this also must be more than €410 annually)
  • Spouse or life partner have been paid and one was taxed according to tax bracket (Steuerklasse) V or VI or if spouses or life partners have selected tax bracket IV with factor
  • Income comes from several employers
  • self-employed


Deadline for taxpayers

Those who are required to file their taxes have until July 31st of the following year. For example, you must have your 2018 taxes filed by July 31, 2019. Should the deadline fall on a weekend, then it is automatically extended to the next business day.

What happens if I don’t submit a tax return?

Those who are require to file taxes have to deal with the consequences if they miss their deadline. You can assume that the respective tax office will contact you and no one is forgotten.

Worst case scenario, the tax office will penalize you for missing the deadline and you will have to pay interest on additional payments, which can become quickly become expensive. Thus, not submitting a tax return is not an option.


Voluntary tax return submission (Freiwillige Steuererklärung)

Actually, not everyone has to file taxes with their respective tax office. Volunteer have four years to do it. That means that theoretically you can submit a tax return for 2015 in 2019.

The deadline for volutary tax declarations is then always December 31st of one of the years. That means it must be postmarked and submitted by then. Those who wait to submit their declaration on the last day of the year have to assume that they missed the deadline.

Note: The tax office will simply ignore tax returns that were send in by those who did not comply with this deadline.

When the tax office requests an income tax return (Steuererklärung)

If the case arises that the tax office asks you to submit a tax return, this also determines the deadline. If the deadline is not adhered to, a penalty fee will be enacted.