Status: 10/26/2021 6:25 p.m.
Urgent appointment: In less than a week, the income tax return 2020 must reach the tax office. The declaration for the past year is mandatory for many citizens – and can be worthwhile. An overview.
The Corona year 2020 also has an impact on the taxation of many millions of German citizens. The extended deadline until the end of October should be used to submit the income tax return on time. Many taxpayers can hope for a refund.
There is a risk of late payment
With the deadline, which was extended to October 31 because of the Corona crisis, there is hardly any pardon from the tax authorities. The tax office only grants an extension of the deadline if the delay was not your own fault. However, if you submit your tax return with the help of a tax advisor or income tax aid association, you have until the end of May 2022. Taxpayers, who are working on their declaration at the last minute, have until November 1st, strictly speaking, because October 31st falls on a public holiday. And whose federal state celebrates November 1st as a holiday of All Saints’ Day, the deadline for which is not until November 2nd.
If tax returns are submitted late, there is a risk of a late surcharge amounting to 0.25 percent of the tax levied, but at least 25 euros per month.
The corona crisis makes the income tax return more complicated for many taxpayers, but in many cases also makes more sense. Anyone who has received more than EUR 410 short-time work allowance or other wage replacement benefits is required to submit the declaration; in 2020 that was much more employees than in previous years. More and more retirees are also obliged to explain. Anyone who is single, retired in 2021 and receives a pension of more than 1170 euros per month must submit the declaration. In the previous year, this marginal income was 1185 euros. The Retirement Income Act, which provides for the subsequent taxation of pensions, ensures this.
With the “Corona aid facility”, grants, bridging aid and emergency aid received are shown that freelancers, small businesses and companies have received. Even those who have not received any of this help from these professional groups must explain this here.
Drop off home office
For many taxpayers, however, the introduction of the home office flat rate is the most important innovation: For the past year, five euros for every day in the home office, up to a maximum of 600 euros, can be taken into account as income-related expenses. However, no flat-rate travel expenses can be claimed for these days. There is no need to provide evidence of a separate study. But if you do this, you can claim a total of 1250 euros if you include proportionate expenses such as rent, insurance and other ancillary costs. Home office expenses can also be included as income-related expenses, provided that at least 90 percent of them are used professionally. Purchases for up to 800 euros per device or piece of furniture (excluding VAT) can be set aside. A computer that was more expensive can be written off over three years; office furniture has a different period.
The Corona year can also lead to additional payments to the tax office for many employees. The short-time work allowance as a state subsidy is added to the salary when calculating income tax. This increases the tax rate in retrospect.
Corona bonus not tax-relevant
In contrast, a corona bonus that employees received during the pandemic does not cause any taxes or duties. This can also be paid by March 2022 at the latest and must not exceed a total of 1500 euros. It can be paid out in several parts. This premium does not have to be stated in the tax return.
The child bonus of 300 euros that families received last year for every child for which they are entitled to child benefit can, however, have tax consequences. Child benefit or corresponding exemptions are offset against the child bonus by the tax office. The bottom line is that the child bonus can then be used up again, especially with higher incomes.
Check the tax assessment carefully
Anyone who volunteered as a vaccination helper during the pandemic will benefit from tax relief. According to a special regulation decided by the federal and state governments, the volunteers can use an allowance of 3000 euros, which also applies to trainers in sports clubs, for example.
Experts recommend not only to be particularly careful with the tax return for the Corona year 2020: You should also look carefully when checking the tax assessment. Some regulations are also uncharted territory for the tax authorities. Objection to a decision must be lodged within one month. If there is an error in the decision in favor of the taxpayer, the taxpayer does not have to report it.