For a number of employees in Germany, filing a tax return is mandatory. For them the deadline is May 31 of the following year (from 2019 on, the deadline shifts to July 31). The mandate is regulated in Paragraph 46 of the Income Tax Code (§46 EStG).
If the mandate applies to you, you will receive an appropriate notification of that from your tax and revenue office. When in doubt, a quick call to the respective tax office is enough to clarify the situation.
In the following cases, among others, filing a tax return is mandatory:
- when non-taxed income or social benefits are received in excess of 410 EUR (e.g., unemployment benefits, reduced-hours compensation, sickness benefits, weighing charges, insolvency payments, parental allowance);
- when salaries from several employers are received;
- capital gains eligible for flat rate withholding tax are received, but the flat rate withholding tax has not been paid yet;
- spouses have chosen Tax Brackets III/V or IV/IV with a factor;
- the employer's marriage has ended during the tax assessment period, either through divorce or death;
- for officially separated spouses for whom the training tax allowance or the standard deductions for disability or surviving member of the family for children are not shared equally.