Residence (Wohnsitz)

Under § 8 of the German General Fiscal Code a taxpayer has a residence (Wohnsitz ) in Germany if he possesses a dwelling in Germany under circumstances from which it can be assumed that he will keep it and use it. A dwelling in this sense is a living space objectively suitable for living. A modest dwelling is sufficient. It is not necessary to have a self-contained apartment with a kitchen and separate washing facilities as defined by the valuation law.  the taxpayer must occupy the dwelling, i.e. he must actually be able to dispose of it and use it as a place to stay not only temporarily (BFH judgements of 24.4.1964, VI 236/62 U, BStBl III p. 462, and of 6.3.1968, I 38/65, BStBl II p. 439). It is sufficient that the dwelling is used, for example, regularly twice a year for several weeks at certain times over a period of years (BFH judgment of 23.11.1988, II R 139/87, BStBl 1989 II p. 182). Indications for this can be the furnishings and fittings; it is not necessary that the taxpayer stays in the dwelling for a minimum number of days or weeks per year (BFH ruling of 19 March 1997, I R 69/96, BStBl II p. 447). What is required, however, is a use that goes beyond mere visits, short-term vacation stays and visiting the home for administrative purposes (BFH ruling of September 25, 2014 - III R 10/14, BFHE 247, 239, BStBl II 2015, 655, marginal no. 14 f., with further references).Anyone who takes an apartment from the outset with the intention of keeping and using it only temporarily (less than six months) does not establish a residence there (BFH ruling of 30 August 1989, I R 215/85, BStBl II p. 956). Occasional overnight stays on a domestic business premises, in an office, etc.  do not constitute residence there (BFH ruling of 6 February 1985, I R 23/82, BStBl II p. 331). A person who stays - even at regular intervals - in the home of a relative or acquaintance also does not establish a residence there (BFH ruling of 24 October 1969, IV 290/64, BStBl 1970 II p. 109), unless it is also the person's own home, as in the case of a family home or the home of a shared apartment. 

The question of residence must be examined separately for each person in the case of spouses/life partners and other family members. However, persons may maintain a domicile through a family member. A spouse/life partner who does not live permanently separated generally has his or her domicile where his or her family lives (BFH ruling of February 6, 1985, I R 23/82, BStBl II p. 331).