The effort of the income tax return is worth it, because on average German workers get more than € 900 per year completely legally and with manageable effort from the tax office. In Berlin, according to the Senate Department for Finance even an average of 985 euros for the tax year 2016 - and that only for sitting down at his desk to collect a few documents and file his tax return.
To you To facilitate the income tax return even more, the legislature since 2017 has introduced the document retention requirement. Although you must collect all receipts and receipts such as donation certificates or membership dues, but no longer send with the tax return to the tax office. However, you should keep the documents well, because the tax office can request them anytime if needed. For surprisingly large amounts, such as relocation costs, which usually do not apply, it's better to send the receipts for verification right from the start.
Web applications have some advantages over software variants, as they instantly install on any Mac or iPad. Also, the scope of services is completely sufficient for the normal taxpayer. This differs only marginally from variants requiring installation - not to mention the disk space savings for an application that is only needed once a year. The decision for or against a web application depends essentially on whether you prefer to entrust your sensitive income data to the cloud or the home computer.
Tax changes for 2018
- Basic allowance: The basic allowance increases from € 8,820 by € 180 to € 9,000 in 2018.
- Children's allowance: The child allowance increases from € 4,716 in 2018 to € 4,788 by € 72.
- Child benefit: The child benefit paid monthly will be increased from 192 euros in 2018 to 194 euros for the first and second child, from 198 euros to 200 euros for the third child and from 223 euros to 225 euros for the fourth child.
- Künstlersozialkasse: The levy rate for the Künstlerszialkasse drops from 4.8 to 4.2 per cent.
- Pensioners: Those who retire in 2018 must pay tax on 76 per cent of the pension. Last year it was 74 percent.
Lohnsteuer Kompakt is available in addition to a free trial without a possibility to pay in three different price categories, which differ in scope of performance - such as the tax assessment examiner or the number of tax returns - for a tax year. In addition, since this year the manufacturer offers a version for the target group of students with "steuererklaerung-student.de". It shows how semester fees, trips to the university, specialist literature or semester abroad can be deducted from the tax.
Not quite commonplace: the money-back guarantee. Lohnsteuer Kompakt reimburses the full purchase price if you receive a higher repayment or lower additional payment with another application in your tax return. In addition, penalties or interest will be refunded if the tax office imposes this on the basis of a calculation error. This raises the user's expectation, of course, that Lohnsteuer Kompakt delivers one hundred percent calculation results.
Another innovation relates to the filing of the tax return at the tax office. Since this year, the tax returns can be sent fully electronically with the personal Elster certificate to the tax office. With this you can completely dispense with the paper-based shipping alternative.
Rating to Lohnsteuer Kompakt
Price: 24,99 Euro
Pro: fully electronic tax filing with Elster certificate , Money-back guarantee, application-specific help videos
Contra: not suitable for all tax situations, no iOS app for data collection
Service (30%): 2.2
Power (40%): 2, 4
Documentation (30%): 2.2
Conclusion: Good web application that gives users with the money back guarantee a high security for the tax calculation.
The online application Smart Control convinces with a pleasant user interface, a discreet color scheme and an excellently structured input process. The easy-to-understand, step-by-step interview technique used in the process breaks away from the typical tax office forms and rejects the entry process instead of the taxpayer's world of life. The already extensive support of the user through help texts, example calculations or encyclopedia articles is now enriched with video courses, which were developed together with the partner Fingym
Smartsteuer now also takes over the data from the tax office in the way of the pre-filled tax return. Soon, account sales data from online banking will also be included in the tax return. Who wants to do the tax return from the sofa, this can now try using voice control using the Amazon Alexa skill. The tax reduction according to Paragraph 35b of the Inheritance Tax, the use of the company car by the employees as well as the Members' remuneration were implemented as tax amendments. For students, the step-by-step interview section has also been simplified. There are also numerous tax tips and sample letters for communication with the tax office.
Rating to Smart Tax
Price: 24,99 Euro
Pro: good user interface, input oriented to the lifeworld of the Taxpayers, new video courses
Contra: Online banking functionality not yet implemented at trial
Service (30%): 2.1
Service (40%): 2.3
Documentation (30%) ): 2.2
Conclusion: Good tax return, based on her interview in the personal life of the taxpayer.
Tax Go Plus
The Software Steuer Go, like Lohnsteuer Kompakt, comes from the same developer, but because of its multilingualism it is deliberately aimed at a different target group. Anyone who has not grown up with German as their native language and has difficulty with the tax vocabulary can alternatively resort to English, Polish, Croatian, Bosnian or Serbian. The pleasant user interface also ensures a smooth operation, which speeds up the creation of tax returns.
Steuer Go has considerably expanded the scope of services this year. The tax return can now be submitted online and fully electronically with the taxpayer's Elster certificate to the tax office. In addition, numerous help texts were optimized and the translation qualities increased. Steuer Go supports the pre-filled tax return, collects the data from the tax office and compares it with the forecast. If deviations are found, the application offers a wealth of tips and templates for filing inconsistencies with the tax office. The program facilitates the data entry with interviews with simple info texts and immediate calculation of the refund and checks the data for correctness and completeness.
Rating to Tax Go Plus
Price: 24,95 Euro
System: Web Browser
Pro: pleasant user interface, language versions in English, Polish , Croatian, Bosnian and Serbian
Contra: not suitable for all tax situations, no iOS app for data collection
Service (30%): 2.3
Power (40%): 2.5
Documentation (30%): 2.4
Conclusion: Interesting alternative for tax return through the support of several languages.
Tax Savings Plus
The tax-exemption distinguishes itself from its competitors by having different program versions for special occupational groups. The teacher edition focuses on topics such as class travel or training. The senior version has a digital guide that answers all questions about retirement taxation. The tax return for the photovoltaic system enables the plus version, which also includes a large tax database.
The tax clearance offers an excellent scope of services, supports all seven types of income and helps professional in the preparation of the tax return. This can be done on paper, via Elster transmission and postal authorization or fully electronically using the digital Elster certificate. With the free document manager app for the iPhone, you can take pictures of receipts, invoices or receipts. Alternatively, there is a scan service from the manufacturer. With the help of the free user account of "steueripps.de", the digitized receipts then reach the tax return. At the end, the electronic tax auditor checks the entered data and makes suggestions for optimization. If the decision is then available, the examiner reveals what the tax office did not recognize.
Rating to Tax Plus
Manufacturer: Wolters Kluwer Germany
Price: 49.95 Euro
System: from macOS 10.11
Pro: target group specific variants, document manager app for iPhone, electronic dispatch of oppositions
Cons: printed tax code must be ordered separately
Service (30%): 2.0
Power (40%): 2.0
Documentation (30%) : 1,6
Conclusion: Very good tax return with target group-specific cut and iPhone app for digitizing receipts.
Wiso Tax Mac 2018
Buhl Data Service has mastered the classic boundaries between an offline and an online application. For example, you can start your tax return on the Mac, then edit it in the iOS app on the iPad or iPhone and finally finalize it in the web browser. The change between the different platforms is possible as often as you like without additional costs. The last working status of your tax return is always retained.
The scope of the application is excellent. All seven types of income and all required tax forms are supported. The new automatic control system attempts to remove much of the collection work from the taxpayer. This includes the import of tax data from the previous year, the retrieval of tax data on pensions or insurance at the tax office or the automatic account of account turnover through online retrieval at your bank.
The tax declaration can be thanks to the structured user interface and the Managing three-part main window well. The left column is used for navigation, in the middle fill out the respective input form and the right column helps with contextual hints. For tax-inexperienced users, the tax interview helps the program to step-by-step query revenue and related expenses and check for plausibility. In addition, 126 guide videos are available to circumvent one or the other tax cliff. You will receive a program manual and a practical tax advisor. If you opt for a subscription, you will receive numerous additional benefits in addition to the price advantage for the new year version, such as the monthly newsletter or access to practical online seminars.
Rating to WISO Tax Mac
Manufacturer: Buhl Data
Price: 39.95 Euro
System: from macOS 10.9
Pro: good handling, weaving including use of app, submission of claims with the help of Elster
Contra: somewhat complicated data exchange between platforms
Service (30%): 1.9
Service (40%): 1.5
Documentation (30%): 1.7
Conclusion: The tax return is convincing due to its excellent scope of services and cross-platform processing options.
The test winner
Wiso Control Mac 2018 offers an outstanding performance and enables the collection of control data regardless of the device in any location. The new automatic tax system makes it easier for the taxpayer to collect data by importing the tax data from the previous year and by retrieving the tax data from the tax office and importing the bank account sales. If you prefer a tax group-specific tax return, tax filing provides a compelling alternative to your tax return.
Save Tax on Computer Sales
As an employee, you can deduct computers, software or furniture as income-related expenses from the tax if you provide proof of professional use to the tax office. Low-value assets up to € 952 gross (2017 still € 487.90 gross), which you do in 2018, can be deducted directly from your taxable income at one go instead of being distributed over the useful life, thus reducing your tax burden.