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Source: BUS Sachsen-Anhalt (Linie6PLus)

Apply for a change in tax class for the electronic wage tax deduction characteristics when leaving the church


If you leave a tax-collecting religious community, the obligation to pay church tax as a supplement to income or wage tax (Lohnkirchensteuer) does not apply according to the church tax laws of the Länder. Therefore, the employer no longer has to withhold the church tax from the employee's wages in addition to the wage tax and pay it to the tax office for each wage payment. The corresponding procedure for eliminating the deduction of wage church tax is largely automated. As a rule, you therefore do not have to do anything else after you have declared your withdrawal to discharge your obligation to pay church tax.

How and at which point the withdrawal from the church is to be declared is regulated differently under state law. 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.

  • Declaration of withdrawal from the church to the competent authority under the respective state law

You do not have to submit any documents.

Whether and to what extent fees are incurred for withdrawal depends on the fee schedules of the competent authority in the respective federal state. The tax authorities do not charge any fees.

Registration office

They make a declaration of withdrawal from the church to the competent authority under Land law.

  • This office informs the respective registration authority, which in turn transmits the withdrawal and the date of withdrawal to the tax authorities.
  • Therefore, no application or information is required to the tax office.

Federal Ministry of Finance

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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