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What are the tax obligations of an employer for his employees (filing of income tax returns, etc.)?

The employer is obliged to withhold the wage tax, the solidarity surcharge and, if applicable, the church tax from the wages for the account of the employee with every wage payment, to declare them electronically to the competent tax office of the place of business (tax office for the place of business) and to pay them there.

The amounts for wage tax, solidarity surcharge and church tax are to be calculated according to the taxation features that are stored in the database of the tax authorities as "electronic wage tax deduction features (ELStAM)" and are to be retrieved by the employer (e.g. tax class, religious affiliation, allowances). The retrieval must be authenticated. The employer is obligated to register his employees in the database upon commencement of the employment relationship and to request the ELStAM. For this purpose, the employer requires the following information from the employee:

  • Tax identification number (ID no.)
  • Date of birth
  • Main or secondary employment
  • if applicable, information on whether an allowance applies in the secondary employment relationship.

Further information on the ELStAM can be found on the website
The certificate required for authentication must be applied for once in the service portal of the financial administration in the ELSTER user account administration.

If you employ workers in your company, you must transmit a "wage tax registration" electronically to the local tax office after each registration period (monthly, quarterly, annually - see deadlines) in which wages were paid.

In addition, a payroll account must be kept for each employee for the respective calendar year. Among other things, the type and amount of the wages paid as well as the withheld wage tax must be entered in the wage account. The employer must close the wage account at the end of the year and, on the basis of the entries in the wage account, transmit an electronic wage tax certificate for the employee to the tax authorities by the last day of February of the following year at the latest in accordance with the officially prescribed data record by remote data transmission.


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