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In which period can the income tax return be submitted?

The type of assessment and the submission deadline depend, among other things, on your income. You can find the individual deadlines here.

Income tax law distinguishes between compulsory and voluntary assessment:

  • Compulsory assessment: you must submit an income tax return without being asked to do so.
  • Application assessment: You can voluntarily submit an income tax return in order to receive a refund of excess tax (e.g. income tax) from the tax office.

If you are not an employee, you are obliged to submit an income tax return to your tax office if the total amount of all your income exceeds the basic tax-free allowance.

As an employee, you are obliged to submit an income tax return to your tax office in the following cases, for example:

  • You have the tax class combination 3/5 or tax class combination 4/4 with factor and both spouses/life partners receive wages.
  • An allowance has been taken into account for you when deducting income tax and your salary exceeds €11,600 in 2019, €11,900 in 2020, €12,250 in 2021 and €13,150 in 2022 or, in the case of spouses/life partners, €22,050 in 2019, €22,600 in 2020, €23,350 in 2021 and €24,950 in 2022.
  • You receive wages from several employers at the same time.
  • You receive wage replacement benefits subject to progression of more than €410 per year (e.g. unemployment benefit, parental benefit, sick pay, short-time working allowance, compensation for loss of earnings or insolvency benefit).
  • In addition to your salary, you receive other income of more than EUR 410 per year.
  • If you receive investment income for which no capital gains tax has been withheld, you are always obliged to submit a tax return.

However, if you are not obliged to submit an income tax return, you can apply for an income tax assessment in order to receive a refund of excess tax deductions (e.g. income tax) (application assessment). The application assessment allows you to claim a tax reduction for your deductible costs and receive a refund of the tax you have paid in excess from the tax office. In this case, you must submit your declaration to your tax office within four years of the end of the calendar year in which the salary was received. You can submit your income tax return for 2019 to your tax office by 31.12.2023, by 31.12.2024 for 2020 and so on.

An application assessment can be particularly worthwhile if

  • the employment relationship has not existed without interruption for the entire calendar year;
  • You and your spouse or partner are assigned to tax class 4/4;
  • Income-related expenses (e.g. travel costs to your employer), special expenses or extraordinary expenses have been incurred for which no allowance has been taken into account in the income tax deduction procedure;
  • the tax class or the number of tax-free allowances for children has changed in your favor during the year;
  • withheld capital gains tax is to be credited.


In the following video, the tax office of the future explains the tax deadlines for employees quickly and easily.

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