The tax return is a chore for many. But the effort can be worth it – if you know what you can claim. We have 15 tips for you.
Some people just have to hear the word “tax return” when they start yawning. Annoying paperwork, boring work – that’s what many Germans call it. But if you put something in, you can expect a substantial refund. You only have to know how. t-online.de collected 15 tips:
1. Dog groomer
Dog groomer when grooming a Havanese: It is crucial for the tax office where the four-legged friend is styled. (Source: CHROMORANGE / imago images)
The Germans love their dogs. The over ten million mistresses and masters also know that keeping their four-legged friends can cost money. However, certain costs can be claimed. How to save taxes with your pet.
If you don’t have your darling sheared or trimmed by a dog groomer at home, not in the dog salon, you can deduct the costs from the tax. In this case, it is a household-related service, explains the Vereinigte Lohnsteuerhilfe e. V. (VLH). Well then, off the mat – but only in your own four walls!
2. Care costs
A man with a rollator dries dishes in his kitchen: If you need support in everyday life, the tax office can share the costs. (Source: photothek / imago images)
At an advanced age, many things in the household are no longer so easy. Some seniors also need someone to help them with shopping, cooking, or daily grooming. Many of these expenses can be deducted from tax.
But that depends on whether the taxpayer is recognized as a person in need of care or simply needs help in everyday life without a degree of care, says Ulrich Reimann from the Düsseldorf Tax Adviser Association. If you are not classified as in need of care and need support, you can state up to 20 percent of the costs as household-related services in the tax return.
3. Immediate depreciation for the self-employed
Young woman in front of a shop: Self-employed people can help the tax office to bear the cost of work equipment. (Source: Westend61 / imago images)
The annual tax return is much more extensive for freelancers and the self-employed than for an employee. However, there is now good news: The limits for immediate depreciation of low-value assets – such as an office chair, shop fittings or smartphone – have been raised from 410 to 800 euros.
4. Training and further education costs
Tax return: You can specify further and advanced training costs as professional expenses in Appendix N under advertising costs. (Source: Jens Büttner / dpa)
If you would like to receive further training, you can deduct the expenses for this from tax. This can be worth it because course and examination fees, costs for specialist literature, work equipment or travel expenses all add up.
In order for your further training to be recognized for tax purposes, one condition must be fulfilled: it should enable you to “maintain and adapt your professional ability to act or to expand and advance professionally”, it says in § 1 of the Vocational Training Act (BBiG). Then you can deduct the expenses as advertising costs. There is no upper limit.
A teacher reads out in a daycare center: Parents can claim childcare costs. (Source: Julian Stratenschulte / dpa)
The music school, new school books, the school trip – children cost money. Parents have to carry a lot by themselves. With the tax return it is still possible to deduct one or two issues. For children up to the age of 14, parents can, for example, claim two thirds of the childcare costs up to a maximum of 4,000 euros per year and child – for daycare, day care or childminder, according to Christina Georgiadis from the VLH.
But: “Parents must have an invoice for the cost of childcare and pay it by bank transfer,” says Georgiadis. The tax office does not recognize cash payments.
6. Travel expenses
Cyclists and cars on the road: The trip to the workplace is taxed at a flat rate of 30 cents per kilometer traveled. (Source: Gabriel de Almeida Vergani / Getty Images)
At one point or another, the tax authorities look particularly closely. For example, with the travel costs. The route can be checked with the route planner – also from the tax office. Also not a good idea: cheating on the number of working days, because that is also easy to understand.
Commuters can deduct a flat rate tax of 30 cents per kilometer from the workplace. It is irrelevant whether the route was covered by your own car, as a passenger, by bicycle or by public transport. Also, the shortest route does not have to be specified if there is a longer but time-saving route.
While drivers can claim the distance costs indefinitely, passengers can only deduct a maximum of 4,500 euros per year from the tax return. Public transport journeys are also recognized in the amount incurred if these can be documented.
By the way: If the car needs repairs, you can also deduct the taxi costs for this period.
7. Moving expenses
Moving boxes and furnishings: If you move because of a new job, you can deduct the costs of the tour and relocation. (Source: archideaphoto / Getty Images)
Finally a new apartment or dream house has been found, the boxes are packed and the moving service has been ordered. As soon as they arrive at the new home, the bill flutters into the house. Yes, moving can be quite expensive.
If there are professional reasons for moving, the moving costs can be claimed as advertising costs in the tax return: for example, moving to another city to take up a job or if the move significantly shortens the journey to the workplace. The costs for the moving company and the expenses for an apartment inspection must be documented by invoices.
8. Operating costs
Mop, bucket and cleaning agent: Tenants can deduct the pro rata costs for building cleaning or garden maintenance from the tax. (Source: gilaxia / Getty Images)
For tenants, it comes back every year: the operating cost statement. Few get something back, many have to pay back. But tenants can recover some of the costs through the tax return – if the landlord does his homework.
For this he has to break down the costs for the caretaker, the cleaning of the building or the maintenance of the garden for the tenants. With the operating cost statement, the tenant should be able to determine the amounts due for household-related services and craftsman services. In total, tax savings of up to € 5,200 per year can be achieved.
9. Company car
Refueling a car: Private costs incurred when using a company car are recognized by the tax authorities. (Source: deepblue4you / Getty Images)
In many cases, the company car is used not only for work-related reasons, but also for private trips and trips to work. For a long time, the tax authorities refused to recognize the costs of the company car borne by the employee for tax purposes. But that’s the end.
For example, if you pay for petrol, vehicle tax or car maintenance for your company car out of your own pocket, you can state the costs in the tax return. You will then be deducted from the monetary benefit – but only up to an amount of 0 euros. If the employee’s costs were higher than the monetary benefit, the remaining amount has no tax implications.
A prerequisite for the deduction is that the employee also uses the company car privately and taxes the benefit at a flat rate according to the one percent rule. Alternatively, a logbook can be kept in which professional and private trips are documented. So diligently collect fuel receipts and submit them with your tax return.
10. Process costs
Wedding rings: A legal marriage separation costs money – especially when the ex-partners are no longer green. (Source: Zolnierek / Getty Images)
Even if it is not a divorce à la Hollywood in the millions and there is also no threat of a war of roses – for the legal separation of a marriage, couples in this country sometimes have to dig deep into their pockets. So far, divorce costs could be considered as extraordinary burdens.
However, the Federal Fiscal Court decided that this is no longer possible. With one exception: According to section 33 (2) sentence 4 of the Income Tax Act, the basic prohibition on deduction for litigation costs does not apply if the taxpayer runs the risk of losing his livelihood and not being able to meet his necessary needs in the usual way. However, legal costs for a divorce proceedings are not included.
11. Farewell party when changing jobs
Birthday party in the office: If you spend something with your colleagues during working hours, you can deduct the costs from the tax. (Source: Westend61 / imago images)
If you leave a company and want to say goodbye to your colleagues with a small party, you can deduct the costs from the tax. You can also claim other personal occasions that you celebrate with work colleagues, such as service anniversaries, birthdays or promotions, as advertising costs.
Catering is considered to be professionally arranged in any case if the employee organizes the event, it takes place in the company premises during working hours and only work colleagues are invited.
But you can also set off a part-time, partly part-time celebration – namely that part of the cost that is due to guests from the professional environment.
12. Technical literature
Open books: The state may contribute to the costs of specialist literature. (Source: blickwinkel / imago images)
It has become significantly more difficult, but specialist books and journals that you use in your job also reduce the tax burden (for example, chemistry books for chemistry teachers). However, you need to be able to present a receipt that includes the author’s name, title and publisher.
Daily newspapers, however, are not tax deductible. Magazines such as “Der Spiegel” or “Personal-Financial.com” are also not recognized. If you are unemployed and keep up to date with specialist literature, you can claim your expenses as previously incurred advertising costs for tax purposes.
13. Accident costs
A battered car is on the side of the road: if the driver was traveling for work, he can state the cost of the accident with the tax. (Source: Sven Simon / imago images)
Are you traveling by car for work and had an accident? You can deduct costs for repairs, damage compensation payments to the opponent of the accident, towing costs or the deductible for full and partial comprehensive insurance as advertising costs.
A professional trip is not only the route between home and the first place of work, but also a trip to buy work equipment, to an interview or to further training.
14. Account management fees
An account statement shows the account fees: The tax office recognizes a flat rate of 16 euros. (Source: CHROMORANGE / imago images)
You can deduct the costs for an account to which your salary is transferred or from which you spend on specialist literature or work equipment as advertising costs. The tax office generally recognizes 16 euros for employees without the need for special proof.
A woman holds a rose in her hand: funerals are considered an extraordinary tax burden. (Source: photothek / imago images)
The cost of a funeral is considered an extraordinary charge if it exceeds the value of the inheritance. In addition to the funeral itself, this also includes expenses for tombstones, gravesites or flower arrangements. However, the entertainment costs of the mourners, travel expenses for the funeral and the expenses for the mourning clothing are not deductible.