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Determination of the income tax to be paid

Academic Working Group Verlag Wolters Kluwer Deutschland GmbH

The determination of the income

What income is taxable at all?

In Section 2 of the Income Tax Act, the legislature has specified exactly which income is to be subject to income tax. There are seven types of taxable income:

  • Income from not self-employed (§§ 19–19a EStG):

  • Income from Capital assets (§ 20 EStG):

  • Income from Rental and leasing (§ 21 EStG):

  • Income from independent work (§ 18 EStG):

  • Income from Commercial enterprise (§§ 15–17 EStG):

  • Income from Agriculture and Forestry (§§ 13-14a EStG):

  • Other Income (Sections 22–23 EStG):

Basically at all not taxed with income tax become sources of income that cannot be assigned to any of these seven types of income, such as asset growth from gifts and inheritances, lottery and racing winnings or income from competitions.

How is the amount of income calculated?

Your taxable income is calculated as income minus expenses. With revenue the gross amounts that you actually received are indicated. Of these gross amounts, all expenses that have an objective economic connection with this income may be classified as so-called Business expenses or business expenses subtracted from. The remaining net amount is yours Income. All private living expenses are not deductible from your income.

The income from commercial operations, self-employed work and agriculture and forestry is determined as operating income minus operating expenses, with a positive difference as Profit referred to as. That is why one speaks of Profit income.

Income from non-self-employed work, capital assets, renting and leasing and other income are calculated as income minus business expenses, with a positive difference being referred to as a surplus. Accordingly, one speaks of Excess income. If you (are not allowed to) prove any income-related expenses, you will receive a lump sum, with the exception of renting and leasing; there are also some allowances.

The difference in income minus business expenses / business expenses can also be negative, i.e. one loss surrender. In most cases, you will receive income from several types of income and only make a loss with one type of income. For example, you are an employee and initially suffer a tax loss from a rented condominium. If the total income is then determined, this loss is deducted from the positive income from the other types of income.

Income and expenses are tax-relevant in the calendar year in which they were received or paid (Inflow and outflow principle). Exception: Regularly recurring payments (e.g. interest, wages, rents) up to 10 days before or after the turn of the year apply in the calendar year to which they belong economically (Section 11 EStG).

The determination of the taxable income

The basis for calculating the income tax you have to pay is not your total income, but yours taxable profit.

The most important stages in calculating your taxable income (R 2 para. 1 EStR 2012):

Addition of all seven types of income 1)


Sum of income


Retirement benefit


Relief amount for single parents


Allowance for farmers and foresters


Total amount of income


Loss carryforward / loss carryforward


Special editions


Exceptional costs


Tax relief for the apartment you use yourself


Reimbursement overhang for pension expenses and church tax




possible allowances for children


Hardness compensation


taxable profit

With the help of the taxable income, the final income tax liability can now be determined.

Determining the income tax liability

The wage tax deduction or the advance income tax payments during the year are always only provisional. How much income tax you actually have to pay becomes clear at the end of the year, when all income and also all tax-reducing expenses, tax allowances or other deductions are known.

Basic tariff and splitting tariff

Depending on your marital status and your taxable income, your final annual tax liability with the Income tax rate of the relevant assessment period. The tariff formula can be found in Section 32a of the Income Tax Act. There are two tariffs, the basic tariff and the splitting tariff.

The Basic tariff applies to single, permanently separated spouses / registered civil partners, divorced and widowed persons from the second year after the death of the spouse / civil partner. It also applies to married people who, as an exception, opt for an individual assessment.

The cheaper one Splitting tariff applies to married and partnered persons (registered life partners) with joint assessment. Widowed for the last time in the year after the death of the spouse / partner. Separated spouses / life partners and divorced / unpartners can also choose the splitting tariff in the year of the first separation or in the year of divorce / separation.

With every euro that you add to the next full euro amount rounded taxable income increases or decreases, increases or decreases the income tax payable as well. Therefore there are no official income tax tables (Basic table and Splitting table), because these would be excessive due to the omission of the table levels. Both tables are stored in excerpts in the program and can be called up via the menu. You can use the income tax table that applies to you to determine the amount applicable to your taxable income collectively agreed income tax read approximately. An exact calculation of the collectively agreed income tax from 2003 and any taxable income is possible with the (also accessible via the program menu).

Get benefits that match that Progression reservation are subject to (e.g. unemployment benefit I, sickness benefit), or do you have the Fifth rule Income taxed at a reduced rate (e.g. remuneration for several years of work, severance pay, profit from discontinuing operations), you cannot calculate your tax liability directly with the tariff formula or read it off from the income tax table. Because with the progression proviso, the income tax to be calculated is higher than the collectively agreed income tax, with the one-fifth rule, on the other hand, lower. You can find more information on these special cases in the chapters on wage replacement benefits and extraordinary income.

Basic tax allowance

Your taxable income remains tax-free up to the basic allowance. That should secure your subsistence level. An increase in the basic allowance relieves all taxpayers.

Basic tax allowance (Section 32a, Paragraph 1, Sentence 2, No. 1 of the Income Tax Act)

Basic tariff

Splitting tariff


8.354,00 €

16.708,00 €


8.472,00 €

16.944,00 €


8.652,00 €

17.304,00 €

Because of the question of whether the basic tax-free amount has been too low since 2001, all tax assessments are issued provisionally (BMF letter of April 25, 2013, Federal Tax Gazette 2013 I p. 459).

The parts of the taxable income that exceed the basic tax allowance are taxed at different rates depending on the amount Input tax rate since 2009 is 14%. With increasing income, the tax burden for every additional euro earned increases up to one Top tax rate from 42% since 2005 or up to 45% since 2007 (see below). Since 2010, the constant top tax rate of 42% applies to the parts of your taxable income from € 52,882.00 / € 105,764.00 (basic tariff / splitting tariff). Because of the increasing tax rate with increasing income, one speaks of a Tax progression. Since 2010, an increased top tax rate of 45% has been due from a taxable income of € 250,731.00 / € 501,462.00.

Average tax rate and marginal tax rate

How much income tax is charged to income and how increases or decreases in income affect taxation depends on your average and marginal tax rate.

The Average tax rate Indicates the percentage of the fixed income tax of the taxable income, i.e. how much income tax on average a euro you earn is taxed. But this is more important for your tax planning Marginal tax rate, which indicates the percentage with which additional income is taxed or a decrease in income has a tax relief.

The greater the amount of income to which the marginal tax rate is applied, the less precise the calculated additional tax burden or tax relief. So if you want to know how much tax savings you can bring in additional € 10,000.00 in income-related expenses from renting and leasing per year, you should get an exact one Comparison calculation Carry out with the program (via the program symbol). At the end of the program's tax calculation, you will find the average and marginal tax rate for your taxable income.

The Schneider couple had a joint taxable income of € 24,826.00 in 2015. In accordance with the splitting tariff, an income tax of € 1,412.00 is set for this. The average tax rate is 5.6%, the marginal tax rate 21.9%. This means that from every euro of taxable income, an average of 5.6% is withheld by the tax office and from an additional euro of income the tax office taxes away 21.9% or that an additional euro, for example in advertising costs, results in a tax saving of around € 0.22 brings.

Income tax assessment

Once you have submitted your income tax return to the tax office, you can and will then send you an income tax assessment. This will be yours final tax liability determined and compared to the tax payments you have already made in advance during the year. If the final tax liability is higher, there is one Back tax payment, is it lower, one Tax refund.

Determination of the income tax to be determined (R 2 Paragraph 2 EStR 2012):

Tax according to the basic or splitting tariff or according to a special calculation using the progression proviso


Extraordinary income tax


Collective income tax on taxable income


foreign taxes on income


Tax reduction for party donations and independent voter associations


3.8 times the fixed trade tax base amount


Tax reduction for household help and craft costs


Reduction for double taxation with inheritance tax according to § 35b EStG


Withholding tax on capital income that has not yet been taxed and recalculated withholding tax on capital income that has already been taxed in accordance with Section 32d (3) and (4) of the Income Tax Act


Entitlement to an allowance for the Riester pension (if deduction of special expenses is more favorable)


Child benefit due (if the exemptions are deducted)


income tax to be assessed (Section 2, Paragraph 6 of the Income Tax Act)


Solidarity surcharge


Church tax


Withheld wage tax, solidarity surcharge, church wage tax, capital gains tax in the case of a cheaper check


Quarterly advance payments made for income tax, solidarity surcharge and church tax


Tax refund / additional tax payment



  1. Income from capital assets has only been taken into account since 2009 if it is not taxed at 25% but is taxed individually according to the basic or splitting tariff.