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I've been working in Germany since September 14, 2017. I was informed about the Kichensteuer (Church tax) a few days after arriving. Then I had to get my Kirchenaustritt that declares that I'm leaving my church, thus I won't pay taxes to the church any longer.

I was said the paperwork will take about 2 months, and after that, the tax would be removed. It's February 3, and I got charged with tax the last month.

What is needed to get rid of this tax?

  • To be honest, I've never heard of anyone actually getting out of this tax. I thought that this tax was given to the church in general, and not just your particular parish. Hence, unless you leave that religion (or that particular sect, i.e. Catholicism, Lutheran, Protestans, etc...), you don't actually stop paying that tax. I might be wrong and it might just be a detail of some bureaucracy I've never heard of. Good luck! – ouflak Feb 3 '18 at 19:48
  • @ouflak I had a colleague who managed to stop paying that tax but it was years and years ago. – mkennedy Feb 3 '18 at 20:10
  • I wonder if they changed religion (to something not a sanctioned German taxable one) or declared themselves Atheist/Agnostic or the like. You might want to ask your colleague about it if you are still in contact, especially if they just left their church or if they actually left the entire religion altogether. Most Germans and Austrians I know just accept the fact that they have to pay it. – ouflak Feb 3 '18 at 21:01
  • @ouflak Thanks for the comments, you can leave the curch and stop paying this tax, this is done with the kirchenaustritt. It's quite easy, but I guess something went wrong in my case. Here's more info if you are interested kirchenaustritt.de – GurstTavo Feb 3 '18 at 22:48
  • @ouflak I can't contact him anymore--died of cancer a few years ago. I'm petty sure that he did declare that he was an atheist. – mkennedy Feb 4 '18 at 0:25
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It is supposed to work like this: You leaving the church is automatically reported to the tax office (Finanzamt), which will update your entry in the ELStAM database. The next time your employer processes your salary, it retrieves your updated information from ELStAM and won’t withhold church tax.

In your case, something went wrong apparently. You should first check your salary statement; it will list the data it is based on somewhere, typically in the upper right corner. Look for “Kirchensteuer” or “KiSt”. If your old church is still listed there, you will need to visit the tax office and show them the confirmation you got when your exit was registered, so that they can update the database manually.

You can reclaim any tax that was withheld in error when you file your tax return.

  • There's no other procedure needed? With Only the kirchenaustritt should be enough? Thanks – GurstTavo Feb 3 '18 at 22:54
  • @GurstTavo: Yes, it’s only that single step. – chirlu Feb 3 '18 at 23:26

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