What is essential for income tax

How does an income tax table help?

Updated on by Michael Mühl

An income tax table tries to put the sometimes very complicated tax laws into an easy-to-understand picture. Employees with only one salary can easily read in such tables how high the annual taxation actually is. In the tables, allowances and increasing tax rates are taken into account.

Calculate progressive tax rates

The percentage of a salary to be paid to the tax office cannot be calculated with a simple formula due to numerous exceptions. While the first around 10,000 euros are completely exempt from income tax, the entry tax rate is calculated for the next 5,000 euros. The tax rate then rises in legally stipulated steps until it remains constant again for income that exceeds around 260,000 euros per year. Even with the highest income, all allowances are deducted first and then the lower tax rates are calculated step by step. If you exceed the corresponding amount by one euro, you only have to pay the higher tax rate for this one euro.

Tip: You can also use our calculator to determine your personal income tax for calculating your personal tax burden

Read the table correctly

Since the same tax exemptions do not apply to all employees, the current income tax tables are usually filled out for different living circumstances. You have to find the field for your current annual income in your tax class and can read off the income tax you have to pay. For each tax bracket, you should also fill out some columns that apply to parents of underage children. Since an allowance is assumed for each child, the number of children affects the amount of taxes. If you fill out a joint tax return with your spouse, you should look for the column for the respective tax class combination in the table and read off the taxes for the joint income. With an assessment in the tax class combination IV + IV, reading the table is no longer so easy, as the difference between the two incomes can lead to a different tax burden. In this situation, an income tax calculator is much simpler and more accurate.

Tables can be confusing

The German income tax law is very complex. Therefore, the tables offered are not a relief for every taxpayer. If you do several jobs and perhaps also earn an income from self-employment, the calculation becomes so extensive that you only get a very rough overview based on a table. Complex family situations with different maintenance obligations also make the table difficult to use. However, you can often get an initial overview and find out whether the effort of a detailed calculation is even worthwhile.


In particular, we used the information from the following sources for the topic of "income tax":

Last update on April 12th, 2021

The pages of the topic "Income Tax" were last editorially checked on April 12th, 2021 by Michael Mühl. They are all up to date.

Previous changes on 11/13/2020

  • November 13th, 2020: Adjustment of the income tax calculator and the examples to the income tax rate 2021
  • 04/11/2019: Adjustment of the income tax calculator and the examples to the 2020 income tax rate
  • Editorial revision of all texts in this subject area