If you are not obliged to file a tax return, you can still submit it years later. It can even be worth it twice. Because with reimbursements from the tax office beckons a special interest.
Millions of Germans do not have to worry about the deadline for the tax return: they can decide for themselves whether to hand in the documents at all. If you decide to do so, you also have plenty of time.
We explain who can voluntarily submit their tax returns, which submission deadline applies, and why it can even be worthwhile to make your taxes late.
Who can submit their tax returns retrospectively?
Anyone who is not required to file a tax return with the tax office. This includes millions of workers. Because your wage tax is automatically paid by the employer. So you no longer owe the state. However, it can still be worthwhile for them to file a tax return.
Because they often paid too much tax. For example, if they have a long way to work, childcare costs or craftsmen costs, or if they look after their parents. If you don’t want to give the state money, you should make a voluntary tax return – and you can do that retrospectively.
However, the tax return obligation applies to:
- Additional income from self-employment or renting more than 410 euros per year
- Wage replacement such as parental, short-time, sick or unemployment benefits over 410 euros a year
- Severance payments, where the wage tax was calculated according to the fifth regulation
- Self-employed with income over 9,000 euros
- Working people Married couples with wage tax classes III and V or IV / IV with factor
- Pensioners with taxable income of more than 9,000 euros (after deduction of advertising costs, free, lump sum or relief contributions)
- Maintenance paymentswhich the ex-partner sells as special editions
For which years can I submit my tax return retrospectively?
Even if you only make your tax return voluntarily, it will not go on forever. In general, you can take up to four years. For the tax year 2019, the so-called deadline ends around December 31, 2023.
It is also still possible to submit tax returns for the years 2018 (due to a convenient weekend until January 2, 2023), 2017 (until December 31, 2021) and 2016 (until December 31, 2020).
Why is it worth waiting for the tax return?
Because you might then Refund interest to be entitled. This means that the tax office pays interest on the repayment amount.
According to the United Wage Tax Assistance, you have to receive your final tax assessment at least 15 months after the respective tax year – for the tax return 2019, therefore, on April 1, 2021.
The government then pays 0.5 percent monthly interest on the amount to be reimbursed. In total, 6 percent would come together each year. However: The reimbursement interest is considered taxable capital income and must be stated in the tax return 2021 – to stay in the example – in the KAP Appendix. You will then have to pay flat rate tax, solidarity surcharge and possibly church tax on the interest.
It is still unclear whether the interest rate of 0.5 percent per month will remain that high. In 2018, the Federal Fiscal Court came to the conclusion that the interest rate, which also applies to additional payments, violates the constitution for interest periods from April 2012. A decision by the Federal Constitutional Court is still pending.
Since May 2019, tax offices have only been issuing new interest notices provisionally regarding the amount of interest.
When can I submit my tax return seven years later?
That works if you have a so-called Loss carryforward want to assert. This can be useful if you want to offset a loss – i.e. higher expenses than income – from one year against the profit from another year. The loss carried forward then reduces the tax burden.
The limitation period for the loss carryforward has not yet expired for these tax returns:
- Tax return 2013: December 31, 2020
- Tax return 2014: December 31, 2021
- Tax return 2015: December 31, 2022
- Tax return 2016: December 31, 2023
- Tax return 2017: December 31, 2024
- Tax return 2018: December 31, 2025
- Tax return 2019: December 31, 2026
How do students benefit from a late tax return?
A loss carryforward is particularly interesting for students, who often have higher expenses than income due to tuition fees, travel expenses, specialist literature and work equipment. You can then save a lot of taxes in the first year after starting your career.
However, this only works for a second degree, i.e. a master’s or bachelor’s degree after previous vocational training. According to a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court, expenditures for a first degree and the first training may not be claimed as advertising costs, but only as special expenses. And no loss carryforward can be made with special editions.