Social insurance deductions and Taxes


Postdocs with funding contracts are considered employees, thus their remuneration is subject to taxes. In these cases, the institute will automatically deduce your taxes from your salary and transfer it to the state. How much taxes you need to pay depends on your income and family status. At the end of the year you have the opportunity for a tax return. You have the option of doing so electronically or via a tax advisor.

It may be that if you work for two years as a visiting scientist, you yourself can pay your taxes in your own country. This is due to agreements with some countries that allow higher education teachers and researchers who spend a maximum of two years doing research at a public research institution abroad to pay their taxes in their own country. You can check it out on the Federal Ministry of Finance website.

Fellow holders considered guest scientist are usually exempt of taxes under German income tax law. Your tax status as a fellow will be determined by the authorities in your host country. We recommend that you discuss taxation matters with the organization which awarded the fellowship.

Social Insurance deductions

The social security system in Germany includes health insurance, pension schemes, unemployment benefit, accident and long-term care insurance.

Postdocs on a contract will have to contribute to the social security system in Germany. The institute will pay the employer’s part of health care, unemployment insurance and pensions; the employee’s part to be paid by the postdoc is deducted automatically from the salary. In addition, the postdoc is insured by the institute against work-related accidents and occupational illnesses.

Postdocs on a fellowship are usually exempt to contribute to the social security system. Notwithstanding this fact, fellow holders must be covered by health insurance (link to HS section)

Pension plan

If you are joining the MPIPZ as a postdoc with a contract, you will contribute to the statutory pension. As every employee in Germany, the contribution is shared in half between employee and employer. Because you are under the Collective Wage Agreement for Government Service Workers (TVöD), occupational pension is compulsory. After your arrival, you will be offer different types of occupational pension schemes to choose.

For information on pension plan, you can check:

For more information about social security contributions, please refer to

It often occurs that the pension plan and unemployment benefits information are only checked at the end of a postdoc stay. However, it is rather important to understand the choices from the beginning as benefits afterwards, interests and other variables depend on your decisions at the beginning of your postdoc.

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