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Changing your address at Finanzamt: Miniscule details that can potentially affect you

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So you’ve finally moved? The boxes are unpacked, the move is over – ahhh, what about Finanzamt? but how does the tax authorities find out about it? Do you have to inform the Finanzamt about the change of address? 

While it’s true that you don’t have to inform Finazamt that you have moved, it is a good idea to do so! If you do not notify the Finazamt of the re-registration yourself, you risk unpleasant situations with your next tax return. It doesn’t have to be.

When do you have to report the move to Finanzamt? (tax office)

Whether you have to report the move to Finanzamt depends on whether the responsible Finanzamt changes with the change of residence:

  • If the authority remains the same, you do not have to enter your new address. Your change of address will be automatically registered with Finanzamt when you submit your next tax return.
  • If you come under the responsibility of another Finanzamt after moving, you should inform your old Finanzamt about the change of residence.

NOTE: The change of address at the Finanzamt is not subject to a time limit – unlike e.g. the registration of residence. Nevertheless, quick processing has its advantages. You could always have the post office forward your mail until you have changed the address with Finanzamt.

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In which cases does the responsible Finanzamt change?

After moving, the big question arises for you, whether the responsible Finanzamt has changed? 

1. Moving to a different part of town in the same municipality

You are moving to a different part of town in the same place or just to a different street. In rural areas, the tax office remains the same – unless you move to a different administrative municipality. Nothing will change for you in small and medium-sized towns. There is usually only one tax authority here – The responsible Finanzamt stays the same

2. Moving to a different part of town in another district

You are moving to a completely different part of the city in a large city with several districts, e.g. from the extreme east to the extreme west. Which tax office will be responsible for you after the move? There may be several tax authorities. Ideally, ask the office directly whether you fall within their area of ​​responsibility – The responsible Finanzamt may change.

TIP: You can find out this information when you change your registration at the registration office. It doesn’t cost anything to ask.

3. Moving to another city

You are moving to another city or community – This means that the responsible tax office will change after your move.

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Special cases for business owners and those moving abroad for short periods of time

Special case: You are moving a business

If you are a (small) entrepreneur and move, you should inform the tax office of your new address as a precaution. 

Finanzamt regularly sends you letters regarding new regulations. In case they cannot contact you, they will contact the registration office. They will get your new address there, but will have to pay an information fee for it. They will then charge you for this cost.

NOTE: If you move for professional reasons, you can deduct part of the moving costs from tax.

Special case: you are moving abroad

You should notify Finanzamt of any move abroad as a precaution. Otherwise misunderstandings can arise when filing a tax return. When you change your place of residence, things may change for you and the tax office.

Describe your exact relocation plans to a tax relief association or tax advisor. Here you will find extensive information on the various legal bases and which taxation is provided. That changes from case to case.


What happens if Finanzamt doesn’t know your address

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If you do not register with your old tax office after moving to another administrative district, this can become a problem at the latest when filing your tax return: If you simply hand the documents over to your new tax office, the old office will not know anything about it. It will then try to send you letters. But if they can’t be delivered, nothing happens at first … The tax office will only try to contact you when the first reminders are due.

If the reminders are sent back to the office as undeliverable, important deadlines for submitting the tax return may expire. Then there is a risk of late payment surcharges or a tax assessment – and that often becomes really expensive. As soon as you owe the tax office money, the authority will find out your place of residence at the residents’ registration office. This can result in additional costs.

So you’d better take care of re-registering with the tax office yourself. In this way, the authorities can easily reach you and remind you of your tax return free of charge.

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Tim Gumbert
Tim is the go-to guy when it comes to finding all the gems regarding life as an Expat in Germany. His whole motto is discover Germany on your own and without a roadmap, explore new routes while climbing or mountain biking.
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