Tax return in Germany. Elster online. Mantelbogen, or Hauptvordruck

Last Updated on October 9, 2023

So, we registered in Elster online, waited for the code from the Finanzamt (FA), received a digital certificate and saved it in a convenient place. We chose a full tax liability declaration (Einkommensteuererklärung unbeschränkte Steuerpflicht ESt 1a, i.e. for those who live in Germany) and go to main part of the declaration – Mantelbogen.

Read more Who should file a tax return in Germany
Pre-filled declaration in Elster
All I can return from tax: A-D, E-H, I-N, P-W, Außergewöhnliche Belastungen
Anlage N Part 1, Part 2, Anlage N-Aus, Anlage Wa-Est, Homeoffice
Anlage Kind
Anlage Vorsorgeaufwand
Anlage Sonderausgaben
Anlage Haushaltnahe Diensleistungen 35a
Tax declaration Germany. Anlage EÜR
How to calculate tax in Germany. What is written in Berechnung in Elster
Freiberufler in Germany: how to fill in Anlage S and Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung

Let me remind you that I am not a professional tax consultant. Declarations are considered from the point of view of an ordinary user: a family with children and one working person of average income.


We indicate the tax number (Steuernummer)

Steuernummer – consists of five and five digits (** *** / *****). Steuernummer should be found in the documents received from the FA after the submission of the first / previous declaration. This number is assigned when the first declaration is submitted in a specific FA (it changes when you move or change your status, for example, become a freelancer).

If there is no number, then select “no number”. If the number is theoretically there (declarations were submitted), but practically it is impossible to find it, you must ask the FA.

German tax return Mantelbogen / Mantelbogen ausfüllen

The main part, which is usually in the reviews called Mantelbogen, and in the form of tax return called Hauptvordruck, became in 2019 very short, almost nothing superfluous.

We have already dealt with the most difficult part: we found the tax number. These were lines 3 and 4 of the declaration. When changing FA, fill in line 5. If desired, also line 6 with the phone.

Now we fill in personal data for partner A and partner B

German tax return Mantelbogen / Mantelbogen ausfüllen

Line 7 – identification number (available in Lohnsteuerkarte, Lohnsteuerbescheinihung).

Lines 8-13 – last name, first name, date of birth, address. When moving, the last address is indicated.

German tax return Mantelbogen / Mantelbogen ausfüllen

Separate lines 13 – address of residence in another country and the name of another country. This is only for those living in another country. I.e. if you live in Germany, you do not need to specify Germany there.

Line 14 – profession

Line 15 – marital status

German tax return Mantelbogen / Mantelbogen ausfüllen

Then for some reason line 11 – religion. “Keine Angabe” answer is not accepted. I chose the answer “not subject to church tax”.

Next, fill in the same for partner B.

German tax return Mantelbogen / Mantelbogen ausfüllen

Line 24 for families and partners – joint declaration (Zusammenveranlagung).

Paragraph 4 – bank data for money transfers.

Paragraph 5. Bekanntgabe

Paragraph 5 – to whom to send the results of the examination of the declaration. The first line is electronically to the person who submits the declaration. It is necessary to mark two checkboxes (on the screen) and indicate the email.

German tax return Mantelbogen / Mantelbogen ausfüllen
German tax return Mantelbogen / Mantelbogen ausfüllen

6. Einkommensersatzleistungen

German tax return Mantelbogen / Mantelbogen ausfüllen

Paragraph 6 – payments that can transfer your income to another “Stufe”, and therefore subject to declaration (line 96 page 4 of the previous version of the declaration or 94 of the old versions):
Krankengeld over 410 euros (this is what is paid in case of illness for more than 6 weeks),
Elterngeld (money after childbirth),
Mutterschaftsgeld (money during pregnancy).

If it says “Eintrag übernehmen” – after entering the data, you need to click on this button to confirm.

7. Opfergrenze

Paragraph 7 – Opfergrenze, for those who support someone. This help will be recognized only in a certain amount, which is called Opfergrenze. It is calculated as follows: the net income is taken, for every EUR 500 of which 1 percent is counted, but not more than 50 percent, minus five percent for each child and partner. A sample calculation can be found here: link

Paragraph 8 – additional data to the declaration. Here you enter what you definitely want to report to the FA, but there is no separate line for this (checks do not apply here)

Paragraph 9 – consultant’s help, if it was

In paragraph 10 – additional payments from the state for those low-earners who took advantage of the opportunity to save on salaries (for example, for construction) – Arbeitsnehmersparzulage.

Paragraph 11 – information about which documents are sent (those that are clearly required in the declaration)

Further – Anlage N

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