Solidaritätszuschlag

The Solidaritätszuschlag is an additional form of tax that was originally conceived to assist with the re-building of East Germany after re-unification.

It was introduced in 1991 and although there was a break of 2 years in the 1990s, it is still valid today and anyone who pays tax in Germany also pays this Zuschlag on top.

The Solidaritätszuschlag is often a point of discussion, especially a to how long we will have to continue paying it – 18 years after re-unification.  However, at the moment there appear to be no plans to discard it again.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Die Kirchensteuer

Kirchensteuer, or church tax, is a a tax on income in Germany that benefits a church that the payer belongs to. The level of tax depends on the state or Bundesland that you live in.

Payment is made from your wages by your employer to the Finanzamt, therefore the church who benefits is noted on the Lohnsteuerkarte.

For the main churches, the Kirchensteuer is an important form income. They do, however, use this to provide services to the community which in other countries may be charged for separately.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Disclaimer: this podcast is a simple explanation for non-native speakers. For tax advice, please contact a Steuerberater.

Die Lohnsteuerkarte

The Lohnsteuerkarte is an A5 piece of card that you receive when you first register in Germany.

The card contains your name and address, but also your tax class, the number of children you have and your confession.

When you start work, it is important to give it to you employer as soon as possible, so that the tax can be deducted from your wages correctly.

If you leave your job during the year, the card is returned to you with a printout of the tax paid. Otherwise, at the end of each year you receive the printout from your employer to enable you to complete your tax return.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


(Press the “play” button to listen to the podcast)

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Disclaimer: this podcast is a simple explanation for non-native speakers.  For tax advice, please contact a Steuerberater.

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