Tax return in Germany. Elster online. Anlage N. Working expenses

Last Updated on October 9, 2023

Second part of Anlage N of tax return in Germany is working expenses (Werbungskosten) – work clothers, books, home office, tax consultant, search for new work, etc.

In the first part we write off way to the work.

Beginning with Anlage N and costs of way to work

All I can return from tax: A-D, E-H, I-N, P-W, Außergewöhnliche Belastungen
Who should file a tax return in Germany
Pre-filled declaration in Elster
How to calculate tax in Germany. What is written in Berechnung in Elster
Anlage N-Aus, Anlage Wa-Est, Homeoffice
Anlage Kind
Anlage Vorsorgeaufwand
Anlage Sonderausgaben
Anlage Haushaltnahe Diensleistungen 35a
Tax declaration Germany. Anlage EÜR

Let me remind you that I am not a professional tax consultant. Declarations are considered from the point of view of an ordinary user: a family with children and one working person of average income.

Moving on to other working expenses

Line 41 – contributions to the labor union.

Lines 42-43 indicate the cost of devices acquired for work: a computer, work clothes (meaning, of course, not jeans and not a suit for meetings), tools, office supplies, professional books. All these devices should be used precisely for work.

Here you have to know, that there is a flat rate (pauschal) sum of Werbungskosten – 1000 euros. You receive this sum in any cases, if your Werbungskosten are less as 1000 euros.

Therefore if the value of these devices, together with other Werbungskosten amounts, does not exceed 1000 euros – they will not be taken into account anyway. You can save energy and not specify them. If end amount will be more than 1000 euros, then it makes sense.

But one should consider that expensive devices for work (more than 800 euros netto) will be written off within several years.

FAQ How to write off the cost of a computer? These rules apply to purchases made until 2021.

Case 1. The computer + accessories + software purchased with it – are together in one check and cost less than 800 euros netto (950 euro brutto).
Then we can write off them at a time.

You must also indicate the percentage of use for the job. If the computer is used purely for work, then it will be 100 percent. From 50 to 100 percent – you must have a work register for it, there you write how long you work. If it is impossible to prove the percentage of use for work, then write 50 percents.

The line will look like this: “Computer (name) und Komponenten (name), 50% berufliche Anteil” and half of its cost.

Case 2. The cost of a computer + components and software exceeds 800 euros, then it is written off within three years. The month of purchase is also taken into account. For example, you bought a computer in August. You must divide the cost by 36 (12 months * 3 years) and multiply the number of months of ownership by that amount. That is, in fact, the write-off will take four years:
number of months of ownership in first year * 1/36 of cost – in the tax return for first year
12 * 1/36 of cost – tax return for second year
12 * 1/36 of cost – tax return for third year
rest of months * 1/36 of cost – tax return for forth year

Therefore – buy expensive dings at the beginning of year.

From 2021 you can deducte the full cost of computer (as a percentage of use for work) at once in 1 year.

FAQ Can I return cost of eyeglasses?

Glasses can only be deducted that are used exclusively for computer work.

Read about other expenses, which you can deducte – All I deductible expenses.

Working room and home office

Line 44 – expenses for a working room in the house (only those who need it for work): part of the expenses for renting an apartment, utility bills, etc. (see the drop-down list in the declaration). Furniture is written off on line 42.

Homeoffice is especially actual in 2020-2022. It is a part of Werbungskosten. For declaration 2020 it goes to line 46. For declarations 2021-2022 it goes to own line 45.

In 2022, a lump sum of 5 euros per day is still written off, but no more than 120 days, that is, no more than 600 euros and only if the Werbungskosten is more than 1,200 euros (lump sum for 2022).
In 2023 there will be 6 euros per day and 210 days.

Read about home office.

Expenses for professional training

For the last couple of years, these few lines have been moving all the time. And now, because of the home office, everything went a little bit.

Line 46. Expenses for professional training: cost of courses, travel expenses, literature, exam cost. Minus the amount compensated by the employer.

Other working expenses

Line 47. Ferries and plane as a way to work

Line 48. Line 48 as a “Restmüll” – all others together.

What they want to see in this dump – the list is in the help under the blue question mark. But it’s incomplete. It can be, for example:

  • expenses for searching a job (travel, expenses for registration). The line might look like this, for example: Fahrkosten Vorstellungsgespräch 01/01/2021.
  • cost of keeping an account in the bank (Kontoführungsgebühren) – 16 euros flat rate sum
    moving (Umzug).

Tax consultants costs are deducted if:
– they are for the working expenses, not for private life – Steuerberater does it separately
– they are mixed (for example, tax programm or LoHi) – up to 100 euro – full costs, from 100 to 200 euros – 100 euros, from 200 euros – 1/2 costs.

Check other possible working expenses in All income tax deduction. Part 4. It can be for example attorney insurance (working part).

Paragraph 16

Travel expenses not compensated by employer.

Verpflegungsmehraufwand – cost for food and drink, pauschal sum see in Google for each year. For example from 2020 – 28 euros per day.

Paragraph 18

Special Werbungskosten, that correlate to lines in Lohnsteuerbescheinigung. That means, if you have money for your work in lines 11, 16-18 and for this work you bought working clothers or books (or had other working expenses, that you could not deduct earlier, because you received these money only in this year), you write them here off.

Double housekeeping

Further, there is a large section, which will open only if you click the appropriate button, – double housekeeping. What can be written off in this case (and a lot) – see the topic “All I can return”.

All I can return. A-D

Next – Anlage Kind, Anlage Haushaltnahe Aufwendungen 35a

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2 thoughts on “Tax return in Germany. Elster online. Anlage N. Working expenses”

    • Hello, You are right. These print screen are from 2020. This year there is new line 46 and Bewerbungskosten, Umzugkosten, Kontoführungskosten and also Homeoffice Pauschal – all go to line 47 as Weitere Werbungskosten. I think it is very inconvenient


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