Yes, but the system is still under development

Yes, although the German system of electronic tax returns, known as the "Elster" (Magpie) programme, is still in its infancy. The software can be downloaded from a dedicated web site of the Federal Ministry of Finance for offline completion of the forms. The forms can then be submitted online.

All annual personal income tax returns may be submitted electronically, as may the monthly wages tax returns of employers and the monthly VAT returns of businesses. Trade tax returns and annual VAT returns are in a pilot phase, that is, they are only accepted online by certain tax offices, although even in those districts the forms can be downloaded and completed electronically.

The electronic return will be processed electronically by the tax office. Ultimately, it is intended to issue the notice of assessment to the taxpayer by return e-mail. However, the electronic assessment notice is still undergoing field trials and is not yet available from every tax office. Those submitting an income tax return online must print out a covering form on hardcopy. This must be signed by the taxpayer by hand and then sent to the tax office by post (or delivered personally), failing which the electronic return submission will be deemed invalid. The tax return software is available in the German language only. Apparently, this is because of the legal formality declaring the official language of the country to be German.

The content of this article does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on in that way. Specific advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.