Many health insurance companies reward health-conscious behavior by their members, such as a doctor’s check-up, a dental check-up or membership in a sports club with a financial bonus. A person with statutory health insurance was also happy about a premium of 230 euros – at least until the tax office came to the conclusion that the bonus reduced health insurance contributions. The result: the tax office reduced the insured’s special expenses deduction by 230 euros. This complained against it and was in principle right by the Federal Fiscal Court.
“The cash bonus (bonus) granted by a statutory health insurance company for health-conscious behavior does not reduce the deduction of special expenses for health insurance contributions, provided that it compensates for a financial expense of the taxpayer in whole or in part,” stated the highest German tax court (X R 16/18). This also applies in cases in which the bonus is determined on a lump-sum basis. However, the court restricted the fact that the respective funded measure triggers costs for the taxpayer “and the lump sum paid for this and realistically designed is suitable for fully or partially compensating for one’s own expenses”.
The situation is different with preventive measures that are already covered by basic health insurance such as vaccinations or dental care. “In this case, there is a reimbursement of contributions from the health insurance that reduces the deduction of special expenses,” said the court, which would then also have tax implications. The same applies to bonuses that are paid for evidence of non-effort-related behavior or failure (healthy body weight or no smoking).
Conclusion: Health-conscious behavior is always worthwhile anyway, regardless of the money. But if you actually have expenses for it and therefore receive a bonus from your health insurance, you should make sure that you do not suffer any financial disadvantage when making your tax assessment. The ruling of the Federal Fiscal Court should now provide clarity.
The article was published in Personal-Financial.com 11/2020. interested in Personal-Financial.com? Here is the Subscription shopwhere you can order the print version. Our digital edition is available at iTunes and GooglePlay