A Steuererklarung (tax declaration) is a tax document that documents your income and expenses and tells the Finanzamt (finance office) how much taxes you should pay. It also tells them if you made any mistakes or if you can get a refund.
A good way to do this is to use a software designed by the Federal Central Tax Office (Bundesfinanzamt) called ELSTER, which is available for free online. This allows you to submit your tax documents electronically, saving time for both you and the Finanzamt.
The best part is, you don’t need a tax professional to do this for you! There are several platforms that allow you to do it yourself, including:
Using the ELSTER system requires signing up for an account and a password. It may take a few days for the official to send you your password by post, so it’s best to do this in advance!
Another option is to use a mobile app called TaxMo. It can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play and allows you to submit your tax documents from anywhere in the world.
This is the best way to do your German tax statements, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t take care of all your needs. For example, if you’re self-employed or a freelancer who charges VAT, you need to fill out a separate annual VAT declaration.
You can get a great deal of information about the various forms on the official website. They also provide helpful instructions for filling them out correctly, which will make the process a lot less stressful. You can also hire a local tax expert to do the legwork for you, but this is likely to be expensive.