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Press Release Oberfinanzdirektion Karlsruhe

Short-time allowance and obligation to file an income tax return

Last year, many employees received short-time allowance due to the Corona pandemic. Receiving short-time allowance may lead to the obligation to file an income tax return.

Such an obligation exists if the total short-time allowance received in the past calendar year (including tax-free employer allowances), if applicable together with other wage replacement benefits, amounted to more than 410 euros. Other wage replacement benefits are, for example, sick pay or parental allowance. The tax authorities therefore recommend checking in good time whether an income tax return needs to be submitted for 2020.

This year, the submission deadline for citizens who have not received tax advice is 2 August 2021, as 31 July 2021 falls on a Saturday. It is possible to file tax returns electronically via the online portal "My ELSTER" at

Short-time allowance is initially tax-free as a wage replacement benefit, but is subject to the so-called progression proviso. This means that these benefits are included in the assessment of income tax when determining the individual tax rate.

However, this individual tax rate is only applied to the actual taxable income, i.e. excluding short-time allowance and any other wage replacement benefits. This results in a higher tax rate for the remaining income, which may lead to additional tax payments. The same applies to any allowances paid by the employer.

Further information on the subject of short-time allowance can be found in the "FAQ-Corona (Taxes)" of the Federal Ministry of Finance.

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