Determination of electronic income tax deduction items (ELStAM), change of tax class after marriage

Employees are assigned a tax classes for the purpose of income tax deduction. If the marital status changes, the change to a different tax class may be considered.

The registration office automatically transmits the changed marital status ("married"), the date of marriage and the tax IDs of both spouses to the tax office. As a result, if both spouses reside in Germany, they automatically get assigned tax class combination IV/IV in the electronic income tax deduction items (ELStAM), with effect from the date of marriage. The primary employers are thus notified of the tax class IV as ELStAM for retrieval. You will be assigned tax class IV (and not III), even if only one of you earns an income.

As a rule, you only need to take action if, from your point of view, another tax class (e.g. III) or tax class combination (III/V or IV/IV with factor) should be applied instead of the automatically created tax class combination IV/IV.

Attention: If you get assigned the tax class combinations III/V or IV/IV with factor or tax class III due to a spouse living abroad – but in a member state of the European Economic Area or in Switzerland – you are obliged to file an income tax return.

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Service details

Detailed information

  • Lohnsteuer
    Sächsisches Staatsministerium der Finanzen

Procedure

In order to have the tax class changed, the spouses must apply for this jointly at the tax office.

  • Submit the application and the other required documents in person or in writing to the tax office. The application must be signed by both of you.
  • If you submit the application in person, it will usually be processed immediately.
  • 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 on the application form. You can also check your own ELStAM after registering free of charge at "ELSTER: Ihr Online-Finanzamt" (www.elster.de).
Note: Please note that a change can only be made after the registration office has electronically transmitted the marriage date to the tax office.

Required documents

  • Proof of identity (ID card or passport), if applying in person.
  • As a rule, an informal application is sufficient. In addition to personal data (name and address), please also state your respective tax ID and tax number. However, you can also use the form "Antrag auf Steuerklassenwechsel bei Ehegatten/Lebenspartnern" (application for change of tax class for spouses/ civil partners) - this is particularly advisable if you apply for the tax class combination IV/IV with factor (the details requested in the form are required for determining the factor).
  • If you want to apply for tax class III due to a spouse living abroad (EU/EEA member states): completed forms "Anträge zu den elektronischen Lohnsteuerabzugsmerkmalen – ELStAM" (applications for the electronic income tax deduction items - ELStAM" and, if applicable, "Anlage Grenzpendler EU/EWR" (attachment for cross-border commuters within the EU/EEA).

Deadlines

Application deadline: November 30 of the year for which the tax class is to apply

Legal basis

  • § 38b Einkommensteuergesetz (EStG) – Lohnsteuerklassen
  • § 39 Einkommensteuergesetz (EStG) – Lohnsteuerabzugsmerkmale
  • § 39f Einkommensteuergesetz (EStG) – Faktorverfahren anstelle Steuerklassenkombination III / V

Release note

Saxon State Ministry of Finance. 14.01.2020