Tax classes in Germany explained

Employees are classified into various tax categories (Lohnsteuerklasse) depending upon your Family status.

  • Tax class 1 – Single, Widow, Divorced/Separated.
  • Tax class 2 – Single Parent.
  • Tax class 3 – Married (partner with higher Income).
  • Tax class 4 – Married (Both partner with similar Income).
  • Tax class 5 – Married (partner with lower Income).
  • Tax class 6 – Second Job.

Eazyleben Tips

  1. If you are married and your partner lives outside Germany, you are considered as single (Tax class 1) by Finanzamt.
  2. As blue card Holder, you can invite your spouse on a dependant visa. When your spouse registers in Germany, you can switch to Tax class 3 and claim for tax refund for the prior months of the current year. For eg. If your spouse reaches in November this year and you have been switched to tax class 3 in December, then you can claim tax refund for the period of January till November as you were billed with tax class 1.
  3. If both of the married partner are working, then you can decide upon between Tax class combination 3/5, with 3 for higher earner or tax combination 4/4 if both have equivalent Income. Find the Ideal tax class combination for married working couple here.
Know more: Tax deadline in Germany
Read Here: Am I obliged to Declare tax for last year
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3 thoughts on “Tax classes in Germany explained

  1. Hi, thanks for the website it is very clear.
    I would have a quick question: I am working but my wife is not working and does not have income at the moment. What tax class would therefore apply to me? The single parent one Tax Class 2 or 5?
    Thanks a lot

    1. Hallo,

      Thanks for your kind words.
      For couples, it’s better to register higher earning part as Tax class III and other as tax class V. In your case, you can save more money by registering yourself as under tax class III.

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