All you need to know about ELStAM – Elektronische Lohnsteuer AbzugsMerkmale

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I bet many of you have heard about the ELStAM (Elektronische LohnSteuerAbzugsMerkmale), if you haven’t then read on for a summary of what you need to know about it.

This is being introduced to replace the traditional yellow paper Lohnsteuerkarte, you must have noticed that although they used to be issued annually, they haven’t issued any new ones since 2010. So instead of the usual method of the employer sending you all the calculations on paper etc, all those will now be done online. This will also help reduce the amount of time you need to get some stuff changed on your tax calculation, eg like changes in the number of kids, your marriage status etc.

What is required of you though is to check if your details are correctly saved by the system; and to do that you need to to log into your account and check the details that will be shared with your employer once they start using ELStAM, here is how to go about it: REGISTERING. To register you’ll need your Tax ID number. Make sure if your details are correct, because if you don’t when your company starts using it, you might end up earning less due to wrong tax deductions.

So what do you need to know:

  • From January 2013, you don’t need your old paper Lohnsteuerkarte anymore
  • You need to confirm your tax details before end of 2012
  • In case of changes in issues that may affect your tax deductions with the new system, these can easily be changed within the month without having to wait for end of the year.
  • The online system, offers 3 security levels: Basis (free); Spezial (€41) and Plus (Between €50 and €150 annualy) this is for those that fear online theft and aren’t as informed in discerning between real and fake sites.
  • They offer free software for both Mac and PC for you to do your tax declarations ELSTER SOFTWARE
  • Elster isn’t sending out emails asking for your Tax number, Account details etc don’t open attached files to such emails.
  • Some companies will start using it a little later, check the letter they sent you for the exact date when they will start using the ELSTER program.
  • All tax calculations will be found online and companies will no longer send out the paper Rechnungen anymore
  • If your 2010 Lohnsteuerkarte is spoilt or got lost, you can still get a replacement until end of 2013
  • Your employer will need your Steuernummer and your date of birth which can be found in your old Lohnsteuerkarte or the replacement offered by Finanzamt to register you for the online ELStAM
  • In case your details are wrongly saved in ELSTER, you should contact the Finanzamt for them to correct it, if it can’t be corrected, then the Finanzamt will issue a Bescheinigung and block your ELStAM until they can correct it, then you’d have to use the Bescheinigung instead.
  • You will need to reapply for your tax exemptions in regards to kids etc but for the disabled who had tax exemptions that were valid in 2012 won’t have to.

There are fears that the tax calculations won’t be done correctly for the first few months after they start using the new system, so I insist, log in and check if your details are saved correctly it will save you the hustle of trying to get in touch with Finanzamt to get a refund.
For more info visit their official website: ELSTER or read the FAQ

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