Corporate income tax; filing of the return

Corporations must pay corporate income tax on their taxable income, and nonprofit organizations receive their tax exemption.


Corporate income tax is levied by the tax authorities on the income of legal entities or corporations, such as

  • stock corporations (AG)
  • limited liability companies (GmbH)
  • cooperatives or
  • foundations.

Corporate income tax generally arises at the end of a calendar year. The basis for the assessment is their corporate income tax return. You must submit this and the annual profit statements to the tax authorities electronically. The free service portal "My ELSTER" is available to you for this purpose.

The amount of corporate income tax is 15 percent on the taxable income of a calendar year. In addition, there is a 5.5 percent solidarity surcharge. The revenue from corporate income tax accrues jointly to the federal government and the states. The solidarity surcharge is due to the federal government.

Your tax advisor can tell you whether you, as the managing person or board of directors of a corporation, are required to file a corporate income tax return or whether exceptions apply.

This person can also inform them of the anticipated amount of tax liability. As a non-profit association, for example, you do not have to pay corporate income tax on income from commercial operations until the income exceeds EUR 45,000.


  • Corporations, associations of persons and estates are subject to unlimited corporate income tax liability if their management or registered office is located in Germany. These are, for example:
    • Corporations
      • Stock corporations
      • Limited liability companies
      • Entrepreneurial companies
    • Cooperatives
    • Associations
    • Foundations
    • associations, institutions, foundations and other special-purpose assets under private law with no legal capacity, as well as
    • commercial operations of legal entities under public law, such as commercial operations of municipalities
  • all income is taxable
  • The place of management is the place where the relevant business decisions are made.
  • the registered office of the company is determined by the partners in the articles of association
  • foreign companies only have to pay corporate income tax on their domestic income.


You must submit the corporate income tax return and associated documents and attachments electronically to the relevant tax office:

  • Visit "My ELSTER - Your Online Tax Office" on the Internet.
  • Log in with your access data and your personal security procedure.
  • Select the menu item "Corporate income tax" and let the program guide you through the procedure.
  • After entering all data, you can submit the corporate income tax return electronically to the responsible tax office via "My ELSTER".
  • After your corporate income tax return has been checked, you will receive a notice about
    • the amount of corporate income tax assessed and
    • a request for payment (bank transfer or SEPA direct debit) or information on a credit payment.

Special notes

There are no clues or specifics.


If you do not receive tax advice when preparing the corporate income tax return:

  • In principle, submit the corporate income tax return by July 31 of the calendar year following the taxable period.

If a tax consulting office prepares the corporate income tax return:

  • The corporate income tax return must be submitted by the last day of February of the second calendar year following the taxable period.

Required documents

  • Erforderliche Unterlage/n

    • elektronisch übermittelte Körperschaftsteuererklärung mit erforderlichen Anlagen
    • Unterlagen zur Gewinnermittlung wie zum Beispiel
    • Bilanz
    • Gewinn- und Verlustrechnung
    • gegebenenfalls weitere Erklärungen wie zum Beispiel eine Umsatz- oder Gewerbesteuererklärung 

Online procedures

  • ELSTER - Ihr Online-Finanzamt

    ELSTER - Your Online Tax Office bundles the online services of the tax authorities. Here you can prepare and submit tax returns and tax registrations via the Internet.


  • There are no costs involved.




Responsible for editing:Bundesministerium der Finanzen

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