Tax Season Deadlines for 2023

Mon 14th Aug, 2023

Annually, tax season arrives predictably, but understanding whether you must submit a return, and the specific submission timeframe, hinges on various considerations. Navigating tax matters can be challenging, and staying informed is essential. That's why we're here to provide an in-depth overview of the tax return submission deadlines for 2023.

Voluntary Tax Returns - Approaching Deadlines for Consideration

In contrast to self-employed individuals, employees in Germany typically aren't obligated to file a tax return. However, there's the option to do so voluntarily. This might be appealing if you intend to claim deductions for expense reimbursement and potentially receive a tax refund.

Fortunately, you needn't rush into submitting your voluntary tax return. You have a generous four-year window until the actual deadline arrives. For the current calendar year, that deadline is set at December 31, 2026.

For those who find themselves in this category, mandatory tax return submission comes with distinct differences. Let's delve into the details.

Scenarios Warranting Voluntary Tax Return Submission

While the rule is that employees needn't worry about filing a tax return, exceptions do exist. Here's where a more detailed explanation of individual deadlines becomes relevant.

Who is Eligible for Voluntary Tax Returns?

Submitting a voluntary return is advantageous for employees with higher expenses that can be deducted from their income taxes, leading to potential refunds. If work-related deductions surpass the standard EUR1,200 per year, filing a voluntary tax return becomes advantageous. Expenses deemed as work-related encompass various elements, including advanced training, account maintenance fees, postage, and work attire.

Another crucial consideration pertains to special expenses. If you've made payments for childcare or tuition fees, these can be deducted. Additionally, alimony payments, charitable donations, and personal insurance costs also qualify as special expenses. Even if you've hired domestic help or engaged in household repairs, such expenditures can be claimed and subsequently result in a tax refund.

Situations Mandating Mandatory Tax Returns

Life can present unexpected turns in a year's span. You might have spent time searching for employment or experienced periods of illness or even the birth of a child. These situations often entail receiving wage-replacement benefits such as unemployment compensation, sick pay, parental benefits, or Kurzarbeitergeld (reduced-hours compensation). If your 2022 income from these benefits exceeded EUR410, filing a tax return is mandatory. Additional scenarios necessitating a tax return can be found through official resources.

It's worth noting that the tax office might request a tax return from individuals not covered by the aforementioned scenarios. Details on submitting a tax return are available through reliable guides.

Mandatory Tax Return Filing - Deadline Insights

For individuals required to file a tax return for the 2022 calendar year, the due date is October 2, 2023. This tax return can be electronically submitted through the official Elster portal. In case you don't have an account, prompt registration is recommended since security-related registration codes are sent by mail.

If your income solely comprises wages and you opt for a paper tax return, bear in mind the delivery time. Any returns received after October 2, 2023, will incur penalties due to lateness.

Consider Your Extension Options

Compared to the four-year grace period for voluntary submissions, October 2, 2023, might seem rather tight. However, individuals requiring more time can apply for a deadline extension:

By sending an informal letter to your tax office, you can request an extension. Be sure to state the reasons for seeking more time, such as illness or missing documents. However, avoid submitting an extension request right before the deadline. For those working with a professional tax advisor, an extension is granted, moving the deadline to July 31, 2024. Nevertheless, it's prudent to assess if such an extension is necessary given the potentially high costs associated with tax professionals.

Retroactive Voluntary Returns - Timing Matters

Given the four-year window for voluntary income tax return submissions, it's possible to retroactively file returns for 2019, 2020, and 2021. The deadline for the 2019 calendar year is set at December 31, 2023. To ensure compliance, ensure the tax office receives your documents before midnight. Incorporating tax return deadlines into your calendar or notes is a helpful way to manage your time effectively.

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