Wage tax calculator: cheap, simple – wrong

The third part of the series again deals with easily recognizable software errors.

In this case, it is not missing fields, but rather “unnecessary” existing fields that largely lead to misadvice.

Many pension measures are state-subsidised in the qualifying phase – and taxed or contributed to on a deferred basis. It is therefore often the case in consultations that questions are asked about the different tax incentives for the individual types of pension in the individual case.

Income tax savings play an important role here.

In order to be able to answer this question, all income relevant to income tax must be recorded, including that of the spouse in the case of married couples assessed jointly. Many consultants find this too costly.

Therefore, they resort to income tax calculators that make do with far less data. But this convenience can be expensive, as the following example shows:

The husband has a gross annual salary of 30,000 euros, which is subject to compulsory pension insurance, and rental income of 12,000 euros per annum. His wife is also employed, but is not subject to the statutory pension obligation. These wage tax calculators ask for the wage tax class in order to be able to calculate the wage tax.

Depending on the wage tax class, the then calculated saved wage tax is different, as the adjacent software example shows: The only difference is the wage tax class, tax class V or tax class III. The difference in tax savings is substantial – nearly 90 percent difference. But the value is not correct – and not only because the income tax saved is independent of income tax brackets.

The correct result depends on further data that cannot be entered and may be below the previously specified savings – or above or in between. The intermediary is in a delicate position, especially if his expertise is proven by certification: he would have to insist, as an agent ” if necessary through the house association” on a correctly calculating software. The insurer’s indemnity is of little help to him, because it is usually as full of holes as Swiss cheese – it very rarely prevents recourse. The broker also gets into the uninsured area with his VSH:

Firstly, forecasts (and associated calculations) are regularly not covered; secondly, the intermediary is in breach of core obligations if he uses software without independently identifying such “simple” errors in the context of a plausibility check; and thirdly, there is no cover for “tax” advice to clients. The customer feels deceived at the end and will demand also from the mediator missing differences or a back completion. Criminal proceedings or an IHK complaint may lead to the revocation of the broker’s licence.


by Dr. Wolfgang Drols and Dr. Johannes Fiala

by courtesy of

www.versicherungsmagazin.de (published in Versicherungsmagazin 11/2008)

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About the author

Dr. Johannes Fiala Dr. Johannes Fiala

Dr. Johannes Fiala has been working for more than 25 years as a lawyer and attorney with his own law firm in Munich. He is intensively involved in real estate, financial law, tax and insurance law. The numerous stages of his professional career enable him to provide his clients with comprehensive advice and to act as a lawyer in the event of disputes.
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