FAQ - Tax refund Germany


What documents are required for a tax refund?

To apply for a tax refund from Germany, the following documents are required:

    • Filled Application
    • Scanned the first page of the valid passport
    • Copy of visa (if it is required for work)
    • Lohnsteuerbescheinigung list - from every employer you worked for that year
    • Notarize EWR form
    • Instructions from the bank for transfer of money in EUR to a foreign currency account
    • Signed cooperation agreement

You can download the necessary forms and an example of the completed documentation here.

What is Lohnsteuerbescheinigung?

Lohnsteuerbescheinigung form is the most important document for a tax refund. You will have one Lohnsteuerbescheinigung list for each employer. The more employers you have in Germany, the more Lohnsteuerbescheinigung lists you will have.

According to the law, the employer is obliged to electronically submit to the Finanzamt the calculation of your annual salary (Lohnsteuerbescheinigung lists) no later than February 28th for the previous year.

Is the tax return form sent to the Finanzamt for each employer separately?

No. The tax return form sent to the Finanzamt refers to one tax year. Upon this form, you must report the total earnings earned during that year, ie. all the employers you have worked for.

Do I have to report earnings from an employer who did not withhold taxes from me?

If you have never filed a tax return in Germany before, you do not have to submit a request. However, it is very important to know that it is not possible to selectively apply for a tax refund in Germany. If you have filed a tax return once, you are required to file a claim on a regular basis, regardless of whether you have a tax refund or a debt.

How will my money be paid out?

The Finanzamt pays the money directly to the applicant's account. It is not necessary for the account to be opened in a German bank, you can also get money on your foreign currency account in your home country.

How long does the tax refund process take?

From the date of receipt of the documentation, the Finanzamt takes 3-6 months to process the request.

Is it possible that I have to pay taxes?

Yes. Debts can occur if your employers do not withhold taxes during the year, or if you have not paid enough taxes in relation to your earnings.

What is a deadline for claiming a tax refund?

If you are not a German citizen and do not have a permanent residence in this country, but have already worked as a seasonal worker, you are entitled to a tax refund within 4 years. However, if you are required to file a tax return with the Finanzamt, you are entitled to do so by July 31st of the following year.

You can currently apply for a tax refund from 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

What is the deadline for the return of funds from Soka Bau?

If you have not used your annual leave, you are entitled to compensation for the previous two years. You can currently apply for a refund for 2022 and 2023.