Private expenses actually have no place in a tax return. However, if you inevitably have higher expenses than other taxpayers with the same income and family status, then you have extraordinary burdens (außergewöhnliche Belastungen). We explain to you exactly what this means and which costs fall under it.
Extraordinary burdens - what are they?
Extraordinary burdens include expenses that cannot be avoided and are necessary under the circumstances. These include, for example, expenses for health and illness that you had to bear yourself.
Two types of extraordinary burdens can be distinguished:
General extraordinary burdens only affect your tax if they exceed a certain limit, the so-called reasonable burden. Below we explain in more detail what this means
Special extraordinary burdens are regulated by lump sums or maximum amounts. The individual reasonable burden does not apply here - this means that the lump sums have a direct effect on your tax calculation. This applies, for example, to the lump sum for the disabled
How high is the reasonable burden?
Extraordinary burdens and their tax deductibility have a hurdle: The reasonable burden (zumutbare Belastung). Only the part of the costs that exceeds this limit is deducted from your total income and thus has a tax-reducing effect. If you do not exceed the reasonable burden limit with your expenses, they have no tax effect.
Each burden limit is individual. The tax office calculates it as a percentage of your total income. Your marital status and the number of your children also play a role: singles have a higher reasonable burden than married people with children.
Examples of extraordinary burdens
Many costs fall under extraordinary burdens. We have listed some examples here.
Medical expenses are a classic example of extraordinary expenses. Expenses for glasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs, dentures or co-payments for prescribed medication are just a few typical examples of medical expenses that you can deduct.
It is important that the medical measures must be necessary and prescribed by a doctor. If the costs were partially reimbursed by your health insurance, you may only deduct the part that you paid yourself. Preventive measures are not included.
You can deduct cure costs from your taxes if you have a medical certificate from the medical service of your health insurance company. Expenses that are not reimbursed to you can be deducted as extraordinary expenses. These can include
Travel costs for the journey
80% of the additional costs for meals
You can deduct care costs that you have incurred due to illness. However, you can also deduct costs that you have necessarily incurred due to the need for care of another person (care of your own parents, spouse, children). This includes, for example, accommodation in an old people's home or expenses for a carer.
You have to prove that you need care. To do so, use the certificate from the long-term care insurance fund or a private long-term care insurance company.
For the care of relatives, you can also claim a lump-sum care allowance of 924 euros (2020). As of 1 January 2021, this amount was raised to 1,800 euros and thus almost doubled. If your real costs are lower, it is better to use the lump sum. In addition, the reasonable personal burden does not apply to the lump sum.
Lump sums for disability
If you have a disability, you can either deduct the actual costs incurred as extraordinary expenses or use the disability lump sum. The lump sum depends on the degree of disability. The limit of the individual reasonable burden does not apply to the disability lump sum either. You can find more information on this here.
If you have paid for the funeral of a relative, the funeral costs are deductible. However, you can only enter the expenses in your tax return that exceed the amount of the estate. If there is a death benefit insurance, this will also be deducted from the costs.
The tax office accepts the direct funeral costs: grave, coffin, wreaths, flowers, obituaries. Costs such as catering for the mourners at the funeral service do not count as extraordinary burdens and cannot be deducted.
Extraordinary expenses that are not deductible with Taxfix
There are other costs that you can claim as extraordinary expenses - but not with the Taxfix app.
These include so-called replacement costs after an unforeseeable event that was not your fault, such as a flood or fire. The financial support of adult relatives through maintenance payments can also be deducted as an extraordinary burden under certain circumstances. However, you cannot currently claim these costs for tax purposes with the Taxfix app.