Last Updated on October 9, 2023
When I ask those who already understand something in German and have lived in Germany for more than one year why they prefer to pay a tax consultant instead of filling out a tax return on their own, I am told that
1. there are no previous tax return as a sample and
2. they never know what deductible expenses there are – what if they miss out on some possible returns?
As answer on the second point, I decided to collect all possible deductible expenses in Germany.
But there is one thing, that you must know before we begin with the list: many of these expenses can be deducted only if they cross a certain border, and this border is rather big. This border is named Außergewöhliche Belastungen.
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 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
For first point, I can suggest the following:
– take the current tax return home to read it before signing for consultant. Next year you can use it.
– do not Vollmacht for the consultant to sent the tax return. It is not difficult to bring or send the tax return yourself.
It can be impossible / expensive to get already gone tax return.
The lack of deductions on some items may surprise those who brings every possible check to a consultant. Do not forget that it is not a fact that you have been deducted exactly this: without having a tax return in your hands, without playing with Elster, you cannot understand exactly what is being returned by consultant.
But I remind you that all my notes are not professional and do not replace advice from tax consultant. If you are afraid or very doubtful, have to return large amounts or have difficult and controversial cases, it is better to contact a consultant.
Why you should know your individual border of Außergewöhnliche Belastungen?
This must be taken into account when you decide on some big expenses, like dental crowns, implants, glasses – it is advisable to make all the expenses in one year. Then you have more chances, that you cross the border.
An example of calculating your individual limit
After overcoming this limit, you can deduct the rest.
Let’s say you have € 60,130 total income and 2 children. Consider the table as follows. Open image to enlarge.
First, you calculate percentage by the number of children from 15.340 euros (2%). With two children, this will be € 306.80.
Then you subtract from 51.130 – 15.340 euros and from the remaining amount you calculate percentage based on the number of children (3%). With two children, this would be 1.073,70 euros.
Further, from the excess over 51.130 of your income, you calculate the percentage (4%) on the remaining sum. This means that from 10,000 you count 4 percent = 400 euros.
Then add 306.80 + 1073.70 + 400 euros and you get your border.
If your income falls into the second column, then you have two numbers to add. For example, with an income of 40.340 euros and two children, this will be: 306.80 + (40340 – 15340) * 3% = 306.80 + 1050 = 1056.80 euros.
Werbungskosten also have their own pauschal sum of one thousand euros. So, you can deduct all, that is over this amount.
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