This webpage only provides you with a general overview of tax regulations in Germany. Please consult the Guide for International Researchers for more detailed information.
Research visit funded by a fellowship
If your research visit will be funded by a fellowship you may, under certain circumstances, be exempt from tax under the German Income Tax Act (Einkommenssteuergesetz). However, it is definitely worth consulting the organisation that has awarded the fellowship to enquire about this. You should also find out whether the fellowship paid in Germany is subject to tax in your home country.
Research visit with an employment contract
If you have an employment contract for your research visit to Germany and will be staying for longer than six months, you will effectively be liable to pay tax in Germany on your globally-earned income and assets.
Double Taxation Agreements
Double taxation agreements have been signed with many countries to avoid you being liable to pay tax in both Germany and your home country. These agreements determine which country you have a pay tax in.
You can apply to the tax office in your area of residence for an income tax adjustment (“Lohnsteuerausgleich”) at the end of each calendar year, and you may be entitled to a partial tax refund if you have paid too much. The necessary documents can be obtained from the local tax office (“Finanzamt”) or town hall (“Rathaus”).
An unusual feature of taxation in Germany is the state-collected church tax (“Kirchensteuer”). In certain circumstances, religious communities have the possibility to have the tax office collect church tax for them. In the case of the major churches, church tax (roughly 9% of income tax) is collected by the state along with payroll tax and it is automatically deducted from your monthly wages. This is why you are asked to state your religion when you register at the Resident Registration Office.
Guide for International Researchers. Chapter 9:Concerning taxation in Germany. Read more here (page 118) (332.5 kB)
Source: passages taken from EURAXESS, partly translated by: Dr. Lynda Lich-Knight, ResearchComm Ltd.