Clothing, food, toys, sports club, kindergarten, school fees - there are many expenses for a child. Some of these expenses can be claimed as special expenses for tax purposes as long as your child is entitled to child benefit. This article explains what these expenses are and how you can enter them in the Taxfix app.
Until when can you claim expenses for children for tax purposes?
Children are included in the tax return as long as they are entitled to child benefit. Until then, they are still considered children for tax purposes, and you can deduct certain expenses that you have incurred for them.
If they are no longer entitled to child benefit, children are considered adult relatives of their parents and are no longer listed separately as children in the tax return.
It is important to distinguish between child benefit entitlement and payment of the child benefit amount. In general, each parent is entitled to half of the child benefit, even if the amount is only paid to one of them. Each child who is entitled to child benefit must be declared in the tax return - even if the child benefit was not paid to you. This way, your tax can be calculated correctly.
If the parents have separated, the child benefit is taken into account in the amount of maintenance to be paid by the parent with whom the child does not live. Therefore, the child must also be included in the tax return of this parent.
If you are unsure whether you are entitled to child benefit, you can enquire at your family benefits office (Familienkasse). Detailed information on child benefit and child allowance can be found here.
You can deduct two-thirds of your childcare costs as special expenses in your tax return - up to a maximum of 4,000 euros per child.
Certain conditions apply:
Your child lives with you in the same household
You are entitled to child benefit
Your child has not yet reached the age of 14
You can only deduct childcare costs, such as:
Costs for accommodation in a day-care centre, with a childminder, in an after-school care centre
employment of educators, day-care workers, child-minders
Childcare in your own household by a domestic helper or au pair
Travel costs for the carer
You cannot deduct:
Lessons: teaching of special skills, e.g. piano lessons
Leisure activities, e.g. sports clubs
Meals for the child
Relatives take over childcare
Relatives (e.g. grandparents, siblings) can also be employed to look after your children. You can also deduct two-thirds of the childcare costs from your tax return. However, the relatives taking care of the children must not live in the same household.
Otherwise, the same conditions apply as for other childcare employees. The evidence is very important here. It is best, for example, if you draw up a contract with the caring grandfather about the place, time and course of his work. It is also essential to transfer the payment to his bank account. This way, the tax office will not find anything to complain about and will recognise your childcare costs in your tax return.
Children with disabilities
If your child has a disability, special rules apply. The age limit of 14 years changes if your child in care is not able to take care of himself or herself. One condition is that the disability must have occurred before the child's 25th birthday. You can read more about this in this article.
If your child attends a private school, you can deduct the school fees. The prerequisite is that the school attendance ends with a recognised school leaving certificate. 30% of the costs up to a maximum of 5,000 euros per year are deductible. However, your costs for board and lodging of your child are excluded from this.
Insurance contributions and expenses for illness
You can claim health and care insurance contributions for children that you have paid as special expenses. This also applies to certain supplementary insurances (such as supplementary dental insurance).
In addition, you can deduct expenses for the health and illness of your children as extraordinary expenses. You can enter both in the Taxfix app in the "Health" section. We explain exactly how this works and which requirements apply here.
Relief for single parents (Entlastungsbetrag für Alleinerziehende)
If you are a single parent, you are entitled to a relief amount that reduces your tax burden. You can find detailed information on this in our article on Tax return for single parents.
Education allowance (Ausbildungsfreibetrag)
Parents of adult children can benefit from an education allowance, which reduces their tax burden. It is taken into account if
The children are in school or vocational training/studies,
The children no longer live at home with their parents, and
There is still entitlement to child benefit for the children
If the parents are divorced or separated, they can split the tax-free amount in half.
In the Taxfix app, the education allowance is automatically taken into account as soon as you indicate in the "Family" section that your child lived at the place of their training or studies. Here you can also determine whether the tax-free amount should be shared between the parents.
Collect documents and receipts for your expenses
You must be able to prove your expenses with receipts. Therefore, collect all receipts and proofs throughout the year. Make sure that you always pay your bills by bank transfer and that you can prove this with bank statements. Cash payments are never accepted by the tax office.
You do not have to attach the invoices, bank statements and other receipts directly to your tax return. In case of doubt, the tax office will ask and want to see the required documents. You should therefore have them handy and be able to present them on request.
How to enter costs for children in the Taxfix app
You can enter information about your children in the Taxfix app in the "Family" category. Here you can also enter all expenses incurred for your children.
Please note that some costs cannot be claimed for tax purposes. Expenses that are not queried in our app are usually covered by the child allowance or child benefit.
If certain maximum limits apply to the deduction of expenses, they are automatically taken into account by our app.