German tax refund – What I can claim to return. I-N

Last Updated on September 27, 2023

Futher with all German tax deductible expenses. Not forget: außergewöhnliche Belastungen (Exceptional costs) are deducted, if they over individual limit.

How to calculate the limit of außergewöhnliche Belastungen read here
Other parts: A-D, E-H, P-W
How to fill German income tax declaration – #steuererklaerung

German tax deductible expenses in this post:
Internet, phone
Kindergarten, nanny
Language classes
Maitntenance of relatives

Medical treatment
Moving change of housing
Natural disaster


Notice that there is a limit, which is almost always or always chosen by compulsory insurance. Therefore, you cannot deduct much in this part. The following insurances can be deducted (mainly in Anlage Vorsorgeaufwand):

  • pension insurance (basic state insurance, fees in Versorgungswerk / Alterskassen, private insurance (Rürup-Vertrage)

up to 22,767 euros for singles and double the amount for families (from 2016, up to 80 percent)).

  • loss of work insurance (Arbeitslosigkeitsversicherung),
  • health insurance,
  • care insurance,
  • supplementary dental insurance,
  • responsibility insurance (personal and automobile, Haftpflichtversicherung),
  • disability insurance,
  • accident insurance (not at work),
  • travel health insurance,
  • supplementary health insurance ,
  • Krankentagegeld- / Krankenhaustagegeld-Versicherung,
  • Life Insurance (Risikolebensversicherung),
  • Kapitallebensversicherung (concluded before January 1, 2005),
  • Sterbegeldversicherung.

Up to € 1.900 for employees and Beamte / up to € 2.800 for individual self-employees (doubled for married people).

Anlage Vorsorgeaufwand

  • Riester-Vertrage (additional insurance)

up to 2,100 euros as Sonderausgaben (both – own investment and payments from government) – in Anlage AV.

Anlage Sonderausgaben

  • insurance for work: against accidents (in part at work), responsibility, legal assistance – as Werbungskosten (Anlage N).

Werbungskosten in Anlage N

Not deducted

  • legal assistance (in privat part, not for work’s conflicts – Privat- / Mietrechtsschutz- / Verkehrsrechtsschutzversicherung)
  • property insurance (Hausratversicherung)
  • full insurance for car
  • individual pension insurance (with capital investment)
  • life insurance with capital investment
  • betriebliche Altersvorsorge (bAV) – already taken into account.

Internet, phone

May be deducted in part related to work. This means only if on your work is expected that you use a phone at home (for example teacher).

There are two ways to deduct.

  1. 20 percent of expenses monthly, but not more than 20 euros per month. Each month must be counted separately.
  2. You calculate the actual usage as a percentage. In this case, the write-off amount is not limited. And you can write off more types of expenses, for example, for repairs.

Read more about Werbungskosten in Anlage N

Kindergarten, nanny

Accepted up to two-thirds of the cost, but not more than 4 thousand per year per child. Condition – money is transfered only through account. Money in cash is not counted.

You can also deduct from taxes the refund of the cost of travel of the grandmother to the grandchildren (30 cents per kilometer). For this, it is advisable to conclude an agreement with the grandmother and transfer money to her through the bank.

Where: Anlage Kind, Page 3

Language classes

Integration courses can be deducted as außergewöhnliche Belastungen only if the courses were compulsory and not voluntary (and also not refunded by Arbeitsamt or Ausländeramt).

The cost of studying other (evening or intensive) German courses cannot be deducted, because although you need German for work, you also need it for personal purposes.

For other languages, courses fees can only be deducted if you can justify their need for the job. Business-specific courses are the easiest to subtract as they are only for work. Courses without specialization must be justified by references from work. The costs of learning a language abroad can also be written off. But it must be substantiate and has a schedule for your business trip, since in this case part of the trip is spent for personal purposes.

Language learning for work is counted in Werbungskosten in the amount not compensated by the employer.

Read more about Werbungskosten in Anlage N

Maitntenance of relatives

Deduction of maintenance costs is a complex topic that often leads to disputes with the tax authorities. If there is a significant amount, it is better to contact a specialist.

1. Maintenance of former spouses

Two ways:

1. as Sonderausgaben (up to 13805 euros per year)

  • in the main part on page 2 (until 2019)
  • in a separate application from 2019 + in Anlage U in part A.

The ex-spouse must agree to this option (put his signature in part B) and enter the amount received in his / her declaration in Anlage SO.

Anlage Sonderausgaben

2. Or as außergewöhnliche Belastungen (if the spouse does not agree) – up to 9,000 euros per year, in the Anlage Unterhalt.

Expenses for the Kranken- and / or Pflegeversicherung of the former spouses can be deducted separately.

2. Maintenance of children

Up to € 9.000 can be deducted as außergewöhnliche Belastungen. This is possible only if none of the parents receives Kindergeld (that is, we are mainly talking about grown-up children). If a child earns more than 624 euros per year, his earnings over this amount are substracted from 9,000.

3. Maintenance of other relatives

These can be direct relatives (parents, grandparents – if their own children cannot support them), other relatives (if they live in your house and have refused benefits), as well as the mother of an extramarital child during pregnancy before going to work.

You can deduct up to € 8,652 per year (including hospital and nursing insurance costs). If a person has an income of more than 624 euros, the maximum deduction amount is reduced. A person with a capital of more than 15,500 euros (this amount does not include the house in which this person lives) does not need help, therefore, no help is deducted.

Helping parents living abroad requires careful documentation.

The maximum amount of assistance is limited:

  • the month of the start of the assistance (the later in the calendar year you started paying, the less can be deducted, even if the amount of the one-time payment is large)
  • the amount deducted for each month (it is better to make several small transfers than one large one)
  • an estimate of the subsistence level in a particular country (there is a list of countries with amounts)

4. Keeping relatives in Pflegeheim

If a pensioner has to live in Pflegeheim for health reasons, his allowance can be partially deducted. But on condition that he receives less than 9.726 euros per year.

The amount deducted as Unterhaltung is: 9.000 / annual pension minus 102 Euro Werbungskostenpauschale, 180 Euro Kostenpauschale and 624 Euro Freigrenze

If the spending is higher, then it can be deducted as außergewöhnliche Belastung. But first, all income of the pensioner is substracted from them.

If a pensioner moves to Pflegeheim for age rather than health reasons, the deductions are even lower.

If a pensioner with Pflegegrad 4 or 5 is kept at home with relatives, a flat rate of 924 euros per year is deducted – that is the rule before 2021. From 2021 you can deduct as Pflegepauschalbetrag:

  • for 2 grad – 600 euro
  • for 3 grad – 1100 euro
  • for 4 and 5 grad – 1800 euro

What else was changed from 2021 read here.

Medical treatment

You can deducted as außergewöhnliche Belastungen for example:

  • Krankengymnastik
  • speech therapist
  • Herbal medicine (Pflanzenheilkunde)
  • abortion (Schwangerschaftsabbruch)
  • dental treatment
  • addiction treatment (if there is a doctor’s prescription)
  • stroller, prostheses, hearing aids (other aids, such as special beds), are written off when there is a report from the district doctor
  • prescriptions for medicines you pay for yourself

Not taken into account if they are not recognized by Amtsarzt before starting treatment:

  • not recognized by science methods
  • water treatment
  • massage
  • psychotherapist
  • prevention

Many of these activities are called IGel (individuelle Gesundheitsleistungen). You can find in Internet, whether you really need them.

Moving (change of housing)

Moving not for work does not deducted in any way, with the exception of the cost of labor, if you hire a company to move – in haushaltsnahe Aufwendungen

About Anlage Haushaltshane Aufwendungen.

If you

  • find a new job in another city,
  • or the boss transfers you to another city,
  • or when you move, you save more than an hour of travel to work,
  • or you move to a second apartment that you rented / bought so as not to go home every time,

than you can write off much more expenses as Werbungskosten.

Moving costs are divided into two groups.

General expenses:

  • first trip to a new apartment
  • hiring a company to move
  • broker costs (not for purchase a haus)
  • rent for old appartment (up to 6 months)
  • tutor for a child (Nachhilfe) up to a certain amount (see for a specific year)

For general expenses, you need to collect all accounts. They are deducted in full.

Special expenses:

  • newspaper ads
  • phone connection
  • new license plates for car
  • fees for registration at a new place of residence

There is no need to collect checks for special expenses, you can use the Umzugskostenpauschale. The pauschal sum changes regularly, always see the current version for the year and even month you need (in 2020 it changed gradually several times). Widowers and single people with children are also considered married.

If this is not the first move for work in the last five years, then the amount doubles.

However, if you close or begin using the second working apartment with your move in this declaration, then you should not use the Umzugskostenpauschale.

Read more about Werbungskosten in Anlage N

Natural disaster

They can be included in the außergewöhnliche Belastungen, but each time by decision of the FA:

  • cleaning the territory
  • repair
  • the acquisition of new things

All this applies to housing, but not, for example, a garage or a terrace.

You cannot deduct:

  • if you are to blame for the damage
  • if a third party is to blame (you must first demand from him)
  • if there is property insurance (Gebäudeversicherung or Hausratversicherung)
  • if the repair is started later than 3 years after the damage

Next – part 4 P-W
Other post about german tax return – #steuererklaerung

All I can return from tax: A-D, E-H, I-N, P-W
Anlage N Part 1, Part 2, Anlage N-Aus, Anlage Wa-Est, Homeoffice
Anlage Kind
Anlage Vorsorgeaufwand
Anlage Sonderausgaben
Anlage Haushaltnahe Diensleistungen 35a
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
Freiberufler in Germany: how to fill in Anlage S and Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung

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