What is the tax bracket for 2018

Tax brackets

More net per month with the right tax bracket

Udo Reuss
Tax Expert As of May 03, 2021

Udo Reuss

The tax lawyer and business graduate Udo Reuß is responsible for tax issues at Finanztip. Before that, he worked for various business and specialist publishers such as Handelsblatt, F.A.Z.-Verlagsgruppe, Haufe-Lexware and Vogel Business Media - 14 years of which he worked as editor-in-chief of trade magazines. He draws the relevant judgments for tax savers from the complex tax law.

  • In the case of married people or registered partners, a clever combination of income tax brackets can have a positive effect on unemployment, sickness, maternity or parental benefits.
  • Spouses can choose different combinations of tax brackets. A favorable combination gives you more net salary.
  • The wage tax is always an advance payment. The actual tax liability is only calculated when you submit a tax return.
  • You are obliged to submit a tax return if you choose the combination III / V or IV / IV with the factor method.
  • For the factor procedure, fill out the "Application for a tax class change for spouses / life partners".
  • If you are unsatisfied with your combination, you can change it at the tax office by submitting an application to change the tax class. As early as the following month, the employer must take the new tax bracket into account in the payroll.
  • A spouse with tax class III or V can apply for a change of tax class without the consent of their partner. Both then have class IV.

In this guide we explain how married couples or registered partners Save money by choosing the right income tax bracket can.

What class combinations are possible for married couples?

Especially married and registered life partners should deal with the income tax brackets, because unlike singles they can chooseto which they want to belong. By a clever combination they get more net.

In addition, optimal wage tax brackets can increase unemployment, sickness, education and maternity benefits. However, here are certain Deadlines to be observed. With the wage and income tax calculator of the Federal Ministry of Finance, it is easy to find out which tax class combination is the cheapest.

Married couples automatically receive tax classes IV and IV after the wedding. Since 2018, this allocation has been extended to all who get married. That is, even if only one of the spouses is working, get it both first the Tax class IV. If that is unfavorable for you, you should switch. For this you have to get one from the responsible tax office Request set to tax class change. Since 2020 you can use the tax classesseveral times a year to change.

Working spouses and life partners, both of whom are fully liable to tax and do not live permanently apart, can choose for the wage tax deduction:

  • whether they are both in the Tax class IV want to be classified
  • whether the better earner by tax bracket III and the other by class V should be taxed or
  • whether they are the tax class combination IV / IV with Choose factor.

Remember: If you like the variant III / V or IV with factor choose, you are to Submission obliged to submit an income tax return. In the vast majority of cases, it is worth filing a tax return anyway.

New since 2018 is that a spouse with tax class V or III alone a tax class change apply for can. Here is an example: The poorer-earning partner works part-time and has such high tax deductions in tax class V that he has little income of his own. In order to receive a higher monthly net wage as early as the next month, it is sufficient to apply to the tax office to change the tax class. The other partner's signature is not required. Both spouses are then grouped in tax class IV.

For spouses and life partners, the tax authorities have information on the in a leaflet Tax class election 2021 released. The one to be submitted to the tax office for a change of tax class form can be found online in the form management of the financial administration. It is called "Application for a change of tax class for spouses / life partners".

Bankruptcy of a spouse

If your spouse is insolvent or if their salary is attached, you can save by changing the income tax bracket. Choose the combination so that the other person bears the greater tax burden. This is expressly permitted by law (FG Münster, judgment of October 4, 2012, Az. 6 K 301/10 E).

Registered partners automatically in tax class IV / IV since the end of 2015

Registered same-sex partners are treated the same as married couples for tax purposes. In the past, they did not automatically receive the IV / IV combination. They had to apply separately to the tax office for a change in their income tax bracket. Since November 2015, the offices have also been transmitting the data that generate the electronic wage tax deduction criteria for registered partners.

As a result, the combination IV / IV will also be created for those who have newly registered their partnership since November 2015. If you want a different combination, you have to apply to the tax office.

If you do not want to reveal to your employer that you are living in a registered civil partnership, you can choose the less favorable tax class I. The State Office for Rhineland-Palatinate points out that the data is transmitted to the employer in such a way that no conclusions can be drawn about the marital status.

The Marriage for everyone

What is the electronic income tax card?

While there used to be the classic cardboard income tax card, the tax-relevant information of an employee is now on the electronic tax card saved. This includes the tax class, your allowances, the number of child allowances and any church tax liability. This is also called that "Electronic wage tax deduction features", Elstam for short.

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When is the factor method worthwhile?

Spouse or life partner with different salaries often choose the tax class combination III / V. However, this has the disadvantage that those with class V have relatively high deductions because, for example, both basic allowances only benefit the partner taxed in tax class III. If you are faced with this problem, you should better take income tax classes IV / IV with factor. As a result, the allowances due to each partner are already taken into account when deducting income tax.

The advantage of the factor approach is one fairer distribution the wage tax burden on both partners - unlike the combination III / V. Especially for the lower earner - often this is the wife - the factor brings more net.

At the same time, with this procedure, the difference between wage tax deduction during the year and tax liability at the end of the year is particularly small. So you don't have to worry about high tax back payments, but a repayment from the tax office is also low at best.

The deducted wage tax is also reduced by a factor - as in the splitting process. This factor is calculated individually by the tax office and is less than 1.

In order to use the factor procedure, the couple must jointly submit an application to the tax office stating the expected wages for the calendar year ("Application for a tax class change for spouses / civil partners"). The factor procedure then applies to two years and must then be requested again. Anyone who uses it is required to file a tax return Committed. You can read more about this in our guide to factor methods.

More parental allowance by changing the income tax bracket

The parental allowance is calculated based on the net salary. The salary in the twelve-month assessment period before the first month of maternity leave counts. The decisive factor here is the one in this period predominant tax class. So if you had tax class III for at least seven of the twelve months within this period, then this is decisive.

It follows from this: If you are expecting a child, the parent who predominantly looks after the child after the birth should choose tax class III at an early stage. This increases the net income. Expectant, married mothers or fathers can do so more parental allowance to get. However, the application for a change of tax class must be submitted by seven months be applied for before the start of maternity leave. In practice, this means that the parents must act immediately as soon as the pregnancy has been established. You can read more about this in our parental allowance guide.

Other social benefits such as the grant to Maternity allowance, the Unemployment, short-time work, insolvency, sickness, maintenance or bridging allowance are based on the net wage. For example, if you are in the unfavorable tax bracket V and will soon be unemployed, you should apply for a change to tax bracket III at an early stage. Different deadlines apply to the social benefits so that a change in class can be taken into account.

Important: With the Wage replacement benefits the higher net actually pays in due to a change in tax class higher performance out.

Who belongs in which tax class?

There are six different tax brackets. The Wage tax deduction depends on in which you are classified.

Tax class I

It applies to single and divorced Employees as well as married employees who live permanently separated from their spouse. Widowed Employees also belong in this category - but only for the time being from the second year after the death of the spouse.
A foreign employee whose spouse lives in a non-EU country also belongs to tax class I. Likewise, an employee who is subject to limited income tax because he earns income in Germany but lives abroad permanently.

Tax class II

This includes all persons named in tax class I, provided they are single parents. The prerequisite is that at least one child lives in your household for whom you receive a child allowance or child benefit. If the child is registered with more than one person, the person who receives the child benefit is entitled to the relief amount. If the employee lives in a marriage-like partnership or in a registered civil partnership, this regulation applies Not. If this were the case, this would have to be stated on the form “Insurance for the relief amount for single parents”.

Tax class III

It applies to married Employee and life partner, if both live in Germany, do not live permanently apart and if the spouse does not receive any wages - or receives wages and is classified in tax class V. Widowed employees belong to tax class III until the end of the first year after the death of the spouse. The prerequisite for this is that they did not live permanently apart and that the deceased was fully liable to income tax.

Tax class IV

Married automatically receive tax class IV from the tax office after a wedding - namely both partnersregardless of whether they both work. This applies if you live in Germany and do not live permanently apart. The deductions correspond to those in tax class I. If both earn roughly the same amount, then the combination IV / IV is okay. If there are bigger differences in earnings, you should change tax brackets.

Tax class IV with factor

Since 2010 there has been the option of using the tax class combination IV / IV with factor to choose. The factorial method is intended to ensure that the wage tax burdens are distributed more fairly within a marriage or registered civil partnership. In this case, however, a tax return must be submitted in any case.

Tax class V

Spouses and life partners fall into this category instead of tax class IV if the other spouse is assigned to tax class III.

Tax class VI

Who as an employee second or third job starts, ends up automatically in tax class VI. Here are the prints on highestbecause no allowances are taken into account. You can, however, determine for which of your activities tax class VI should be used.

Mini-jobbers, i.e. employees with a maximum monthly wage of 450 euros, do not need a tax card.

The advantage of spouse splitting

Anyone who is married or lives in a registered civil partnership can benefit from the so-called spouse splitting when assessing together. In most cases, the income tax payable is lower than for the individual assessment. Couples who earn very differently and where one partner has a high income have a great financial advantage.

The wage tax is one Advance payment on income tax and is initially deducted separately from both salaries. The tax office only summarizes the wages in the tax return after the end of the year. Therefore, with the tax class combination III / V, there is an obligation to submit an income tax return. Only then is the applicable annual tax calculated and additional tax payments or refunds may be made. The greater the difference in the income of the spouse or registered partner, the greater the financial advantage that results from a joint assessment compared to an individual assessment.

The tax office can Income tax prepayments stipulate if it can be expected that the annual tax liability is at least 400 euros higher than the wage tax to be withheld. To choose the cheapest tax bracket, use the Federal Ministry of Finance's wage and income calculator to check which combination results in the lowest tax deduction in your case.

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What applies to separation and divorce?

Once a couple permanently separated lives, both should basically go into the Tax class I. In the year of separation, however, both partners can keep their tax bracket until the end of the year - regardless of whether the separation took place on January 1st or December 31st. From January 1st of the following year, spouses living “permanently separated” definitely have tax class I. If a minor child lives in the household of one of the two separated persons, tax class II applies, provided the child is also registered there.

in the Year of separation Both can still be assessed together if one of the spouses requests it and his ex-partner compensates for the resulting tax disadvantage - but only from the time of separation.

Example: A couple separated on December 30, 2019. Previously, the man had tax class III and his wife had V. She applied to the tax office for an individual assessment for 2019. At the request of her current husband, however, she must agree to a joint assessment. In return, he has to reimburse her for her tax disadvantage - from the time she suffered it. If, for example, the wife were to receive a tax refund in the case of an individual assessment, and this does not apply to the joint assessment, then the husband must pay her this amount. As a rule, however, the man still benefits from the common disposition.

Often, however, both are so divided that each makes a separate assessment (individual assessment). However, this can be an unnecessary gift to the tax authorities if there are large differences in income between the ex-partners.

Attempt at reconciliation

As soon as a couple informs the tax office that they have tried to live together again, it applies Not (more) than living permanently apart. Consequence: you can invested together become. Several attempts at reconciliation can also occur; however, they must be plausibly conveyed to the tax officer.

Will marriage eventually divorced, the spouses are also separate for tax purposes. It can become problematic when tax refunds are expected. These are distributed to both heads, depending on how many taxes each has paid during the year.Of course, the tax office must find out the - possibly new - account details to which it is to transfer the amounts.

Submit an application to the tax office

When a Tax refund is to be expected, the best way to calculate this is with the help of a tax advisor or income tax aid association. Then submit an application to the tax office in good time to transfer your share to your account on the basis of the income tax that has already been paid. You can also agree on a different distribution of the reimbursement with your ex-partner. Then inform the tax office of this result in writing - with both signatures.

Udo Reuss

Udo Reuss

The tax lawyer and business graduate Udo Reuß is responsible for tax issues at Finanztip. Before that, he worked for various business and specialist publishers such as Handelsblatt, F.A.Z.-Verlagsgruppe, Haufe-Lexware and Vogel Business Media - 14 years of which he worked as editor-in-chief of trade magazines. He draws the relevant judgments for tax savers from the complex tax law.

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