I moved to Germany on the 1st of July 2016 and started working immediately. Recently I did Steuererklärung and today I got a mail from Finanzamt that I need to declare my income for the period of 0.1.01 - 30.06.2016. The problem is during that period I was living in Azerbaijan and working as a private business owner with a contract for some company and I was also a student. And I can't provide any official document regarding my income.

Any ideas what should I do in this case ?

Can I just send them a letter and say that I made x.xx money during that period ? Or what else ?

  • Has your stay in Azerbaijain been a business trip, or have you actually moved to Germany for the first time in 2016? I don't think Finanzamt cares for what you did before you moved here, they might simply not know that you did move. They only see you filed for 6 months only.
    – nvoigt
    Jun 7, 2017 at 12:24
  • Generally speaking, I found Finanzamt very cooperative (for a German authority) as long as you keep in touch and keep communication channels open. Talk to them and just ask them, that might be the easiest way.
    – nvoigt
    Jun 7, 2017 at 12:26
  • I was living and working in Azerbaijan and I moved to Germany on the 1st of July first time. Which communication channel would you recommend ? Email or Phone conversation ? Jun 7, 2017 at 13:45
  • Either phone or visiting personally (check their hours) is probably a good idea.
    – nvoigt
    Jun 7, 2017 at 13:53
  • Excellent! Last question: Do I need an appointment or can I just walk in and ask for the specific person ? Jun 7, 2017 at 13:54

2 Answers 2


Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer and this is no legal advise

In Germany income tax is based on your personal income, no matter from where it stems.

So if you've earned money during 2016 abroad they take this into account to determine the tax percentage for your income tax 2016 in Germany eg if you've earned 100€ abroad and 100€ in Germany you have to pay the tax rate equivalent to a yearly income of 200€, but ONLY on the 100€ you've earned in Germany.

If you have no proof of income they will estimate your earnings - usually in their favor.

If you earn a significant amount of money you should go to a tax consultant. Taxes in Germany a really complicated issue.


When they ask you to declare your income in Azerbaijan, you don't need to provide evidence that you cannot provide - what you say will be taken as true unless there is a reason to believe that you are lying. Of course not saying the truth would be tax evasion and a very serious matter. And if the tax office thinks you should have the evidence then they can estimate your income. That's done mostly to convince you to come up with the evidence.

How much of an interest the tax office shows will depend on the money at stake. If you made €50,000 in Germany in six months and claim you made €1,000 in Azerbeidjan in the first six months, they might not believe you. If you made €20,000 in Germany in six months and claim you made €1,000 they are much more likely to either believe you or not to bother.

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