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Source: BUS Sachsen-Anhalt (Linie6PLus)

Apply to change the tax class for the electronic wage tax deduction features when joining the church


If you join or re-join a tax-collecting religious community, you must pay church tax in accordance with the church tax laws of the federal states, as a surcharge on your income or wage tax (wage church tax). The employer must therefore withhold not only income tax but also church tax from the employee's wages and pay it to the tax office each time wages are paid. The corresponding procedure for deducting church tax is largely automated. You therefore generally do not have to do anything else to meet your church tax obligations once you have declared your employment.

The religious communities themselves regulate how and with which office the church membership is to be declared. Church affiliation is recorded by the registration authorities of the federal states and can only be changed by them. The tax authorities have no influence on this. This is important, for example, if the authorities have incorrect data.

The registration authorities inform the Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt) of any changes in church affiliation and the corresponding date. The BZSt stores the electronic wage tax deduction features (ELStAM) in a database. The stored data also includes features for the deduction of church tax.

The BZSt makes the ELStAM available to the employer for automated retrieval free of charge. The ELStAM is decisive for the withholding of church tax by the employer in the tax deduction procedure, i.e. the employer is bound by it and does not need to check the question of church tax liability.

  • personal declaration of joining or re-joining the church to the religious community
  • the individual requirements depend on the respective religious community

You do not need to submit any documents.

There are no costs for you.

When joining or re-joining a religious community, the change in the church tax deduction feature becomes effective for tax purposes on the 1st of the month following the month of joining.
Example: If you join the church on July 4, this will take effect for tax purposes on August 1.

Residents' Registration Office

  • Personal appearance required: no

You submit the declaration of entry or re-entry to the respective religious community.

  • The religious community informs the relevant registration office. The information is stored there and forwarded to the Federal Central Tax Office.
  • The Federal Central Tax Office informs the tax offices.
  • No application or notification to the tax office is required, as the data is forwarded to the employer by the registration authorities via the Federal Central Tax Office.

Federal Ministry of Finance

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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