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Personal Taxes

Anyone who is working in Berlin should be registered with their local Tax Office (Finanzamt), which is the equivalent of the Inland (Internal) Revenue. Each suburb (Bezirk) has its own Finanzamt, and you register in the Bezirk of your residence, or if you have your own business, then the Bezirk where it is situated. You will be issued with a tax number (Steuernummer) which you will need to declare when claiming payment. Although some people get by without being registered, the chances are that you will be caught eventually if you are not solely engaged on the black market! Everyone, whether employed by a company or a freelancer, has to file a tax return. The main difference between freelancers and employees however is that freelancers declare what they have earned in order to determine what they have to pay, and employees are entitled to a tax rebate for any overtaxation that may have occurred throughout the year. Theoretically you can claim for any work-related expenses, so remember to save all relevant receipts. Many factors affect your tax calculation -for example marital status and children. The initial income tax rate for households is to be cut from a current 25.9% to 19.9% in 2002.

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