A full guide to your wage deductions (minimizing): Working in Germany

The German payslip may look intimidating at first glance with its long list of small-printed abbreviations and wordy technical terms. But it’s not as complicated as it seems – and with a few easy modifications, you could end up paying substantially less in monthly wage deductions.

Without a relatively sophisticated German understanding, even with the assistance of Google Translate, the lengthy list of deductions on your payslip can make your head spin. This is partially due to some of these deductions being peculiar to Germany and partially because they are in German. But rest assured, you pay as much in taxes and fees as indigenous Germans do and, once translated and broken into digestible pieces, the distinction between your net revenue (your employer’s salary paid to you) and your gross revenue (your deduction salary) is quite simple.

On the other side, the German Church Tax (Kirchensteuer) is entirely optional – and simple to choose from. For citizens of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, the Church tax is 8 percent of the paid revenue tax and 9 percent for residents of all other Federal States of Germany. Those who wish to opt-out of this tax should pay a visit to the citizens ‘ office (Bürgeramt) of their local municipality for further help.

If you opt for personal health insurance, you could also save cash in other respects. While citizens of Germany covered by government health insurance pay a tiny nominal fee for prescription drugs, with a personal scheme such as ottonova’s expat health insurance, your expenses will be completely covered – you will be reimbursed for all medicines and fundamental dental expenses. Also, compared to government insurance, complete private health plans of this kind give a wider range of medical and dental treatments, and private patients often receive a greater amount of hospital service and are prepared to apply for an English-speaking doctor.