This tool calculates your German net income, after taxes and social contributions. It's your take-home salary, the money you keep every month.

The taxes you pay in Germany

All German residents must pay taxes in Germany.

If you earn the median income, you keep around 65% of your gross income. Around 35% of your income goes to taxes and social contributions. If you earn more money, you keep a smaller part of your gross income.

If you are an employee, your employer collects taxes directly from your paycheck. If you are self-employed, you pay taxes by bank transfer or direct debit.

Income tax

Income tax (Einkommensteuer) is a percentage of your income. It's a progressive tax: if you earn more, you pay a bigger percentage of your income.

If you earn less than 10,347€ per year, you don't pay income tax. The median income tax rate is around 18%. The maximum income tax rate is 45%1.

The income tax formula depends on your tax class, and on how much you earn.

Health insurance

All German residents must have health insurance (Krankenversicherung). Health insurance pays for your healthcare when you are sick.

There are three types of health insurance:

If you are an employee, your employer pays half of it. If you earn less than 470€ per month, you can use your parents' or spouse's health insurance for free. Students get a cheaper tariff.

How to choose health insurance ➞

Nursing care insurance

Nursing care insurance (Pflegeversicherung) pays for your healthcare when you are old. It costs 3.05% of your income. If you are over 22 years old, and you don't have children, it costs 3.4% of your income.

If you are an employee, your employer pays half of it.

Public pension insurance

All employees must pay into the public pension system. It costs 18.6% of your income.

If you are an employee, your employer pays half of it, so you pay 9.3%.

If you are self-employed, public pension insurance is usually optional. If you don't pay public pension insurance, you must make your own retirement plans.

Unemployment insurance

Unemployment insurance (Arbeitslosenversicherung) pays a percentage of your salary if you lose your job.

It costs 1.2% of your income.

Unemployment insurance calculator ➞

Church tax

If you are a member of certain churches, you pay a church tax. It's a percentage of your income tax.

If you live in Baden-Württemberg or Bavaria, it costs 8% of your income tax. In other states it costs 9% of your income tax.

You stop paying church tax by leaving the church.

Solidarity surcharge

If you pay more than 16,956€ per year in income tax, you must pay a solidarity surcharge (Solidaritätszuschlag). It's a percentage of your income tax.

German tax calculator ➞

Tax classes

There are 6 different tax classes. Your tax class affects how your salary tax is calculated. You can change your tax class online with Elster.

If you are self-employed, you might not have a tax class, because you don't need to calculate your salary tax1.

Tax class 1

If you are not married, and you are not in any other tax class.

Tax class 2

If you are not married, and you raise children alone. You get more tax benefits.

Tax class 3

If you are married, and you earn more than your spouse. If you are in tax class 3, your spouse is in tax class 5.

Tax class 4

If you are married, and you and your spouse have similar incomes. If you are in tax class 4, your spouse is also in tax class 4.

Tax class 5

If you are married, and you earn less than your spouse. If you are in tax class 5, your spouse is in tax class 3.

Tax class 6

This is the tax class for a second job. If you don't have a tax ID, your employer might put you in tax class 6.

You have no tax benefits, and you pay more income tax.

How to pay less taxes in Germany

There are a few ways to pay less taxes. It depends on your situation.

  • Contribute to a pension plan. Your pension contributions are tax-deductible. Later, you will pay taxes on your pension income, but your income will be lower, so you will pay less taxes. It's a form of tax deferral.
  • Declare your tax-deductible expenses. It makes your taxable income lower, so you pay less taxes. Tax software and tax advisors can help you find deductible expenses.
  • Get married. Couples with a big income difference pay less taxes if they are married.

Need help?

A tax advisor can answer your questions and help you file your German taxes correctly.

English-speaking tax advisors in Berlin ➞