When will a tax refund be possible?

Is it possible to file a tax return retrospectively?


Have you not yet submitted your tax returns for 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015? Would you like to do everything better from 2020 - i.e. from the tax return for 2019 - and now fill out the forms for the tax returns from previous years? We'll tell you what's possible!

How long you can submit a tax return retrospectively depends on whether you submit it voluntarily or whether you are obliged to do so.

When do I have to submit a tax return?

An obligation to submit the tax return exists in the following cases, among others:

  • The taxable additional income is over 410 euros.

  • An exemption was entered on the wage tax card (or in the electronic wage tax characteristics - ELStAM).

  • Unemployment benefits, sick pay or short-time work benefits, etc. were received in the amount of 410 euros.

  • There were parallel employment relationships with several employers.

  • There is investment income for which no final withholding tax could be levied.

  • Unmarried or divorced parents want to transfer certain allowances for a child.

  • In the case of married people, one spouse had tax class 5 or 6 for the whole year or at times.

Conversely, this means that those who are not obliged to submit a tax return do not have to submit one.

Is it worth filing my tax return voluntarily?

Yes! Because often precisely those taxpayers who are not obliged to pay receive a tax refund.

Submitting the tax return is particularly worthwhile if, for example, you had high business expenses, special expenses or extraordinary burdens or got married during a year. Then there is always a tax refund.

Deadlines for filing the tax return

Who has to submit a tax return, does not have a particularly long time for this: the tax return must be submitted by July 31. of the following year at the tax office. You have until July 31, 2020 for the tax return for 2019. If you notice that you cannot keep this deadline, you can apply for an extension of the deadline at the tax office. We have prepared a sample letter for this.

In the case of voluntary submission a longer period applies. These tax returns do not have to be received by the tax office until after four years - and then only at the end of December. So you can still submit your tax return for 2015 until December 31, 2019! (Simply use our free deadline calculator to calculate the deadline.)

Important: The tax return must be submitted voluntarily on December 31st. be at the tax office at midnight. It is not enough if you only submit your tax return on December 31st. send it by post. You can also put your tax forms in the mailbox of your tax office until midnight. There, an entry stamp with the time is automatically attached to the envelope.