Best Tax Return Software in Germany [2021 English Guide]

Remember the days of cringing at the thought of your tax return. Well, guess what? They are over. Thanks to the best tax return software in Germany, you can file your tax return 100% digitally in as little as 15 minutes. 

How do you get your taxes back in Germany?

To get some of your taxes back in Germany, you need to file a tax return at the end of the calendar year. We have written a detailed guide on how you can submit your tax declaration in Germany in which we outline four possible ways:

1. Use a tax return online software
2. Use a tax consultant  
3. Become a member of a Lohnsteuerhilfeverein
4. Use ELSTER – the official German tax authorities online form

Related Guide: How To File A Tax Declaration In Germany

In this guide, we will focus on the best online tax return software in Germany.

Which is the best tax return software in Germany?

Every tax return software listed below does what they are supposed to; however, some have limitations, while others have useful add-ons. Take a look and choose the software provider that best fits your needs.

Here are our picks for the best tax return software in Germany this year. All listed software providers offer their services in English and cost less than 40 euros.

And for all of you US expats, keep reading until the end, where we highlight tax software to file your taxes in the US as well.

 SteuerGoTaxfixsmartsteuerZastaTaxando
English Website & Supportpro checkpro checkpro checkx iconpro check
No. of Tax Returns per Year215Individual1
Suited for Self-Employedpro checkx iconpro checkx iconpro check
Free Trial & Tax Calculationpro checkpro checkpro checkpro checkpro check
Estimated Time for Completion20 mins22 mins<60 mins3 mins15 mins
Data Transfer from previous Yearpro checkpro checkpro checkIndividualpro check
Cost€29,95€39,99€34,99Individual€33,80

1. SteuerGo

SteuerGo Homepage
Source: SteuerGo

SteuerGo calculates your tax return online for free. Once you decide to upgrade to SteuerGo Plus to submit your tax return, it forwards your data and documents reliably to the tax office via the official ELSTER system. The functions of the tax software are intuitive and easy to use. Should you have any questions or need help, you can contact the English customer service. SteuerGo is also available in Russian and four other Eastern European languages. SteuerGo Plus costs 29,95 euros per tax year, and you can submit up to two tax returns for the same tax year.

SteuerGo pricing options
Source: SteuerGo

SteuerGo Benefits:

✅ Free trial
✅ 2 tax returns per tax year included
✅ No installation needed
✅ Works on all devices – Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, iPad, and Android
✅ Easy data entry
✅ Data transfer from the previous year
✅ Checklist for tax documents
✅ Verification of the entries
✅ Customer support in English by phone and email
✅ Customized tax tips
✅ Supports complex situations such as: self-employed, income abroad or from property, pensions, married with children, etc..
✅ Tax return in 20 minutes

2. Taxfix

taxfix homepage
Source: Taxfix

Taxfix is another German Fintech company striving to make peoples’ lives easier when it comes to taxes. Taxfix differentiates itself by offering an intuitive app. You can photograph documents to upload their information to the app. With an interview-style questionnaire, you can submit your tax declaration in 22 minutes. Taxfix is available in English, French, and Italian, however, only for employees. It does not support self-employed or other complex situations

Should you have been on Kurzarbeit or became unemployed in 2020 due to Covid-19, you can currently benefit from a 50% discount Taxfix is offering for tax returns for 2020. Otherwise, it costs 39,99 euros.

Taxfix unemployed offer
Source: Taxfix

Taxfix Benefits:

✅ Free tax calculation
✅ No installation needed
✅ Intuitive app with photo option to upload your documents
✅ Easy data entry interchangeable between phone and desktop
✅ Data transfer from the previous year
✅ Customer support in English, French, and Italian
✅ Customized interview questions to save time
✅ Tax return in 22 minutes
✅ Free to use with less than 50 euros tax refund

Taxfix Drawbacks:

⛔️ Does not support more complex taxes from self-employment or rental property income

3. Smartsteuer

smartsteuer homepage
Source: smartsteuer

smartsteuer is available in 58 languages (by integrated Google translations), so you might even be able to file your taxes in your mother tongue. Smartsteuer also offers a free tax calculator, where you can enter all of your data. Should you wish to proceed and use smartsteuer to file your tax return, you can transfer your data to a free user account and then pay for submitting your files in less than an hour.

Smartsteuer costs 34,99 euros and includes five tax returns per same tax year, making it a great tool to also file taxes for other family members in Germany.

Source: smartsteuer

Smartsteuer Benefits:

✅ Free trial
✅ 5 tax returns per year included 
✅ No installation needed
✅ Works on all devices – Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, iPad, and Android
✅ Simple language with detailed explanations
✅ High TÜV approved data security
✅ Data transfer from the previous year
✅ Verification of the entries
✅ Customer support in English via email
✅ Customized tax tips
✅ Supports complex situations such as: self-employed, income abroad or from property, pensions, married with children, etc..
✅ Compares tax return to actual tax assessment received 
✅ Tax return in less than 60 minutes

4. Zasta

Source: Zasta

Zasta is a different kind of tax software, as it serves as a platform to connect you to a professional tax advisor. You can enter your details on Zasta for free and you will get a pre-calculated tax return offer from a tax consultant. Once you accept the offer, the tax consultant will handle your tax return. You can also reject the offer at no cost to you.

The fee for the tax advisor is very individual and there is no average range or percentage. It usually gets subtracted from the tax return you will receive. Therefore Zasta offers a very smooth, easy and free service to get you more money in your bank account. Currently Zasta is only available in German and for employees. However, they are working on adding other languages and services for self-employed as well.

Zasta Benefits:

✅ Free tax calculation from a professional tax advisor
✅ No installation needed
✅ Works on all devices – Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, iPad, and Android
✅ Easy data entry
✅ Tax calculation in 3 minutes
✅ No tax knowledge necessary
✅ Maximum returns through a professional tax advisor
✅ Up to 4 years retroactively possible
✅ Tax calculation in 3 minutes
✅ Supports employees, students, or apprentices

Zasta Drawbacks:

⛔️ Currently only website in German
⛔️ Does not support freelancers and self-employed yet
⛔️ Does not support income generated abroad yet

5. Taxando

Taxando homepage
Source: Taxando

Taxando also offers an intuitive app in English, Polish, and Russian. You can upload or photograph your employment tax statement and start adding your details. Taxando’s unique feature is the ability to consult a tax adviser if your situation is more complex. The standard version costs 33,80 euros per tax declaration, and the Steuer++ with individual tax advice starts at 99 euros per tax declaration.

taxando pricing
Source: Taxando

Taxando Benefits:

✅ Free tax calculation
✅ No installation needed
✅ Works on all devices – Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, iPad, and Android
✅ Easy data entry
✅ Intuitive app with photo option to upload your documents
✅ Easy data entry interchangeable between phone and desktop
✅ Data transfer from the previous year
✅ Customer support in English, Spanish, and Italian
✅ Customized tax tips
✅ Tax return in 18 minutes
✅ Option to consult tax adviser 

You can benefit from a 10 euros discount on the Standard package with this promo code: 9434A

Bonus: MyExpatTaxes for US Citizens

Screenshot of Homepage of MyExpatTaxes
Source: MyExpatTaxes

If you are a US citizen living in Germany, next to declaring your taxes in Germany, you will also have to file them in the US every year. MyExpatTaxes is the No. 1 software to do so. Whether your situation is simple or complex, MyExpatTaxes can handle it all. You can get a free Stimulus calculation, and choose from four different pricing and service packages, starting at 149 euros.

Conclusion

Filing your tax return has never been easier thanks to these new-age software providers and apps. For regular employees, Taxfix had the best usability during my test, whereas SteuerGo is the most affordable option supporting almost all taxpayer categories.

Disclaimer: Neither myself as the author of this article, nor Simple Germany as a business, are qualified to provide tax advice under German law. We cannot provide specialist tax services beyond any of the general tips contained herein. For tax advice, we strongly recommend you consult a professional tax consultant.