Tax benefits for spouses

In Germany, spouses may apply to be assessed jointly. Under such joint assessment, spouses may benefit from a tax-reducing effect, as opposed to as if the couple had filed individual income tax returns. The tax benefit results from the fact that the net incomes accruing to each spouse are aggregated and the couple is treated as a single taxpayer. This requires both spouses to be subject to unlimited income tax liability and not permanently separated.

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I am a UK citizen and I plan to live and work in Frankfurt ….
… My spouse and my children will stay in the UK. Can I opt for joint assessment in Germany?
… My spouse and my children will join me or will join me at a later date. Can I opt to file a joint tax return with my spouse in Germany?

I am a UK citizen and I plan to live and work in Frankfurt ….

… My spouse and my children will stay in the UK. Can I opt for joint assessment in Germany?

Yes ‒ at the moment. In this case, you may elect to be assessed jointly if you are a citizen of an EU member state or a country coming under the scope of the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA). Once the UK, due to its intention to leave the European Union, is neither a member state of the EU nor a contracting state to the EEA, joint assessment pursuant to section 1a subsection (1) number 2 of the Income Tax Act will no longer be possible.

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… My spouse and my children will join me or will join me at a later date. Can I opt to file a joint tax return with my spouse in Germany?

Yes ‒ as soon as your spouse starts living in Germany and you are not permanently separated. During the period starting from your relocation until your spouse’s relocation, joint assessment in Germany will be possible, as long as the UK is a member state of the EU or a contracting state to the European Economic Area (EEA) (see above).

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