Wage and income tax Methodological notes on the results

Income tax is one of the most important sources of public revenue. The data available to the fiscal authorities as part of the taxation procedure provide the basis for wage and income tax statistics. They take into account taxpayers who submitted an income tax return (assessed cases) as well as those who did not submit an income tax return (non-assessed cases) but from whom wage tax was collected.

At present, the statistics comprise 1,500 variables and provide information on a variety of issues such as:
Who pays the solidarity surcharge? What are the costs of childcare? Do parents with higher income tend to send their children to private schools? How many pensioners pay income tax? How many income millionaires are there in Germany? What amount of donations attracted tax relief? What is the average amount of tax refund?

The data of the wage and income tax statistics are also used for fiscal policy purposes, such as dividing up wage tax and distributing the municipal income tax shares.

Wage and income tax statistics have been collected and published annually since the reference year 2012. Until 2010, the statistics were produced only every three years. In addition, annual income tax statistics were compiled centrally at the Federal Statistical Office in the form of administrative statistics for the years from 2001 to 2011. These statistics were limited to assessed taxpayers and selective edit checks, and the Länder were the lowest level of detail in the published results.

The data from the annual statistics are linked to a panel over time, which enables further analysis, for example of the taxpayers' adjustment reactions to changes in tax legislation.