3 Min.

What Exactly is a Tax Return?

Your income tax return waits for you to submit it by the 31st of May every year.

Income tax declaration (Einkommensteuererklärung)

Simply formulated, the income tax declaration (Einkommensteuererklärung) shows the tax office your earning capacity. The tax office can determine the amount of income tax (Einkommensteuer) that has to be paid monthly as long as you have a job, with which you earn more than €450/month.

Sometimes, the situation arises that the taxpayer has paid too much taxes in a year, so if you fill out a tax declaration and ideally, you will profit from a tax refund.

Naturally, it can happen that you haven’t paid enough taxes. This tends to effect freelancers often. In order to find that out, a lot of information has to submitted to the tax office. You will have to fill out a cover form (Mantelbogen) and possibly several other tax forms (Steuerformulare).

Which tax forms are there (Steuerformulare)?

This topic can be very extensive and complex to deal with. We are trying to give you a simple and concise answers to this question. Additionally, we list the most relevant tax forms and give you somewhat more detailed information about them.


  • 4-page main form
  • Must be completed by everyone
  • Contains general information about a person (name, address, banking account information etc.)
  • Workman services (Handwerkerleistungen) or disabilities (Behinderungen) are submitted here

Anlage N

  • Income from non-self-employed work is listed
  • Earnings, paid wages (Einkünfte) and advertising costs (Werbungskosten) are listed here

Anlage S

  • Important for self-employed workers or freelancers
  • Earnings and losses are specified here

Anlage G

  • Profit and loss of a commercial operation (Gewerbebetriebe) are kept here

Anlage Vorsorgeaufwand (expenses for financial security):

  • Paid insurance premiums and expenses for retirement belong in this tax form
  • Contributions for statutory retirement, unemployment, medical and healthcare insurance
  • Contributions for private medical and healthcare insurance as well as accident and liability insurance

Anlage KAP

  • ROI (Kapitalerträge) from custody accounts, bank deposits etc. are submitted here

Anlage AV

  • Information about Riester contracts (Riester-Rente)
  • Possible government allowances are permitted here

Anlage V

  • Income from rental property
  • Property owners are obligated to fill out this tax form

Anlage R

  • Relevant for pensioners
  • Application assessment (Antragsveranlagung) and compulsory tax assessment (Pflichtveranlagung) play a role here

Anlage EÜR

  • For freelancers and the commercially employed
  • Operating income must be higher than €17,500.00

Anlage U

  • For maintenance payments (Unterhalt) that do not exceed a limit of €1,805.00
  • Maintenance is entered as a incidental expenses (Sonderausgabe)
  • Requirement: (Ex-)Partner pays taxes on their wages (Unterhalt)

Fristen, die eingehalten werden müssen


Tax declarations can’t just be submitted at any time. It’s often the case that there is a deadline for this that must be adhered to.

An income tax declaration (Steuererklärung) always has to be submitted to the tax office by May 31st of the following year. Those who did not earn wages then have until December 31st of the following year to do their tax declaration. However, those that do not have to submit a tax declaration can do so retroactively up to 4 years.

Sure, it all sounds pretty complicated, but it doesn’t have to be

There isn’t a complicated form to fill out with our tax tool custom made for employees, data retrieval is much easier in a simple interview format. A lot of help and tips make it possible for you to do your own taxes, regardless of what device you use. Whether it be a PC, laptop, tablet or smart phone - it doesn’t matter which device you use. Subsequently, the data is automatically transferred and can be sent directly to the respective tax office online.

Register now for free and have your tax refund calculated!