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Filing a tax return allows you to declare any expenses and thus get some of the tax you have paid returned to you.

As a general rule, you will be required to pay German tax if you live and work here for more than six months. If you are employed by a university, research institution or company, income tax will be deducted directly from your salary. The rate of income tax will depend on how much you earn, whether you have any dependents and which tax class you choose.

Germany has dual taxation agreements in place with many countries to ensure that you are not required also to pay tax in your home country. Some of these agreements also determine how you are taxed as a researcher.  Your HR department or local tax authority will know which regulation applies to you.

If you come to Germany on a research scholarship you will normally be exempt from tax. However, you should discuss this with your scholarship provider and also check whether your scholarship will be liable to any tax in your home country.

Good to know:

  • Normally, a person on a scholarship will not have to pay any tax in Germany.
  • Germany has a dual taxation agreement in place or is negotiating such an agreement with more than 130 countries.
  • Filing a tax return allows you to declare any expenses and thus get some of the tax you have paid returned to you.

More information

Tax information from the Federal Ministry of Finance:

www.bundesfinanzministerium.de > Taxation

Interactive salary and income tax calculator from the Federal Ministry of Finance:

www.bmf-steuerrechner.de (only in German)

Information for international researchers:

www.euraxess.de > Taxation