Working in Karlsruhe?

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Working in Karlsruhe

Karlsruhe possesses a boosting economy with plenty development and technological innovation ideal for expats seeking on working there. Find more information about Karlsruhe’s local economy, work permits and income taxation in our guide.

Local Economy

Many expatriates working in Karlsruhe are drawn to the city by its thriving economy, which is based heavily around energy production and technological research and development. During the 1990s, Karlsruhe was known as the internet capital of Germany, as the local university provided the vast majority of internet services for the country. Although this is no longer the case, the city remains a hotbed of technological innovation, and it is estimated that around 20% of jobs in region are in research and development at companies in the Technologieregion Karlsruhe, the local business group for technology companies. Karlsruhe's energy sector is headed by EnBW, one of the largest energy companies in Germany, which has its headquarters in the city. EnBW had a total revenue of 19.2 billion EUR in 2012.

Work Permits for Karlsruhe

Whether or not you will need a permit to work in Karlsruhe depends on your nationality. As Germany is member of the European Union, citizens of EU and EEA states and Switzerland will not need a permit to work in Karlsruhe. However, citizens of some new EU member states and certain Eastern European countries will need a work permit, so you are advised to check with your embassy; non-EU citizens will also require a work permit. In order to apply for a permit to work in Karlsruhe, you will need to have employment secured in the city, as your employer will need to sponsor your application. They will need to prove that your prospective role cannot be filled by a German national or an EU/EEA citizen in order for the permit to be granted. 

Income Taxation in Karlsruhe

Expatriates working in Karlsruhe will be required to pay income tax on their earnings. If you live and work in Karlsruhe for more than 183 days in a year, you are classed as a resident of Germany for tax purposes, and will pay income tax at the German rate on your worldwide income. If you reside in Germany for less than 183 days in a year, you are a non-resident, and will pay tax at German rates on your German income only. Germany has a progressive, sliding scale tax system, which means that the amount of income tax you pay is determined by your total income. The German tax rates for expatriates working in Karlsruhe for 2015 are as follows:

  • Up to 8,354 EUR (or 16,708 EUR for jointly assessed married couples) — no income tax
  • Between 8,355 EUR and 52,881 EUR (or between 16,709 EUR and 105,762 EUR for jointly assessed married couples) — 14%
  • Between 52,882 EUR and 250,730 EUR (or between 105,763 and 501,460 EUR for jointly assessed married couples) — 42%
  • Above 250,731 EUR (or above 501,461 EUR for jointly assessed married couples) — 45%

On top of the income tax, a 5.5% solidarity charge is also levied for people in the higher income brackets. This extra charge is applicable on those paying income tax in excess of 972 EUR (1,944 EUR for married couples).

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