Many details are available to the tax authorities electronically – as so-called e-data. They can be erroneous. To avoid financial disadvantages, it is better to check carefully.
E-data even with paper tax returns
The tax return is now supposed to be easier and faster, at least that’s how the tax authorities are advertising it. This is possible because many data are already available to the tax offices electronically, so-called e-data. Now those who make their statement on paper can also benefit from this. In the official forms, the corresponding fields are highlighted in dark green and marked with a small "e".
E-data is considered taxpayers’ own information
These fields do not need to be filled in. Employers, health insurance companies and pension funds had to send the data electronically to the tax authorities by the end of February. Which E-data there is, shows the table further down in this text. These reported data are considered to be the taxpayers’ own data. You only have to enter something here if you know that the e-data has not been transmitted at all or has been transmitted incorrectly.
E-data in the tax return – our advice
How one comes errors on the trace?
But this has its pitfalls: How do taxpayers know whether their employer or health insurance company has not made a mistake?? With a declaration on paper, they have no chance to see what data the tax office currently has. The only thing you can do is to wait for the tax assessment and then check the data.
Better off are those who use Elster – the online portal of the tax authorities – or a tax program (to test tax software). For them, the change is hardly noticeable. You transfer, as before, the electronically transmitted data into your tax return. You can check whether the E-data match your data, such as gross salary, pension amount or health insurance contributions, as soon as you create the tax return.
"In practice, there can be problems with the transmitted data," says Dominic Eser of Lohn-steuer-hilfe Bayern. "For example, if an additional pension payment that was offset against social benefits in previous years was taken into account again in the year in which the pension was first received."
Table: The most important E-data
Wage tax data including social insurance contributions
German pension insurance
- Pension payments
- Transition money
Contribution payments to health and long-term care insurance for
- Privately insured,
- Voluntarily insured persons,
- student insured
or from caregivers,
- Sick pay,
- Maternity allowance
Private pension insurance
- Pension payments,
- Contributions for Riester and Rurup pensions
Banks, building societies and co
Contributions for wealth-creating benefits
Independent. Objective. Incorruptible.
Answers to the most important questions
Which attachments contain fields that I do not have to fill in??
The fields with a green background are in the annexes N, R and Vorsorgeauand. Especially employees and pensioners are affected by the new rules. Employees do not need to transfer the values from their income tax certificate anymore. You simply leave the fields for paid income tax and social security contributions blank. Pensioners do not have to enter the pension amount or the start of the pension in Annex R.
Is my tax return complete when half completed??
If you do not fill in the e-data fields, you have nevertheless fulfilled your obligation to cooperate. The declaration is considered complete. You could submit them like this. But it is better if you can still claim tax-reducing expenses.
Do the data submitted automatically count as my information??
Yes, the data provided to the Office by the bodies required to notify you, such as employers, pension providers, insurance companies and health insurance companies, are considered to be your data.
When should I fill in the E-data fields anyway??
You should always fill them in if you want to deviate from the submitted e-data. For example, if your company car has been taxed using the 1 percent method, but you have used the logbook method. In this case, you must manually correct the over-taxed private use by reducing the annual gross amount. But also, if you know that data has been transmitted incompletely or not at all. You are free to make your own entries in the fields.
Do I have any disadvantages if I deviate from the data provided??
If you enter something in the E-data fields, the tax offices automatically trigger a check by the person in charge. Dominic Eser, head of the advisory office, says: "Either the tax office requests documents to check the discrepancies, or it overwrites the data you entered with the electronically available e-data and you have to file an objection to clarify the facts."If the data entered does not differ from the data submitted, this unnecessarily delays processing.
Can I leave fields blank in Elster or tax software??
If you file your tax return on paper, you do not need to enter the e-data. In the case of electronic declarations via the Elster tax administration portal or a tax program, you can omit the E-data as long as the information in the declaration does not contradict each other. However, if you want to carry out a tax calculation in advance, you must transfer the data to the electronic form via "Manage certificates" – the function used to be called "Retrieve document data".
Is it now sufficient to submit only the main form??
It may be that you do not have to fill in anything in an attachment because you do not have any deduction items. Then you do not have to submit an annex. The completed and signed main form is considered to be a complete return.
Does this make sense, will I get a refund at all??
It makes sense to submit only the completed main form if you have earned less than the basic tax-free amount and only want to recover the income tax paid, for example as a student for a part-time job during the semester break.
If you, as an employee, do not claim any other costs, such as for your trips to the office or for purchased work equipment, childcare or handicraft costs, you cannot expect any significant reimbursement, provided you only claim wages without any other expenses. Retirees benefit if they declare additional contributions for liability insurance in the Pension Expenses annex.
How do I know which data has been submitted??
If you use Elster or a tax program, you can use the "Manage certificates" function to transfer the transferred data to your return. You can check directly if they are correct or if e-data are missing. In the case of a paper declaration, this can only be checked in the tax assessment.
How do I check whether the information provided is correct??
Employees compare the values with their income tax statement, pensioners with their pension statement. In the case of pensions from the statutory pension insurance, the notification is sent only once at your request, then annually automatically. You apply online to have the notification sent to you for submission to the tax office (deutsche-rentenversicherung.en). Use for the comparison also the contribution notice of your health insurance and, depending upon case, also parents money notice, unemployment pay certificates or pension notices of private insurances.
I have not received any notifications. What can I do?
The German Tax Code stipulates that all bodies subject to the notification obligation must inform those affected in writing about the data transmitted. The notification can also be made electronically after approval. If you still do not have a corresponding document about the submitted data, you should call the authority or institution and ask for it to be sent to you.
Were there problems in the last years?
Yes, often when taxpayers had to give consent to the reporting of data. "Investment institutions report since 2017, for example, data on the asset-effective benefits. To do this, they sent a lot of paper to their customers. Many did not read so far that they had to give their consent to the data transfer. You then stated your VL contract in your tax return, but the tax office did not set an employee savings allowance because the electronic data was missing," reports Dagmar Gericke, head of the consulting office of Vereinigte Lohn-steuer-hilfe e. V.. In this case, those affected must clarify with the investment institution that the data is to be transferred.
What if the notification comes after my tax assessment??
If you prepare your tax return on the basis of the paper certificates and do not record a relevant fact because you and the tax office do not yet have any information or data records about it, the tax assessment can still be changed after the end of the objection period.
If Elster compares transferred data with the data reported?
No, Elster only performs a plausibility check at the end, i.e. it checks whether your data is consistent. Although Elster spits out a preliminary calculation at the end, it calculates with your over-written data. You can view a comparison in Elster only after you have received the tax assessment notice, and there you can see which data the tax office has finally used.
Who should I contact if data is missing??
If, when checking your tax assessment, you discover that e-data is incorrect or missing to your disadvantage, you can lodge an objection or request an amendment to your assessment. The wage tax certificate from your employer can be used as proof. If both the e-data and the documents differ from the correct data, first contact the authority or institution that submitted the data. If the data is then retransmitted, the tax assessment can also be corrected outside the objection period.
What if my office has not taken into account the correct data??
If it turns out that the offices have sent correct data to the tax authorities, the error lies with the tax office. It has taken the data into account incorrectly or not at all. Make an application for change according to paragraph 175 b of the tax code (AO). The office must acknowledge the change. This is possible up to the end of the assessment period – usually four years after the year of assessment.
My building society has not sent any data, what to do??
If the authority or institution has submitted incorrect or no data to the tax office, ask the office to correct the data with the tax authorities or to make up for the submission. If this is done within seven years after the year of assessment, the tax office must correct the tax assessment. If it does not do so by itself, you should file an application for change according to section 175 b AO. You have up to two years to do this after the authority sends the corrected data to the tax office. If an institution discovers that it has sent incorrect data, it must correct it at the tax office – up to seven years after the year of assessment. If there are improvements for you, the office is obligated to change your tax assessment subsequently.