Income tax in Germany is usually deducted from your salary.
You must declare your income to the Tax Office (Finanzamt)
before the end of June, for the preceeding calendar year. Following
your declaration, you will be asked to pay tax or you will be
paid back (Steuerrückzahlung).
To get a tax declaration form you must call your local Finanzamt.
Your employer will give you a form with the taxable amount on
it; social security contributions are deducted before calculating
the taxable amount.
There are further concessions made (called Abzüge) when
calculating the taxable amount. Some of these are applicable to
everyone and others are reserved for certain professions.
After your first declaration, forms will be sent to you automatically
by the authorities.
The Germany Embassy publishes some information about taxes
in Germany. It's a good idea to hire a tax consultant
(Steuerberater) to guide you through the complexities of
these things. Your nearest consulate or embassy will have
lists of such consultants. The German Finanzamt
will also give you tax advice at no charge; the site is in
German but has an extensive list of contact details.
You can also find an informative brochure on Social Security
in Germany published by the
German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs on the
The main retail banks are
There are also Savings banks (Sparkassen).
These are owned by towns or cities and are not national.
They originally just offered savings accounts but now there isn't
much difference in the range of services they offer and the private