If you owe money to the public authorities, any overpaid tax can be used to cover these debts. This is called offsetting.

Offsetting may occur if you owe

  • taxes or interest on overdue payments from previous years
  • maintenance payments
  • value added tax (VAT) and excise duties
  • compensation claims based on rulings by a criminal or civil court
  • other state or municipal claims, for example parking fines or property taxes

After offsetting, you'll receive a letter detailing who has performed the offsetting and which claims that have been set off.

If there is still money left after the offsetting, it will be paid out to you.

Appealing against offsetting

You can appeal against the offsetting if you need the tax refund to pay for basic living costs. However, this does not apply if the offsetting is between claims of the same type (for example when underpaid tax is set off against overpaid tax).

You cannot appeal against the offsetting if

  • you have booked a vacation
  • you have a private loan you were planning to pay off
  • you intended to save the money

The information letter you receive after the offsetting contains information on how to appeal.

The appeal deadline is one month.