ELSTER Explanations Part II

The pre-filled tax return (retrieval of certificates)

The pre-filled tax return is a free service that provides the user with various data and certificates that make it much easier to fill out the forms. D arunter primarily include payroll tax certificate from the employer and wage replacement benefits such as parental or sickness benefits, as well as unemployment benefits.

In addition, there are pension expenses such as the Riester pension, the contributions for capital-forming benefits or information about the receipt of pension benefits as well as contributions to health and long-term care insurance

Calling up the data with ELSTER

For registered users who have also consented to the retrieval of the certificates in their user account, this data is available one day after consent. The data can also be called up more often.

Can I send my tax return via ELSTER?

There are two variants: certified shipping for registered users or non-certified shipping. Registered users have the advantage that the documents submitted are deemed to have been submitted.

Unregistered users must therefore also print out the tax return, sign it and send it to the tax office by post. Since 2017, receipts only have to be submitted on request, so they do not necessarily have to be enclosed.

Download the tax assessment from ELSTER

When using ElsterFormular or ElsterOnline, the user can indicate that he would like to collect his data electronically.

To do this, an e-mail address must be given, to which the corresponding notification will be sent that the data (the tax assessment) can be collected. This can be done in the “Notification” menu under the “Collect” function.

However, only the paper notification is legally effective! Therefore, the tax office always sends the paper version as well. However, the notifications are only made available electronically for the initial notifications.

Incidentally, the program compares the data from the tax office directly with the calculation made and shows the user the deviations. This is a good control mechanism.

Advantages of ELSTER

With ELSER, the federal and state governments are pursuing the goal of using modern means of communication to make the submission and processing of tax returns less administrative and more citizen-friendly.

According to FOODANDDRINKJOURNAL, ELSTER has many advantages not only for the tax administration, but also for the taxpayers and the tax advisors who use it.

Advantages for authorities – faster processing benefits citizens

The data for printing the tax return are recorded electronically. Therefore, they can easily be used by the tax administration for further processing in the data centers of the individual federal states.

The nationwide uniform software in the form of ERiC or COALA is used as a central component of the process; it supports the developers of tax, finance and payroll programs in complying with the interface specifications and enables transactions with the tax administration’s computers.

All interested application developers can use this software free of charge.

Tax administrations save costs, the effort for data entry is lower, which also benefits the citizens.

The factually correct information provided by the citizens is taken over as input values, extended processing times due to bottlenecks in data collection are avoided.

Benefits for citizens – fast, free and with help functions

Various versions of ELSTER are available free of charge . Electronic processing is contemporary, efficient, secure and convenient.

The portal allows the easy transfer of data from the previous year and helps with the tax calculation.

In addition, support is offered on the help page in case of problems, so that the user is not left alone with his questions.

ELSTER also provides pre-filled tax returns (i.e. access to certificates such as wages or sick pay), which makes the tax return even easier and reduces the time required.

It supports the user with a plausibility check, both when creating the tax and when transmitting it. There is also support for visually impaired users.

Both Mein ELSTER and ElsterFormular allow direct transmission to the tax office. With ElsterFormular, however, it is necessary to also print out the documents and send them signed. However, the effort for this is minimal.

There is no paper transmission for registration taxes, no form printing and no adhesive stapling of the cover sheet are required for annual tax returns.

Using the program and the electronically transmitted tax assessment data, tax advisors and taxpayers can check whether the tax office has deviated from the tax return. Because ELSTER compares the notification with the originally transmitted values.

In addition, it ensures more transparency than a paper tax return.

Security with ELSTER

ELSTER takes the protection of personal data very seriously. Last but not least, this protection is required by law and of course also applies to the tax office that receives the data ( Art. 2 GDPR ).


A declaration about data protection can be found well explained on the website. This means that every user can find out exactly how, why and what their data is being used, saved or used for.

Data security

The security of data is also a top priority at Elster and ensured by the ISO 27001 certification. ELSTER also offers detailed explanations for users on this topic on the website.

All confidential information is protected at ELSTER. The procedure is subject to the legal requirements for IT security. The legal regulations for the safety of ELSTER apply

  • Tax Code
  • Tax data transmission regulation
  • Tax data retrieval regulation
  • Federal Data Protection Act
  • Bavarian Data Protection Act
  • North Rhine-Westphalia Data Protection Act.