Your tax category is the most important factor when calculating your tax. If you are married and your spouse/civil partner does not have income, it might be a good idea to change the tax category (Steuerklasse) of both of you, as this might increase your net income per month.
Below you will find a description/criteria of the different tax categories:
|I||Those single or separated, but not falling into either categories II or III|
|II||Single and separated, with a child, entitling them to a child's allowance.|
|IV||Married employees if both of them receive wage.|
|V||Married persons who would normally fall into category IV, but whose spouse is in tax class III (more on this later)|
|VI||Employees who receive income from other employment on other, or several different tax cards (Lohnsteuerkarte).|
Some days after you register your address, the Finanzamt will be notified and will automatically assign you (and your spouse/partner) a Tax Category.
Married couples have two options when selecting the tax category:
- A) Both should be in tax category IV.
- B) One should be in tax category III and the other in tax category V.
If you and your spouse/partner were automatically assigned to the tax category IV but one of you does not have an income, it might be a good idea to change the tax class of you to III and V. Since the tax rate for category III is lower than for the category V, assigning the member of the couple with the higher salary to this category will increase your family's net income.
Access the website http://www.parmentier.de/steuer/steuer.htm?wagetax.htm and play around with the tax category to see how it affects your net income per month.
Anyway, if you want to change the tax category you need to perform the following steps:
- Obtain the form Steuerklassenwechsel* (download here OR get it directly at the Finanzamt.
- Fill it out and sign it
- Deliver it in a Finanzamt (you do not need to schedule an appointment)
- Done! You might need to wait up to 30 days for this change to be reflected in your salary.
Step by step:
Fill the "Identifikationsnummer" (field 2) with the Tax ID of both members of the couple. If you don't know the Tax ID of both of you, filling only one is fine.
Fill the first block (fields 5 to 9) with information of the "husband" (Ehemann) and the second block (fields 10 to 14) with information of the "wife" (Ehefrau). Filling this part should be intuitive (ask someone or use Google Translate if you need help).
The fields 15 and 16 are the most important ones. Before we start, let's recap the numbers in German:
- 3 is
- 4 is
- 5 is
The field 15 indicates your CURRENT tax category in the format husband category / wife tax category. The field 16 indicates the desired tax category.
As an example, me and my wife were both assigned to the tax category 4. I wanted to change my tax category to 3 and her tax category to 5. So, I checked
vier / vier in the field 15 and
drei / fünf in the field 16.
Another example: a friend of mine and her husband were also assigned to the tax category 4. She wanted to change her tax category to 3 and her husband tax category to 5. So, she checked
vier / vier in the field 15 and
fünf / drei (note that the "husband" (their terminology) is always represented in the first checkbox)
Leave it blank.
Current date and signature of both member of the couple.