What is Income Credit or Debit

The tax assessment - do you still have to do something with it?

After the tax office has processed your tax return, it will send you a tax assessment. Very few people read their tax assessment from cover to cover: The only thing that matters is whether the bottom line is what you have calculated in terms of reimbursement or additional payment - right? But what if there is a completely different amount and in the worst case you have to pay a lot of taxes instead of the expected refund?

The tax assessment shows which of your specified costs have been taken into account (i.e. you have saved taxes) and how much taxes you will have to pay for one year. At the same time, the solidarity surcharge is set and, if applicable, the church tax. Interest, late payment or late payment surcharges are also mentioned in the tax assessment.

In this post you will read everything you need to know about the tax assessment:

Which deadlines apply, why you can receive several notifications in one letter, large checklist for examining tax assessment notices

As soon as you receive your tax assessment, a period begins: You now have one month to respond to the tax assessment. That is not much! Because within this objection period you not only have to check the tax assessment, but also lodge an objection if the tax assessment differs from your tax return and you want to have it corrected. After a month it's over, after that nothing works.

Before you get down to the nitty-gritty and compare the numbers from the tax assessment with those in your tax return, you should do the following:

Step 1: Compare the final result in the tax assessment with your calculation.

If you get a tax refund, do you get the amount you expected? Do you have to pay the amount that you have calculated for an additional tax payment?

If so, the tax office has probably done everything as you requested in the tax return.

Nevertheless, you should check the individual values ​​- for two reasons: On the one hand, the tax office may have recognized certain costs, but will only want to do this in the next year under certain conditions. On the other hand, some amounts in the tax assessment form the basis for certain services. That is why they have to be right, otherwise the benefits may be lower or even cease to exist.

If the final result in the tax assessment does not match your calculation, the tax office has probably deleted something. Then compare all the individual values ​​using this → checklist. In the event of discrepancies, you can appeal.

Step 2: Read the information and explanations in the tax assessment.

If the tax office has changed something or has not recognized expenses, you will find the relevant comments from the clerk in the explanations of the tax assessment. If the change is not justified from your point of view, you can appeal.

Sometimes, however, the explanations to the tax assessment are of no help and a discrepancy is not understandable even after checking the individual values. Then you should also lodge an objection and have the tax office explain the difference to you.

When you hold your tax assessment in your hands, in most cases it is not just a single assessment, but actually several assessments in one letter: For example, to the right of your address. That's at least two notices, one for income tax and one for the solidarity surcharge. In addition, notices about church tax, loss assessment, Riester pension, employee savings allowance, advance payments, etc. can come. The individual notices are also named.

This is important because you can appeal each determination separately. If, for example, the decision on income tax is incorrect and needs to be changed, the subsequent calculations such as church tax, solidarity surcharge, etc. are also incorrect and must also be changed. In this case, however, it is sufficient to file an objection to the income tax assessment.

If you only disagree with the setting of advance payments, you can only appeal against them. The other stipulations remain unaffected. The same applies to all other stipulations.

For the sake of simplicity, we still only speak of the tax assessment, which refers to the entire paper.

There are more exciting texts than the tax assessment, that much is certain. Nevertheless, you should read it very carefully - even if it is difficult and looks like a lot of work. This → checklist will help you.

Not all of the points on the checklist apply to you. As a 25-year-old single and childless employee, for example, you can ignore the statements on the pension, the old-age relief amount and the tax advantages for parents.

How to appeal against the tax assessment, the difference between open, definitive and provisional tax assessments

In Chapter 1 we have already mentioned in various places that you can appeal against a tax assessment. There are various regulations on the form and deadline for this.

An objection must be submitted in writing within one month of receipt of the tax assessment. If the deadline ends on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday, it is extended to the next working day.

The objection is initially effective without giving reasons, but the reason must then be submitted later. You can find various free sample letters → here.

An objection does not cost anything. However, the tax office may reject your objection. Then you have to consider whether it is worth going to court. There are then fees.

If you have forgotten information, the tax office has refused something wrongly or without justification or you did not know about a tax advantage, you should file an objection. Even with older tax assessments, there is sometimes still something to be saved.

How you have to proceed depends on whether your tax assessment is or not.

As long as your tax assessment is not final, it is. A change to your advantage is then still easy and unproblematic.

In the three following cases, a tax assessment is not yet final and a change is unproblematic:

  • You recently received the tax assessment: If you file an objection within one month of receiving the tax assessment, the tax assessment can still be changed in every point.

  • The tax assessment is provisional: Such a tax assessment remains open on very specific points. In all other points, the tax assessment is final after the objection period has expired. You can find out what these are in the explanations to the tax assessment. As long as individual points are provisional, it is still possible to change the tax assessment in these provisional points even after many years.

  • The tax assessment is subject to review: Such a tax assessment is not final in any single point - even if the objection period has long expired. A change is possible at any time without restrictions or obstacles - as long as the reservation exists. You just have to pay attention to the following: After this period, the reservation of the re-examination is no longer applicable, the tax assessment can then no longer be corrected.

A tax assessment is final if

  • the objection period of one month has passed,

  • You have not filed an objection and

  • the tax assessment is not provisional and is not subject to review.

Once the tax assessment is final, it can only be changed under very specific conditions. For reasons of legal certainty, changing a final tax assessment should be the exception rather than the rule.

If you are thinking of taking action against a definitive tax assessment, you should contact a specialist, for example a tax advisor or an income tax aid association.

Sometimes the tax office cannot clarify all the ambiguities before issuing a tax assessment. So that taxpayers do not have to wait months or even years for their tax assessment in such cases, the tax office may issue a provisional tax assessment.

A tax assessment can be issued provisionally if

  • It is uncertain whether and when contracts with other states on taxation that have an effect in favor of the taxpayer will take effect for tax assessment,

  • the Federal Constitutional Court has ruled that a tax law is incompatible with the Basic Law and the legislature is obliged to revise it,

  • the compatibility of a tax law with higher-ranking law is the subject of proceedings at the Court of Justice of the European Communities, the Federal Constitutional Court or a supreme federal court, or

  • the interpretation of a tax law is the subject of proceedings at the Federal Fiscal Court.

Due to the provisional tax assessment in individual points, your legal claims are preserved without you having to lodge an objection:

  • If the court decides positively, for example that certain costs must be recognized, the tax assessment will automatically be changed by the tax office in your favor.

  • If the court's decision is negative and, for example, a provision is declared constitutional, the original tax assessment remains.

The provisionality does not affect the entire tax assessment, but only one or several individual points. The tax assessment therefore only remains open on these points. Only these points can be changed later. Nothing else anymore.

Deadline for back payment of taxes, how do I give the tax office its money

The tax assessment shows how much tax you will ultimately have to pay for a year. Taxes paid during the year, such as wage tax and income tax prepayments, are offset by the tax office against the tax liability. The difference between the final tax payable and the advance payment is the tax refund or back tax payment.

If you have to pay additional taxes, you have a month to do so. This payment period begins with the notification of the tax assessment.

Just look in your tax assessment, there you will find the date by when you have to pay your taxes at the latest.

The additional payment is also due if you file an objection. Only if you have successfully submitted an application for → suspension of enforcement because of the disputed amount, you do not have to pay the tax back payment for the time being. The same applies to an application for deferral of payment and an application for tax exemption (more on this below).

If you get a tax refund, you don't have to wait a month for it - the tax office transfers the money pretty quickly after sending you the tax assessment.

A payment to the tax office is deemed to have been made

  • in the case of bank transfer or payment at the bank or post office counter: on the day of the credit entry into the account of the finance office;

  • when handing over cash: on the day of the deposit at the treasury;

  • when sending a check: only three days after receipt of the check by the tax office;

  • with a direct debit authorization: on the day the tax liability is due.

If you have to pay additional taxes, please do so in good time: If you have not yet paid by the due date, there is a risk of late payment as a penalty. For each commenced month it amounts to 1% of the rounded tax amount divisible by 50 €.


The tax back payment amounts to € 780, rounded down to € 750, and is due on August 15. You pay on September 25th For the period from 16.8.-25.9. the tax office demands a late payment surcharge. This is € 15 (= 2% of € 750).

Fortunately, short delays are not penalized: The grace period for payment protects you from the consequences of default if the payment is made too late for a short time. This grace period is three days - and only applies to transfers! There is no grace period for cash deposits at the treasury or payment by check.

When is it possible to pay in installments at the tax office? If you need a valid reason, taxes can also be waived entirely

If you want to pay your tax debt later, you can submit an application to the tax office. means that the due date will be postponed. So you only pay later and, for example, in installments.

If possible, you should apply for a deferral before the payment is due.

Condition for a deferral: The punctual tax payment is one for you, you would get into serious and unavoidable payment difficulties. You must tell the tax office your reasons for requesting a deferral:

  • Give your personal reasons: sudden unemployment, illness, natural disaster (e.g. flood).

  • Explain your payment bottleneck: What is your current and expected future income and expenditure?

The tax office is not obliged to accept your application for deferral! Usually the tax office is not petty with otherwise punctual taxpayers, smaller amounts and only short desired deferral periods.

It is best to make suggestions for payment in your application for deferral, for example that you can pay part of the amount immediately and the rest in three equal installments on certain dates.

As long as there is a deferred period, no late payment penalties can arise. If you simply do not pay by the due date, the tax office will also charge late payment surcharges. In addition, interest is always due in the event of a deferral.

If that's paying taxes, the tax office can set the tax liability lower or even waive taxes entirely.

In practice, however, this rarely happens: The tax payment would have to destroy or seriously endanger your economic or personal existence. The tax office decides on a case-by-case basis whether there is a risk of this.