Determination of electronic income tax deduction items (ELStAM), consideration of tax allowances for children aged 18 and over

If certain requirements are met, you can apply for the consideration of tax allowances for adult children in the so called electronic income tax deduction items (ELStAM), which will be entered into the database of the tax office.

Upon request, the tax office will take allowances into account for children aged 18 and over.

For underage children, the ELStAM entry is made automatically.

Tip: The tax office can take child allowances into account for several years. For example, children who have reached the age of 18 can be taken into account for the entire duration of their vocational training.

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Service details

Prerequisite

The entry in the electronic income tax deduction items (ELStAM) is possible for:

  • Natural and adopted children of the taxpayer
  • Foster children

For tax purposes, children are considered foster children when they have a family-like, long-term relationship with their foster parents and live in their household. A custodial and foster relationship with the natural parents must no longer exist and the foster parents must not have taken in the child for any gainful purposes.

Requirements for children aged 18 or over

For adult children, tax allowances are only taken into account if certain requirements are met:

  • For children between the ages of 18 and 21, tax allowances are possible if
    • the child is without employment or only has a so called Minijob (maximum monthly wage: EUR 450), and
    • is registered as a job seeker with the Federal Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit).
  • For children between the ages of 18 and 25, tax allowances are possible if the child
    • is undergoing vocational training,
    • is in a transitional period of less than four months between two periods of training or between a period of training and the performance of a voluntary service,
    • is performing one of the following officially recognized voluntary services: Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr, Freiwilliges Ökologisches Jahr, Europäischer Freiwilligendienst, Entwicklungspolitischer Freiwilligendienst, Freiwilligendienst aller Generationen, Internationaler Jugendfreiwilligendienst, Bundesfreiwilligendienst,
    • is unable to start or continue vocational training due to a lack of training places.

The amount of the child's own income and earnings is not relevant in these cases. However, after they have completed their first vocational training or achieved their first university degree, children between the ages of 18 and 25 are only considered for tax purposes if they do not regularly pursue gainful employment for more than 20 hours a week. Vocational training or a Minijob are not harmful, though.

Note: If children are unable to support themselves due to a physical, mental or psychological disability, the tax allowances for children are generally granted without any age limit if the child incurred the disability before the age of 25. (Exception: An age limit of 27 applies for children who incurred such a disability prior to January 1, 2007).

Procedure

  • Complete the form "Antrag auf Lohnsteuer-Ermäßigung" (See “Online application and forms”) and the attachment "Kinder". Submit this and the required documents to the responsible tax office.
  • Your employer will be notified of the amended ELStAM and their validity via the electronic retrieval procedure.

If you wish to receive a printout of your ELStAM, please indicate this in the checkbox on the first page of the main form "Antrag auf Lohnsteuer-Ermäßigung". You can also check your own ELStAM after registering free of charge at "ELSTER: Ihr Online-Finanzamt" (www.elster.de).

Attention! You are required to notify the tax office if the requirements for the child tax allowance of the adult child have ceased to apply, so that the tax office can change the number of child allowances accordingly.

Required documents

  • Antrag auf Lohnsteuer-Ermäßigung (See "Online application and forms")
  • Proof regarding the requirements (for example, a certificate of school attendance or vocational training)
  • For foster children: proof of the foster relationship

Deadlines

Application for income tax reduction (Antrag auf Lohnsteuer-Ermäßigung):

  • If the child tax allowance is to apply for the following year: from October 1
  • For the current year: no later than November 30

Legal basis

  • § 31 Einkommensteuergesetz (EStG) – Familienleistungsausgleich
  • § 32 Einkommensteuergesetz (EStG) – Kinder, Freibeträge für Kinder
  • § 38b Einkommensteuergesetz (EStG) – Lohnsteuerklassen, Zahl der Kinderfreibeträge
  • § 39 Einkommensteuergesetz (EStG) – Lohnsteuerabzugsmerkmale
  • § 39a Einkommensteuergesetz (EStG) – Freibetrag und Hinzurechnungsbetrag
  • § 39e Einkommensteuergesetz (EStG) – Verfahren zur Bildung und Anwendung der elektronischen Lohnsteuerabzugsmerkmale

Release note

Saxon State Ministry of Finance. 14.01.2020