If your employment contract with the Goethe University is for a period of more than 6 months, then you must regularly pay your income taxes and social security contributions (there are some exemptions though).
Income tax is deducted by the employer at source and is directly transferred to the State. The amount of income tax depends on your income, family status and taxation class. Approximately two weeks after your registration with the city of Frankfurt you will receive a letter containg your tax ID. Please enter this number into the tax form handed to you by GU's Personalservices department and submit it to this department to define how much tax GU must withhold from each salary payment.
In Germany, the State levies a church tax for the major churches in Germany. If you belong to a religious denomination, you must state this when filling GU's tax form. If you are belong to the Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, the Reformed Protestant Church, the Jewish Community or certain evangelical or protestant free churches, you have to pay church tax in Germany (about 9% of the income tax). This is not the case if you belong, for example, to the Anglican Church or the Orthodox Church. If in doubt, please contact the GWC or the Residents' Registration Office for advice.
Double taxation: To prevent foreigners from having to pay taxes both in Germany and in their home country with respect to the same income, so-called Double Taxation Agreements have been concluded with 75 countries. These agreements govern in detail which country is entitled to collect the relevant taxes. Scientists from certain countries are exempted from German tax payments for up to two years. However, these exemptions have to be applied for with the local tax authorities. Please note the arrangements for your home country. For further information please contact the human resources division (Personalservices) or the GWC. The appropriate form can be downloaded on the right side of this page.
At the end of each calendar year, you may file an annual tax declaration to the taxation department. However, you are not obliged to do so. Under certain circumstances you may receive a refund of some of the taxes that you have paid. The relevant forms are available from the Finanzamt itself or online. As German tax legislation is complicated, you should ask the Finanzamt for advice. It can also be beneficial to enlist the services of a tax adviser to prepare your tax return, however please note that the tax adviser will charge for this service. A considerably more economic tax consultancy may be obtained by joing a wage tax help association. One partly English speaking option in Frankfurt may be found here.
Scholarships are generally tax-free, if the following conditions are met: they must be paid by public a institution to promote research and training. They must not exceed the sum required to cover the cost of living. Exemption from taxes also means that no social security contributions have to be paid and you will have to enroll with a private health insurance.
For further information on taxes, see EURAXESS Germany.
Foto: Dieter Schütz/pixelio.de