Withholding tax; application for relief
If you wish to obtain relief from German withholding tax, you may apply under certain conditions.
Domestic income of foreign artists, athletes, licensors and supervisory board members is subject to limited tax liability. The Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt) taxes this income in a tax deduction procedure.
You can apply to the BZSt for relief from German withholding tax. Foreign taxpayers are relieved of German withholding tax by having
- taxes already paid are refunded
- with an exemption certificate, the tax deduction will no longer apply in whole or in part in the future.
Persons with limited tax liability in Germany are:
- Natural persons if they have neither a domicile nor their habitual residence in Germany and they earn German income.
- Corporations, associations of persons and estates if they have neither their management nor their registered office in Germany and they generate German income.
Relief from German tax deduction can only be granted if there is a double taxation agreement (DTA) between Germany and your country of residence.
If there is no DTA, you can at best avoid any double taxation by means of corresponding national regulations in the country of residence.
Applications for relief from tax deduction are processed by the BZSt.
Applications can be submitted by
- foreign artists
- foreign sportsmen and sportswomen
- foreign licensors
- foreign supervisory board members
- in the case of reimbursement: payment of withholding tax
A double taxation agreement must exist between Germany and the country of residence.
You must submit the application electronically via the BZSt online portal (BOP).
- Register in the BOP.
- If you have already registered for another procedure accessible via the BOP or registered in the Elster online portal, you do not need to register again.
- Select the form "Application for relief from German tax deduction in accordance with § 50c EStG".
- Complete the form and submit it.
- Attach a certificate of residence and the other required documents to the application form.
- Your application will be processed and checked by the BZSt.
- You will receive a certificate of exemption or a notice of exemption (refund) or a notice of rejection of your application. The decision of the BZSt will also be made available to you for retrieval via the BOP.
- In the event that an exemption certificate is issued, the person liable for payment will receive a corresponding notification in the form of a copy of the exemption certificate for his/her files.
- In the case of refund applications, payment of the refund amount will be made approximately 4 weeks after receipt of the exemption certificate.
for refund applications: within 4 years from the end of the calendar year in which the remuneration was received or not before 1 year from the payment of the tax deductions
When submitting your application, you must submit:
- Certificate of residence
- Copy of contract
- in case of power of attorney: power of representation
- in cases of reimbursement: the tax certificate issued by the person liable for reimbursement
- in reimbursement cases where payment to a person other than the reimbursement creditor or the person submitting the application is desired: an original power of attorney for collection issued by the reimbursement creditor.
If you are applying on behalf of a corporation, association of persons or estate, you must also enclose the following documents:
- Extract from the Commercial Register
- Organization chart (with details of the percentage shareholdings)
If required, the BZSt will request further documents necessary for verification.
Links to more information
Responsible for editing:Bundesministerium der Finanzen
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