If volunteers receive a small allowance, they must send their income tax return to the tax office in an authenticated form this year. Accordingly, they must not only send the declaration electronically, but they must also be certified in advance at the electronic tax office (elster.de). “Since the registration can take a few days, sufferers should register in time,” advises Isabel Klocke of the Taxpayers’ Association.

Image: Tax Office

Behind the change is the obligation that more and more tax returns must be sent electronically to the tax office. Only employees and seniors who have no other income may fill the paper forms with the pencil. If a few more euros, for example from a voluntary activity, are added, the declaration must be sent electronically authenticated.

“Especially for employees who work part-time, for example, in a club children, the innovation is first unusual,” says Klocke. As a rule, they do not have to pay any taxes for the income from the exercise of the activity or the voluntary work: for volunteers up to 720 euros a year are tax-free and for instructors even 2400 euros. Nevertheless, the income must be entered in the income tax return.

If the activity is not carried out under an employment relationship, this now triggers the obligation to participate in the authenticated procedure. The so-called compressed tax return, in which one sent the tax return electronically to the tax office, but then sent a paper print with his signature by post, is no longer possible for independent trainers and volunteers taxpayers. The handwritten signature will be replaced by the electronic signature.
“Only in cases of hardship a tax in paper form is still allowed,” explains Klocke. This is conceivable for pensioners, for example, who do not have a computer at home and are volunteers.