I'm about to graduate from a German university. At the beginning of the year, I am working a HiWi (research assistant) job, and the contract ends in March. After I graduate I'm going to take up a full-time job in Germany (e.g. starting in April, or maybe even starting in March, when my HiWi contract is still effective). I think for the full-time job the employer will withhold the tax automatically when they pay you, but apparently the university didn't withhold any tax when they paid my HiWi salaries, since if one only takes the HiWi job, their income will not exceed the personal taxation threshold.

However, with my full-time income, my total annual income will definitely exceed the threshold.

A few related questions ensue:

  • Does this mean I'll have to "nachzahlen" my taxes for the HiWi part of the income (which according to this post seems to belong to class VI)?

  • Will it be automatically sorted out when I file my tax returns later in the year, and I don't need to worry about it now?

  • Does the company need to take my HiWi income into account when they calculate how much tax to withhold (also, I suppose the amount of tax to withhold each month is different depending on whether I start the job in March or in April, since my yearly income would be different)? Or is it not the case since those two income sources could belong to different tax classes.

It all seems a bit confusing.

I wonder if the HiWi income in addition to main job situation is comparable to having, say, income from a side project when you are also working a full-time job at the same time.

1 Answer 1


It is actually more funny.

1: you likely get money back. See, the withhold ASSUMES the same income every month, but your HIWI income is lower. So, you acutally more likely OVERPAY than underpay. IF you underpay, then you have to pay (nachzahlen). It is extremely likely you get money back.

2: Yes, as in your tax return will result in a letter from tax authorities to pay up if you ahve to do so, which is automatic. No, in that you have to have the money ;)

3: No, they do not care. There are formulas for that - and they asume same payment every month, that is what the law says. You overpay, then this gets sorted out in the tax return.

  • 1
    I see. So the point is that the amount of tax withheld is always the same for each month, even if I started working only in December. Then, at the tax filing, the authorities would refund me the extra amount?
    – xji
    Feb 1, 2019 at 13:36
  • 3
    Yes. Withholding is based on 12 months same income.It is a simplified withholding that is supposed to make sure you never underpay, unless you have external income that has to be taxed. This is why you are SUPPOSED to make a tax return - Lohnsteuerhilfevereine. Everyone pretty much gets money back.
    – TomTom
    Feb 1, 2019 at 13:59
  • 2
    This, and for sure you have some things to deduct, like commute from home to work etc. so returns are usually even greater.
    – Daniel
    Feb 1, 2019 at 16:35
  • 1
    @TomTom: NOT making a tax return is pretty much always a BAD idea in Germany.
    – gnasher729
    Feb 2, 2019 at 15:49
  • 1
    @TomTom Surely it would be a good idea for the taxpayer? Otherwise you wouldn't get the deductions back.
    – xji
    Feb 3, 2019 at 0:06

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