Almost 36 million property tax returns should be with the tax offices by the end of October. By the end of August, not even 15 percent had been received. Tips on how to deal with the annoying explanation.

Since July 1, millions of property owners have been obliged to provide the tax authorities with data on their condominiums, houses and land. By the end of October, a total of almost 36 million property tax returns should have been submitted – a separate one for each property. Electronically at that. The property tax must be recalculated. But the largest tax project of the post-war period is not making any headway. More than half of the four-month deadline is already over – but not even a full 15 percent of the required declarations were received by the tax offices by the end of August, according to the Federal Ministry of Finance. Which stumbling blocks await Elster when filling out the forms online – and where help can be organised.

The state is demanding the active help of citizens so that the previous calculation of property tax can be put on a new footing, as requested by the Federal Constitutional Court in 2018. But the plan hasn’t worked out so far. The taxpayers take their time. “In Berlin, only about 5 percent of the declarations have been made by the end of August, in Bavaria about 15, that’s meager,” says Florian Köbler, the federal chairman of the German tax union. Hartmut Schwab, President of the Federal Chamber of Tax Advisors, is also concerned: “Currently, no federal state is achieving a tax rate that is even remotely adequate.”

The reform for the new property tax is complex – and this year it will require owners. You have to submit some data to the tax office. You have to be very precise and observe special deadlines. In our large guide you will find all the information you need to know in a compact form.

Countless citizens flew out of the Elster system again and again in the first few weeks when filling out the online declaration and initially gave up in frustration. Seniors in particular feel overwhelmed, says Köbler. “Everyone just scolds the bureaucratic monster.” Tax laypeople quickly realize that the digital tax return is not child’s play. The questions are sometimes confusing. There are also some stumbling blocks. If you use too much space or values ​​that are too high, you will later pay too much property tax. And if you give too little, you commit tax evasion. Not all federal states ask the same questions. By no means every land registry office has been digitized. And then there are farmers who don’t even know exactly what is theirs, as Daniela Karbe-Gessler from the Taxpayers’ Association in Berlin reports.

The property tax return must be submitted by October 31, 2022: With the “GrundsteuerErklärung” software from, you can master the task yourself in no time at all.

The calls from business and politics to give owners more time are getting louder and louder. “Four months are simply not enough for the mass of declarations, the deadline should be the end of January 2023,” demands Karbe-Gessler. The overburdened tax consultants demand an equalization of at least six months. The Federal Ministry of Finance is still keeping a low profile, “observing the development closely”, as it says. Especially since the deadline at the end of October was not set by the federal government, but by the states. “The pressure to sell should be maintained for a while, but the extension will come,” Köbler is convinced. However, all declarations should be with the tax offices by spring 2023 at the latest. Then there is just enough time to get the basic notifications ready. The municipalities will then determine the new property tax rate in 2024. It will be due from 2025.

Lamenting doesn’t help the more than 30 million owners who still have the annoying tax return to do. Whether with or without an extension of the deadline: This tax return is also a civic duty, you can’t ignore it. “There shouldn’t be any surcharges for delays, but the tax office will impose fines at some point,” Karbe-Gessler points out. Owners should now pull themselves together and try to get the tax done after all, advises Michael Nack, a lawyer at the Bonn Association for Home Ownership (WiE). “It doesn’t help.”

There are two ways to submit your tax return free of charge. Once about magpie. However, according to the experts at Stiftung Warentest, the program is not always easy to understand. Most tax offices provide filling-in instructions, some also provide step-by-step videos on the Internet. Owners who cannot cope can get help from their children, neighbors or friends with an Elster certificate. Important: If you want to avoid stumbling blocks and expensive mistakes, you should use the online advice portal “Finanztip” to complete the form. The download with the tangible tips is free ( ). The second, less complicated way is via the property tax portal of the Federal Ministry of Finance ( ). The catch: The site only helps with property in the eleven countries that calculate according to the federal model. Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hamburg, Hesse and Lower Saxony will no longer apply.

If you have to pass online, you can also submit the property tax return on paper if necessary. The questionnaires are said to be easier to fill out. Online support is provided by commercial providers such as the Wiso property tax software. It costs just under 30 euros, but according to experts it does a good job. According to Stiftung Warentest, the program is easy to use. For EUR 39.90, the Berlin online portal LAMA helps you get your tax return in order ( The users are thus guided to a finished declaration that goes directly to the tax office in a legally secure manner. A land register excerpt can be obtained for an extra charge, and a free area calculation is also possible on request. The most expensive solution is the tax consultant. If necessary, the law firms can also help with the procurement of data. But: In many places, the deadlines are already tight.

Before filing a tax return, owners should find out what data is required in the federal state in which the property or property is located, emphasizes Nack. Sometimes land register entries, land value and year of construction are required, sometimes it is also about data in the purchase contract and declaration of division. If property is spread over several federal states, it can be time-consuming. Tax consultants are also dependent on owners first finding the data on the property themselves from their documents. But most of the work is already done. How expensive the new property tax is in the end depends not least on the location of the property and the municipal assessment rates. Experts expect property tax to become more expensive in the future, especially in metropolitan areas.