How do I do my taxes

How do I do my tax return?

Whether 2018, 2019 or 2020, every year there are taxpayers who file their tax returns for the first time. Some contact a tax advisor or the income tax aid association directly, others seek help from friends or do the tax return themselves. But how do you start and what needs to be considered? We explain the most important steps if you want to do your own tax return:

What do i do first?

A few years ago, going to the tax office was the first step to filing a tax return. Every taxpayer had to get the green tax forms, which were mostly on a shelf in the entrance area of ​​the tax office, and fill them out by hand.

Today it is much easier: the tax offices make the forms for the income tax return available for download free of charge on their websites. You can therefore save yourself the trip to the tax office. If you are wondering how to find your local tax office, read our article.

Can I also submit my tax return electronically on my PC?

Since the introduction of ELSTER, the elelectronic St.yourheclarification, you can edit the forms directly on the computer. The tax office provides the corresponding software free of charge. Alternatively, you can also use other software programs for your tax return - they usually differ in terms of user guidance and design. You can find out which functions the electronic tax office offers you in our article on Elster Online.

By the way

Is the familiarization with ELSTER and the registration too time-consuming for you? For our consultants, using the portal and preparing your tax return are part of day-to-day business. Our advisors will be happy to assist you with your tax return. Find a consultant here.

Our video gives you a quick overview of "How do I file a tax return?":

Which forms do I need?

Basically everyone must do the two-sided so-called Mantle bow to complete. This is the main form on your tax return and has space for general information such as your name, tax identification number and bank account number. Up until the 2018 tax return, the cover sheet was still four-sided and contained information about special expenses, extraordinary burdens and household-related services. From the 2019 tax year, these are no longer included in the cover sheet, but there are separate forms for them.

Our table gives you an overview of the most important systems, who has to process them and what you have to enter:

formFor whom?What do you enter?
Special editions
AllInformation on church tax, statutory pension insurance contributions, maintenance payments, training costs or donations.
Extraordinary burden
AllInformation on medical costs or care costs (e.g. the flat-rate care amount or the degree of your disability).
Household-related expenses
AllInformation on household services and craft costs.
AllInformation on tax reductions when debiting inheritance tax, tax concessions for cultural goods worthy of protection, donations carried forward, loss deduction and more.
Pension expenses
for anyone who has insurance premiums
has done
Information on insurance contributions (e.g. pension, health and long-term care insurance as well as accident or liability insurance)
plant childparentsInformation about the child (e.g. name, date of birth)
InvestmentsWorkersInformation on wages and income-related expenses
(e.g. commuter flat-rate, information on double housekeeping)
Annex CHAPsaverIncome from capital assets (e.g. profits from the sale of shares, income from building society contracts)
Appendix RpensionerInformation on pensions and other recurring benefits
(e.g. statutory pensions, pensions from private insurance)
Appendix VlandlordRental and leasing income (e.g. rental income, expenses for insurance, repairs, etc.)
Annex AVRetirement planInformation on additional pension contributions (e.g. Riester pension)

If you want to know more about the individual forms, simply read our detailed article Tax Form: The important attachments at a glance.

By when does the tax return have to be submitted?

If you do the tax return yourself, July 31 has been the binding submission date for the tax return since 2019. You can find out more about this and what you have to do if you cannot meet the submission deadline or have missed it in our article By when does the tax return have to be submitted?

Do I have to submit receipts and supporting documents?

Contrary to what many taxpayers think, you can submit your tax return without any receipts. This has been in effect since 2017. You can find out more about this in our Tax ABC Which documents must be included in the tax return? However, it is important to collect all receipts and evidence and have them ready in case the tax office asks about them afterwards.

This is an editorial text from the VLH editorial team. There is no advice on topics that are outside the tax advisory powers of an income tax aid association. Consulting services in specific individual cases can only be provided within the framework of the establishment of a membership and exclusively within the advisory authority according to § 4 No. 11 StBerG.