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Procedure descriptions

Income tax - submitting a return

Your employer deducts income tax directly from your wages every time you receive your monthly wage payment. This part of the income tax is therefore called wage tax.

Wages are, for example

  • Cash remuneration,
  • Remuneration in kind (e.g. board and lodging) and
  • other benefits in kind (e.g. private use of a company car).

It does not matter whether

  • it is a one-off or ongoing income or
  • whether you have a legal claim to it or
  • under what name or in what form the employer pays you the income.

The amount of wage tax is influenced in particular by

  • Your electronic wage tax deduction characteristics (ELStAM) and
  • Your tax class.

When calculating the wage tax, some flat-rate allowances are taken into account without you having to submit an application. These are , for example

  • the basic tax-free allowance,
  • the employee lump sum and
  • the lump-sum pension allowance.

In most cases, this concludes the income tax procedure for you.

The submission of an income tax return after the turn of the year comes into consideration if you

  • you have to submit an income tax return (compulsory assessment) or
  • apply for an income tax assessment yourself (application assessment).

Responsible department

The tax office of your place of residence



  • You are obliged to file an income tax return,
  • You apply for an income tax assessment, or
  • You have been requested by your tax office to submit an income tax return.


The best way to submit your income tax return to the tax office is electronically. You have the option of submitting your tax return authenticated electronically. You authenticate yourself with the ELSTER certificate. It has the function of an electronic signature and ensures the confidentiality, security and security of your data

  • Confidentiality,
  • Identity of the sender and
  • Inalterability of the content

of the data sent.

To obtain a certificate, you must register in the ELSTER online portal. This requires several steps (e.g. sending the registration data, sending a confirmation e-mail through the ELSTEROnline portal, sending the activation code by post). Register in good time so that you can submit your tax return on time.

If you have registered in the ELSTEROnline portal, you can also use the advantages of the pre-filled tax return. For this purpose, the tax administration provides you with the following data and documents stored about you:

  • Wage tax certificates sent by your employer,
  • Notifications of receipt of pension benefits,
  • Contributions to health and long-term care insurance, and
  • Pension expenses (e.g. Riester or Rürup contracts)

If you have registered for voucher retrieval, you can automatically transfer this data to your income tax return.

Attention: You must file your tax return electronically if you earn or have an interest in the following income:

  • Income from trade or business,
  • Income from self-employment or
  • Income from agriculture and forestry

This applies irrespective of the type of profit determination for the Annex EÜR (income surplus statement), the balance sheet and the entire income tax return.

You can obtain paper forms from your tax office or on the Internet. Frequently needed forms are also provided by the administrations of the cities and municipalities.

You can send the completed and signed tax return to your tax office by post or hand it in personally.

Please note: The tax office does not accept tax returns by e-mail. You must sign your tax return yourself in order to submit it by the deadline.


  • For compulsory income tax assessment : October 2022
  • For compulsory assessment for income tax 20212:
    2 October 2023

You can apply informally to the competent body for these deadlines to be extended.

If your income tax return is prepared by a member of the tax advisory professions, a generally extended filing deadline of 28/29 February of the second subsequent year applies from 2018.
In view of the exceptional situation caused by the Corona pandemic, the filing deadline for the year 20201 will be extended to 31 August 20223 for advised taxpayers. The filing deadline for the 20212 income tax return is extended to 31 2024

  • In the case of an application assessment for income tax 2018: January 2023
  • In the case of an application assessment for income tax 2019: January 2024
  • In the case of an application assessment for income tax 2020: 31 December 2024
  • In the case of an application assessment for income tax 2021: 31 December 2025
  • In the case of an application assessment for income tax 2022: 31 December 2026

The tax office cannot extend these deadlines.

Attention: If you submit your tax return electronically but not authenticated, it will not be received by the tax office until you submit the so-called compressed tax return signed by you. Electronic transmission alone is not sufficient in this case.

Keep this in mind, especially in the case of the application assessment. If you submit the compressed tax return after the four-year deadline, it is too late.

Required documents

You do not have to submit any receipts. It is sufficient if you keep them at home.




At the end of the year, your employer must issue you with a wage tax certificate, either electronically or in paper form. The same applies when your employment relationship ends.

He also transmits the data contained in it electronically to the tax authorities.

Release note

  • 14.08.2023 Oberfinanzdirektion Karlsruhe als Vertreterin des Finanzministeriums Baden-Württemberg


Bürger- und Standesamt (Bürgeramt)
Grabenstraße 15
89522 Heidenheim an der Brenz
Fax (0 73 21) 3 23-33 32