Stay in Germany with a scholarship
Staying in Germany with a scholarship is generally tax free. For example, if you receive a scholarship from the DAAD or Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, your scholarship is tax free. If you are unsure, you can ask the Welcome Centre if you will need to pay taxes for your scholarship.
Stay in Germany with an employment contract
If you work at BTU for more than half a year, you will be taxed in Germany according to your worldwide income and assets for the calendar year. If you stay for less than half a year, your salary in your home country will be taxed. Some countries have an agreement that university lecturers and researchers who come to Germany for a maximum of two years to research at a public research institution can pay taxes in their home country.
The income tax is deducted directly from your salary and paid by your employer (BTU) directly to the state. The amount of your income tax depends on income, family status and tax class, and increases progressively with an increase in income.
When you register with the City Administration Office, you will be asked if you are a member of a Catholic or Protestant church. This data is then sent to the tax office and your employer will deduct the church tax from your salary. In Cottbus/Senftenberg (federal state of Brandenburg), the church tax is 8% of your income tax.
To prevent foreigners from being taxed simultaneously in Germany and their home country, there is a double taxation treaty (Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen) that exists with many countries. This agreement regulates in which country your taxes must be paid.
In Germany, not everyone is obligated to file an income tax declaration. Sometimes it is worth it because a portion of the money that you paid in taxes may be returned. German tax law is very complicated and comprehensive. For this reason, the Welcome Centre can only explain very basic questions related to your income tax. However, we can help you to find a tax consultant who will file an income tax declaration for you.
Tax identification number
A tax identification number is required for all matters related to taxes and tax authority. After registering with the City Administration Office, you will automatically receive a letter 1-3 weeks later by mail, which contains your personal 11-digit tax identification number. This number remains the same for your entire life and will not change, even if you move.
If you have an employment contract with BTU, you must give the personnel department your tax identification number.