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Under what conditions do I have to submit an income tax return as an employee?

In the case of employees from whom income tax is to be withheld, an assessment is only carried out under certain conditions, including if

  • In addition to your salary, you receive other income that is not wage income of more than € 410. If you receive investment income for which no capital gains tax has been withheld, you are always obliged to submit a tax return.
  • You receive wage replacement benefits subject to the progression proviso of more than € 410 (e.g. unemployment benefit, parental benefit, sickness benefit, short-time working allowance, compensation for loss of earnings or insolvency benefit).
  • You have the tax class combination III/V or IV/IV with factor and both spouses or life partners receive wages.
  • an allowance has been taken into account for you when deducting income tax and your salary exceeds € 12,250 in 2021, € 13,150 in 2022 or € 12,174 in 2023 (€ 23,250 for spouses or partners in 2021, € 24,950 in 2022 or € 23,118 in 2023).
  • You receive wages from several employers at the same time.
  • You earn further positive income in addition to the tax-free income from a marginal employment relationship
  • You apply for tax assessment, in particular to offset wage tax and capital gains tax against income tax.
  • one of the spouses or partners applies for individual assessment.
  • a loss from income other than that from employment is to be taken into account on application or a loss carried forward from the previous year has been established.
  • You wish to apply for a tax reduction for extraordinary income.


Further information can also be found in the annual public invitation to submit tax returns (tax form ESt 1).

It is best to submit your income tax return electronically via ELSTER and use the pre-filled tax return. The electronic input aid will help you to complete the form.

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