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Change of the church tax deduction in case of leaving the church


If you leave a tax-levying religious community, the obligation to pay church tax as a surcharge on income or wage tax (Lohnkirchensteuer) no longer applies under the church tax laws of the Länder. The employer therefore no longer has to withhold church tax from the employee's wages and pay it to the tax office in addition to the wage tax each time the wage is paid. The corresponding procedure for the discontinuation of the deduction of the wage church tax is largely automated. Therefore, after you have declared your resignation, you generally do not have to do anything further to discharge yourself from your obligation to pay church tax.

How and at which office the leaving of the church has to be declared is regulated differently by the federal states. The 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 notify the Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt) of changes in church affiliation and the corresponding date. The BZSt stores the electronic wage tax deduction characteristics (ELStAM) in a database. The stored data also includes characteristics for the deduction of church tax.

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

You submit a declaration of leaving the church to the office responsible under state law.

  • This office informs the respective registration office, which in turn transmits the resignation and the date of resignation to the tax authorities.
  • Therefore, no application or notice is required vis-à-vis the tax office.
  • Declaration of leaving the church to the competent authority according to the respective national law

You do not need to submit any documentation.

Whether and to what extent fees are charged for the withdrawal depends on the fee regulations of the office responsible in the respective federal state. The tax authorities do not charge any fees.

Federal Ministry of Finance

31.10.2021

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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