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Source: BUS Sachsen-Anhalt (Linie6PLus)

Apply for a change in tax class when entering the church for the electronic income tax deduction characteristics


If you join or rejoin a tax-collecting religious community, you must pay church tax according to the church tax laws of the Länder, as a supplement to income or wage tax (Lohnkirchensteuer). The employer must therefore withhold not only the wage tax, but regularly also the church tax from the employee's wages and pay it to the tax office. The corresponding procedure for the deduction of wage church tax is largely automated. As a rule, you therefore do not have to do anything else to comply with your church tax obligations after you have declared your entry.

How and at what point the church entry is to be explained is regulated by the religious communities themselves. Church membership is recorded by the registration authorities of the Länder 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 changes in church membership and the corresponding date. The BZSt stores the electronic wage tax deduction characteristics (ELStAM) in a database. The stored data also includes characteristics for church tax deduction.

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

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

You do not have to submit any documents.

There are no costs for you.

When entering or re-entering a religious community, the change in the church tax deduction feature becomes effective for tax purposes on the 1st of the month following the entry.
Example: If you enter the church on 4.7., this will be tax-effective on 1.8.

Registration office
  • Forms: no
  • Online procedure possible: no
  • Written form required: no
  • Personal appearance required: no

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

  • The religious community informs the competent registration authority. 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 information is required vis-à-vis the tax office, 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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