German tax deadline extended due to Covid pandemic

Due to the ongoing strains caused by the Covid-19 crisis, the German government has extended the deadline on self-submitted tax returns by three months.

German tax deadline extended due to Covid pandemic
Due to Covid, many people will now have until June 2022 to submit their tax returns. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Christin Klose

Instead of facing a rapidly approaching deadline of July 31st, people who choose to fill in and submit their own tax returns will now have until October 31st 2021 to get their paperwork off to the tax office.

Meanwhile, people who opt to enlist the help of a tax advisor will be given until May 31st next year to sort out their 2020 tax returns, as opposed to December 31st.

Those who owe tax money to the state will also be given an additional three months to pay back the money before facing interest charges. 

According to the Bundesrat, who agreed on the extension in June, the extension is intended to offer some breathing room for citizens and tax advisors who are facing additional pressures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The rules and deadlines for filing German taxes in 2021

Earlier this year, tax advisors were given an additional two-month grace period to submit their clients’ 2019 tax returns, meaning that the forms had to reach the tax office by February 28th 2021, rather than December 31st 2020.

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Germany and France extend Covid tax breaks for cross-border workers

Germany and France have agreed to extend the relaxation of tax rules for cross-border workers until the end of the year.

Cross-border workers commute by car but they can for now continue to work at home
Cross-border workers usually have to commute but can for now continue to work at home.. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

The agreements between France and the governments of Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland and Italy avoids double taxation issues for anyone travelling across the French border to or from those countries in order to work.

During the pandemic, tax rules were eased to allow French cross-border employees, like their counterparts in Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland and Italy, to work from home without having to change their tax status.

The deals, which were established at the beginning of the health crisis in March 2020, were due to end on September 30th – and would have plunged cross-border workers still working from home because of the health crisis into renewed uncertainty over their taxes.

The latest extension of these agreements means there’s no confusion over where a cross-border worker pays their taxes until December 31st – for example cross-border workers who work in Geneva but live in France, who normally pay their taxes and social security contributions in Switzerland. 

Under normal circumstances, anyone living in France who works in Switzerland can spend no more than 25 percent of their time working from home. If they exceed this time limit, they would have to pay these tax charges tin France rather than in Switzerland, which would be much higher.

The agreements between France and Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and Switzerland “provide that days worked at home because of the recommendations and health instructions related to the Covid-19 pandemic may … be considered as days worked in the state where [workers] usually carry out their activity and therefore remain taxable,” according to the statement from the French Employment Ministry.

In the case of Luxembourg, days worked from home because of the health crisis are not counted in usual the 29 day limit.