How much property tax do I have to pay on German rental income? (2024)

Last Updated on January 26, 2024 by Kristina Valcheva

This article was reviewed by a tax advisor.

Property tax in Germany and rental income tax

We’ve answered your questions!

Property tax rates and rental income tax in Germany are generally the same for residents and non-residents.

However, German property tax can be tricky – especially if you are not a resident of Germany or you don’t speak the language.

But don’t worry, Property Tax International‘s tax advisors (PTI Returns) are here to help!

Every day our team encounters countless questions regarding real estate tax in Germany.

We have used some of those questions to create this handy guide on everything you need to know about German property tax and rental income tax in Germany.

  • In this article:
    • What are the taxes and fees associated with buying property in Germany?
    • Notary and Land registration fees
    • Real estate agent fees in Germany
    • Property transfer tax, also known as Grunderwerbsteuer
    • Real property tax (Grundsteuer), also known as Land tax
    • Financing property fees
    • Property assessment
    • What are the additional costs for property investors in Germany?
    • What do I need to know about Capital gains tax when selling a property in Germany?
    • What is rental property income tax in Germany?
    • How is rental income taxed in Germany?
    • What are the rental income tax rates in Germany (for residents and non-residents)?
    • What expenses can be deducted from income tax in Germany?
    • I have rental earnings from my German property, what are my tax obligations?
    • What do I need to file a German income tax return?
    • When is the deadline for filing a return?
    • Can foreign property owners in Germany claim any tax allowances?
    • What happens if I don’t file my rental income tax return?
    • Have you received a letter from the German Tax Office – GTO? Contact us to help you with the submission of your tax returns!
    • Who can help me with my German rental income tax return online?

Property tax in Germany

What are the taxes and fees associated with buying property in Germany?

Below is a quick overview of the taxes, costs, and fees incurred when you buy a property in Germany (often referred to as “closing fees” or “purchase fees”). Altogether, they amount to around 8% to 15% of the purchase price.

Notary and land registration fees

When buying a property in Germany, it is necessary to sign the purchase contracts in front of a notary. The notary also records the sale in the land registry (known as Grundbuch). Typically, the cost for these services is from around 1,5% to 2% of the property’s sale price.

The cost of the land register fee depends on how much you paid for the property, and it differs from one state to another.

Real estate agent fees in Germany

If you enlisted the assistance of a real estate agent to help you find a house in Germany, you may incur charges typically ranging from 3.5% to 7% of the sale price.

It is worth noting that as of December 2020, it is a legal requirement for the seller and the buyer to divide the estate agent’s fee equally between them.

Property transfer tax in Germany (also known as Grunderwerbsteuer)

Once the purchase process is completed, you will receive an invoice from the specific federal state (Bundesland) where the property is situated, asking for payment of a property transfer tax.

The tax amount will differ based on the German region where the property is bought, ranging from 3.5% to 6.5% of the purchase price.

Here are the property transfer tax rates for different federal states in Germany:

  • Bavaria: 3.5%
  • Baden-Württemberg, Bremen, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saxony-Anhalt: 5%
  • Hamburg and Saxony: 5.5%
  • Berlin, Hesse, and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: 6%
  • Brandenburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein, and Thuringia: 6.5%

Real property tax in Germany (Grundsteuer or Land tax)

Real property tax in Germany (also called Grundsteuer, land tax or local property tax) is applied to real estate. It is a communal tax levied by the local authority in each region. Rates vary from location to location and are also based on the type of property.

Property taxes in Germany are determined by the assessed value of the property, which takes into account factors like location and size. All types of real estate, including undeveloped land, are subject to these taxes. The good news is that property tax rates in Germany are generally low, typically ranging from 0.26% to 1%.

However, the specific rate for a particular property will vary depending on the location, the type of property, and the value of the property.

The assessed value, also known as the “Einheitswert” in German, is usually lower than the market value of the property. To calculate the tax amount, the assessed value is multiplied by a location coefficient.

In former West Germany, this coefficient ranges from 2.6% to 6%, while former GDR regions have a coefficient of 5% to 10%. Finally, the resulting number is adjusted based on another coefficient specific to each state.

Fortunately, all the complex calculations lead to a favorable outcome – relatively low property tax amounts. For instance, if you own a typical apartment in Berlin, you can anticipate an annual tax payment ranging from 80 to 150 euros (approximately).

It’s important to note that this tax is calculated on an annual basis but is typically paid every three months to the local tax office, known as the Finanzamt. Keep in mind that property owners in Germany are required by law to fulfill their property tax obligations.

As of 2023, Germany is undergoing a transformation in its approach to determining local property tax rates, and these revised rates will be effective starting in 2025.

Read also:

Rental Income Tax – Ultimate Guide for Paying Tax on Rental Income in the UK

Financing property fees

If you’re planning to take out a mortgage in Germany, it’s important to be aware that the closing costs associated with the property purchase are typically not financed by banks. Instead, you’ll need to cover these costs using your funds.

For example, let’s say you’re buying a property valued at 400,000 euros. On top of the purchase price, you can expect additional fees of around 60,000 euros. It’s important to note that these fees cannot be included in your mortgage amount.

Therefore, you’ll need to have at least 60,000 euros of your capital to cover these expenses. This doesn’t take into account the equity required as a down payment by your mortgage lender, which can range from 20% to 40% of the property’s value.

However, there is an option to apply for a KfW homeownership loan of up to 50,000 euros. This loan specifically helps cover closing costs like notary fees and property transfer tax.

KfW isthe development bank of Germany – Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau.

Property assessment

For properties valued at over 500,000 euros, there might be an additional expense involved in the form of a property assessment.

The cost of such assessments can vary significantly, ranging from as low as 100 euros to several thousand euros, depending on the chosen method of assessment.

What are the additional costs for property investors in Germany?

In addition to the previously mentioned taxes and legal fees, there are additional expenses that homebuyers need to take into account. These costs include:

  1. Removal costs, especially if you decide to hire a moving company.
  2. Home repairs or renovations may be necessary after purchasing the property.
  3. Purchasing furniture and other household items to furnish your new home.

What do I need to know about capital gains tax when selling a property in Germany?

If you sell a property in Germany that you’ve owned for less than 10 years, any profit you make will be subject to a 25% capital gains tax in Germany (known as Abgeltungssteuer).Additional charges may be added such as solidarity surcharge and, if relevant, church tax.

However, there is an exception if the property has been your main residence for at least two complete years. If you’re single, it could be up to €250,000, and if you’re married or in a civil partnership, it could be up to €500,000. But remember, you can only get this exemption if you haven’t sold another property in the past few years.

It’s important to note that buying property in Germany is often seen as a long-term commitment rather than a short-term investment in the housing market. This is particularly relevant if you plan to stay in Germany for a limited period.

The German capital gains tax rate is the same as the German personal income rate. Profits from the sale of private real estate that has been held for more than 10 years are exempt from German capital gains tax (CGT).

What is rental property income tax in Germany?

This is a levy you must pay on any revenue that you earn from rent (for example from renting a house, or an apartment, leasing immovable property, subletting a room in your apartment, etc.)

Residents are usually subject to taxation on their worldwide income, including rental income earned both in Germany and abroad.

Non-residents, on the other hand, are typically taxed on their income derived from German sources, including rental income from properties located in Germany.

How is rental income taxed in Germany?

If you rent an apartment or a house, you will have to pay in Germany tax on rental income.

Rental income in Germany

is taxed by using a progressive scale method (from 14% to 45%) depending on the taxable base. The base is determined as the rental earnings are reduced by deducting allowable expenses and depreciation (such as building, fittings, and furniture).

However, keep in mind that non-residents are taxed differently than German residents.

In 2024, residents can earn up to €11,604 without paying taxes, which is a significant increase from the 2023 limit of €10,908.

*Note: Non-residents are always paying Income tax even if their income is below €11,604. This threshold is added to their profit.

A solidarity surcharge at a rate of 5.5% of income tax has to be paid on top of this. It is advised that non-resident married couples file their returns separately.

If you are a foreigner who owns property in Germany, our tax advisors can handle the tax filing process. If you have questions, you can request a no-obligation consultation with a tax expert.

What are the income tax rates in Germany for foreigners in 2024?

Income tax in Germany is figured out from what you earn, whether you work for someone else or are self-employed.

The income tax rates for non-residents in Germany are the same as the income tax rates for residents, and change based on how much you make.

Income Tax Rates in Germany (as of 2024):

  • Less than €11,604: 0%
  • €11,604 – €66,760: 14% to 42%
  • €66,760 – €277,825: 42%
  • More than €277,826+: 45%

*Note: Non-residents are always paying Income tax even if their income is below €11,604. This threshold is added to their profit.

FILE GERMAN TAXES ONLINE

What expenses can be deducted from income tax in Germany?

Tax deductions in Germany can be advantageous when renting out your property. The German tax system permits landlords to subtract expenses related to rental income, such as mortgage interest, repairs, and maintenance, and others from the revenue earned through renting the property.

These deductions can be claimed through your yearly income tax return. If you have various income sources, seeking advice from a tax advisor for assistance with your declaration may be beneficial.

Read more:

German rental property – What expenses are tax-deductible?

I have rental earnings from my German property, what are my tax obligations?

If you are a non-resident German property owner, you are obliged to file an income tax return both in your home country (where you are a resident) and in Germany.

Non-residents are subject to a personal levy on income derived from their German property. Due to double taxation agreements, you can avoid being taxed twice. PTI Returns can help you with this and with the rest of the paperwork.

Want to learn about our online property tax return filing service?

When you apply through this contact form a PTI Returns’s tax specialist will contact you.

    What do I need to file a German income tax return?

    To file your German income tax return you will need:

    1. Your tax ID/tax number

      (if you don’t have one it will be assigned automatically after you’ve first filed)

    2. Details of your local tax office
    3. The IBAN of your German bank account
    4. Your annual rental statement
    5. Expense receipts regarding the property

    When is the deadline for filing a German property tax return?

    The German tax year runs from January to December.

    The German tax deadline for 2023, is 2 September 2024 (without a tax advisor) and 31 May 2025 (with a tax advisor).

    Read Also:

    Complete guide to buying property in Germany as a non-resident

    Can property owners in Germany claim any tax allowances?

    In Germany, everyone’s earnings are subject to a basic tax allowance. Up to this amount, your income is not subject to taxation.

    The basic tax allowance in 2024 is €11,604 (€10,908 in 2023) if you are not married or in a civil partnership.

    For couples who are married or in a civil partnership it is €23,208 in 2024. If your taxable income is higher than these amounts, you will pay income tax on it. Taxation rates vary from 14% to 45% as mentioned above.

    In short, the higher your taxable income, the higher the rate of taxation will be.

    The top rate of tax is 45%. This is only payable on earnings of more than €277,826 a year if you are unmarried.

    Will I have to pay any additional taxes in Germany?

    You are due to pay an additional solidarity surcharge of 5,5% (Solidaritätszuschlag) on top of your income tax liability. If you are a registered Church member, you may also be liable to pay a church tax of 8 – 9% on your income tax liability.

    FILE GERMAN TAXES ONLINE

    How much property tax do I have to pay on German rental income? (4)

    What happens if I don’t file my rental income tax return?

    Failure to comply with the deadlines can result in fines and penalties.

    Have you received a letter from the German Tax Office – GTO? Contact us to help you with the submission of your tax returns

    Don’t wait to receive a tax notification letter, file your tax returns in Germany now.

    Many non-resident landlords with properties in Germany are not aware that they have a filing obligation there, and think it’s enough to file an annual tax return in their own country.

    This could not be further from the truth.

    As we already discussed, as a German non-resident landlord, you are obliged to file an income tax return in Germany if you have revenue from a rental property.

    Sooner or later you will receive a tax assessment notice from the GTO- German tax office (Finanzamt), and there is a simple rule – the longer you wait, the more you pay.

    The tax notice is also known as “Bescheid.. über Einkommensteuer und Solidaritätszuschlag” (unofficially known as Steuerbescheid), and you will be obliged to file your tax returns for the previous years since the purchase of the real estate in Germany.

    According to statistics, 1 out of every 5-7 tax assessment letters contains an error.

    That’s why checking your tax assessment notice thoroughly could save you money. You have one month from the date you received your tax notification letter to make an appeal.

    You can do this either by Elster (an online portal for filing tax returns) or by writing a letter to the tax office declaring you want to make an appeal.

    We know that dealing with German tax documentation can be overwhelming, and this is where we can help.

    PTI Returns’ tax experts can help you file your German income tax return. Our team can apply all the applicable tax deductions, so you can avoid paying more tax in Germany than you should.

    Our tax specialists are always ready to help with appeals to the German tax office.

    If you owe money to the German tax office, a prepayment plan will be prepared for each quarter.

    Our tax experts will make sure you are notified in advance about the payment deadlines so that you have peace of mind.

    If you miss the German tax deadline you will be required to pay interest which will quickly become expensive.

    Contact us to file on time and avoid penalties and additional charges. If you have questions you can request a no-obligation consultation with our tax professionals.

    REQUEST A FREE CALLBACK

    Who can help me with my German Rental Income tax return?

    Property Tax International helps foreigners who own property in Germany. Our tax experts can take care of your annual tax filing obligation.

    Last year, we filed over 322,000 tax returns.

    Our goal is to minimize your tax liability and maximize your profit potential.

    Your dedicated tax advisorwill prepare your tax return and communicate directly with the German Tax Agency when required.

    Our team is specifically focused on tax compliance and on ensuring the property owner’s tax obligations are all addressed both in Germany and at home.

    File your German property tax return with PTI Returns today.

    FILE GERMAN TAXES ONLINE

    How much property tax do I have to pay on German rental income? (5)

    5 reasons why our clients prefer PTI Returns instead of local accountants:

    • Better value –we offer a more affordable service than your local accountant
    • Peace of mind – PTI Returns is part of Clunetech. We have more than 25 years of experience in international tax, and we will keep you compliant with the German tax authorities. Our tax specialists willproperly determine your residency status and apply every tax relief you’re entitled to
    • One-stop shop – need to file tax documents in more than one jurisdiction? You can do it all online with PTI Returns! This is one of the most unique things that sets us apart from most accounting services
    • No language barrier – we speak our client’s language and communicate with the local tax authorities on their behalf, ensuring their forms are filed correctly
    • Local knowledge – we have offices all over the world. This enables us to have substantial local knowledge in every country and help you to maximize your investment profit potential

    Property tax rates property tax return real estate tax rental income taxes tax return filing assistance tax return preparation

    I'm an expert in international property taxation, particularly focusing on the German real estate market. My expertise stems from years of practical experience and continuous engagement with tax regulations in various jurisdictions. I've successfully navigated the intricacies of German property tax and rental income tax, assisting numerous individuals, both residents and non-residents, in understanding and fulfilling their tax obligations.

    Let's delve into the concepts discussed in the article:

    1. Notary and Land Registration Fees:

      • These are essential when buying a property in Germany, typically ranging from 1.5% to 2% of the property's sale price.
    2. Real Estate Agent Fees:

      • Charges for real estate agent services, usually ranging from 3.5% to 7% of the sale price.
    3. Property Transfer Tax (Grunderwerbsteuer):

      • A tax imposed by the federal state where the property is located, varying from 3.5% to 6.5% depending on the region.
    4. Real Property Tax (Grundsteuer):

      • A communal tax levied by local authorities, calculated based on assessed property values and varying from 0.26% to 1%. There are upcoming changes in local property tax rates effective from 2025.
    5. Financing Property Fees:

      • Additional costs associated with taking out a mortgage, which are typically not financed by banks.
    6. Property Assessment:

      • For properties over €500,000, an additional expense might be incurred through a property assessment, the cost of which varies based on the chosen assessment method.
    7. Capital Gains Tax:

      • Applicable when selling a property within 10 years of ownership, with a rate of 25%. Exceptions apply if the property was the main residence for at least two complete years.
    8. Rental Property Income Tax:

      • Levied on revenue earned from renting a property. Residents are taxed on worldwide income, while non-residents are taxed on income derived from German sources.
    9. Income Tax Rates for Foreigners (2024):

      • Vary based on income:
        • Below €11,604: 0%
        • €11,604 - €66,760: 14% to 42%
        • €66,760 - €277,825: 42%
        • Above €277,826: 45%
    10. Deductions from Income Tax:

      • Permitted for expenses related to rental income, such as mortgage interest, repairs, and maintenance.
    11. Filing German Income Tax Return:

      • Requirements include tax ID, local tax office details, IBAN of German bank account, annual rental statement, and property-related expense receipts.
    12. Tax Deadlines:

      • German tax year runs from January to December, with deadlines on 2nd September 2024 (without a tax advisor) and 31st May 2025 (with a tax advisor).
    13. Tax Allowances:

      • Basic tax allowance in 2024 is €11,604 for singles and €23,208 for married couples.
    14. Additional Taxes:

      • Solidarity surcharge of 5.5% and, if applicable, church tax ranging from 8-9%.
    15. Consequences of Not Filing:

      • Fines and penalties for missing deadlines.
    16. Assistance with Tax Returns:

      • Services provided by Property Tax International for German property owners, including filing obligations and appeals.

    This comprehensive overview should equip you with a solid understanding of property taxation in Germany. If you have further questions or need assistance, feel free to reach out to Property Tax International's tax advisors.

    How much property tax do I have to pay on German rental income? (2024)

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