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Applying for a change of tax brackets during marriage or civil partnership

The amount of payroll tax that is deducted from your salary depends on the tax bracket.
If you and your spouse or partner (hereinafter referred to as your partner) are not permanently separated, you can choose between the following tax bracket combinations:

  • IV/IV,
  • III/V or
  • Tax class IV with factor. Tax class IV with factor is also known as the factor method.

In order to change your tax bracket, you must always submit a joint application to your local tax office. This also applies to a new assignment of tax classes III and V.
To change from tax class III/V to IV/IV, it is sufficient if only you or your partner submit the application.
For example, you can apply for a change of tax bracket in the following cases: You or your partner

  • no longer receive wages, or
  • start working again after becoming unemployed.

You can also change your tax bracket several times a year.

If you and your partner are permanently separated, you must inform your local tax office so that the tax bracket is changed (I instead of III/V or IV/IV).

Since the entry into force of the Act on the Introduction of the Right to Marriage for Persons of the Same Sex on 1.10.2017, no new civil partnerships can be established in Germany. Since then, same-sex couples have been able to marry each other and are thus on an equal footing with opposite-sex couples.
Existing civil partnerships can be converted into a marriage. However, there is no obligation to do so. Existing civil partnerships can be continued in their current form.

Process flow

If you and your partner would like to change your tax bracket, you can submit an application to your local tax office:

  • In the form management system of the Federal Tax Administration, select the appropriate application form in the "Tax forms" section under "Wage tax (employees)":
    • "Application for change of tax class"
    • "Application for income tax reduction"
  • Fill out the application by hand on your electronic device or printed out.
  • You and your partner must sign the application.
  • Send the application by post to your local tax office.
  • You will receive a notification.

Alternatively, you can also apply for a change of tax class online and barrier-free via ELSTER. ELSTER is a barrier-free and platform-independent access to the electronic services of the tax administration.
For electronic authenticated transmission, you need a certificate. You will receive this after your registration on ELSTER. Please note that the registration process can take up to 2 weeks.

Who should I contact?

The responsibility lies with the tax office responsible for you.


The marriage or civil partnership is intact.

Which documents are required?

You don't need to submit any documents.

What are the fees?

There are no fees.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

A change of tax bracket takes effect on the 1st of the month following the submission of the application.


There are no legal remedies at the stage of an application. In the event of a rejection of the requested tax bracket by the tax office, you can file an appeal.

Technically approved by

State Tax Office of Lower Saxony


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)