Claiming tax deductions

142 posts in this topic

 

Afaik, unless you are employed, you are obliged to submit your tax return electronically - it is no longer accepted in paper form.

If you think it is complex doing it on paper, you'll be in for a lot of fun doing it electronically - and you also need to get an authorisation certificate before submitting.

 

I believe this is contrary to what I was told, and what I read on this forum. Additionally, I went to the tax office and picked up the paper forms. I have no idea why they would have paper forms if submitting them is not allowed.

 

In order to not further confuse or complicate the issue, I would like to hear only from our experts--like PandaMunich--about this.

 

I would ask them: aside from the Umsatzsteuer and EUeR Anlage, is there anything else that MUST be filed--partially or wholly--online?

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You have to fill in all of Anlage N.

The Finanzamt doesn't do questions "just for a laugh".

 

I had read in a previous post (which I believe you made) that if somebody weren't doing this or that (don't remember what the matter related to), then they didn't need to "bother" with filling out some section in Anlage N (don't remember which section that was).

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@TY2014

I happen to like ruapehu, so please moderate your tone.

She has been self-employed for ages, so she knows the ropes.

 

I told you before in post 139 in Various tax advice for freelancers in Germany, they may let it slide, but officially you are supposed to submit completely electronically.

 

And even if they let it slide this year, they are moving everything over to electronic submission, so start familiarising yourself with the ElsterFormular software.

And apply for a digital certificate, details in VAT charging self-employed, new rule from 2013.

You will need it.

 

Those paper forms are still available for exceptional cases, e.g. for somebody who is doing his last tax return in Germany before emigrating. Or a goatherd living in the Alps who makes cheese and who doesn't have internet access up in his mountain hut.

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Hey All,

 

In this world with internet as the source of information, I tend to be a little less lazy and hope to file the tax returns myself.

 

I find these forums really helpful. Especially very useful replies from veteran users like PandaMunich and the likes. Kudos to you all.

 

Coming to the intent of my post:

 

I am facing some doubts before submitting my "lohnsteuererklärung" for 2013 (due in couple of days from now!). In 2012, it was straight forward for me as I was single and came under the category of an employee . Therefore I used "lohnsteuerbescheinigung" from my employer and used Elster to fill it up myself - mainly Hauptvordruck and the Anlage N page and got a whopping return.

 

I have the following doubts this year though as some conditions changed:

 

 

  1. Tax benefit for supporting my Father: I read numerous posts but I have a feeling that I do not satisfy prerequisites here. Firstly, my father is not older than 65. Some posts in this website indicate that the supported person has to be older than 65 years or has get a doctor certificate saying that his health is preventing him from doing the work further. But this isn't the case with my dad. He took voluntary retirement and gets a pension of close to 200 Euro a month from his bank. Further I used a service to send money to his bank account. This service requires that I send the money from my bank account to another German bank account and then they transfer it from there to the destination account. I have these transaction copies of this service, me transferring the money to local bank and can also provide bank details that my dad received the money. Lastly, I haven't made regular payments but made a one shot payment of close to 3000 Euros. As my father lives in the country which is categorized in group 4, I can claim up to 2001 here is my understanding. The main question here is, given my situation above, is it realistic to expect a return with father's age being less than 65, not transferring money regularly and using external services to do so? I heard the return is around 20% i.e. close to 400 Euro if everything goes fine.

  2. Money spent on flight ticket to visit family (Lebensmittelpunkt / CENTRE OF LIFE): In this case, I clearly do not have a 2nd household. I understood that I can claim the flight costs (approx 660 Euro) only if I am maintaining a second household. But I visit my family once a year (as its my centre of life or lebensmittelpunkt). Can I not claim the costs of flight tickets alone for tax benefits without having the 2nd house hold?

  3. Change in marital status since July 2013: As my wife is outside the Germany and EU and is yet to join me, I am still in Steuerklasse 1. My wife has been working till date. I am not sure if I've to declare the income of my wife too? This when converted would come close to 6000 Euro per year. IMHO it doesn't make sense for me to declare this. As she is anyway taxed in her home country and as I'm anyway still in Tax Class 1. However, the Finanzamt suggested me to declare this. Any advantages in doing so? Or can I skip this as being irrelevant?

  4. Money spent on drivers license tax deductible?: This may sound weird that I ask. But is there a vague possibility of recovering the money paid here?

 

If I could get valid answers to these questions, then I will proceed doing the tax declaration myself. If you feel its too complicated and its better to visit a consultant, then I shall ponder.

 

Please let me know your views.

 

Thanks a lot in advance.

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I don't know if somebody has already mentioned that.

There is no sense to bother filling all this Werbungskosten if they're total less than 1000 euro. Because if it's less then Finanzamt will give us bonus 1000eur automatically

 

 

Viele Steuerzahler kämen allein durch die Entfernungspauschale über den Werbungskosten-Pauschbetrag von 1000 Euro, den das Finanzamt ohne Nachweis berücksichtigt.

http://www.berliner-woche.de/ratgeber/gute-tipps/artikel/41612-steuererklaerung-fuer-arbeitnehmer/

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FYI -- Just in case there are other freelancers out there (like me) who are not on Windoz (but on a MAC) and cannot easily file electronically online through ELSTER, my FA (which I visited today) said that submitting everything by paper would be 100% OK for this year, and possibly next year if there is some kind of hardship. Not sure how wide-spread this "kulanz" thing is among different FAs, but if mine is being reasonable about this, others might also be understanding during the ongoing transition to online filing.

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Hello PandaMunich,

 

You mentioned in reply to TY2014 that the different voltage stuff is no longer relevant. I found the §18 Abs. 8 AUV mentions voltage, frequency as well as TV standard. Doesn't this allow someone who moved from a country with different voltage/frequency and/or different TV standard than Germany to add 13% and/or 10% (respectively) of the A13 Stufe 8 to the sonstige umzugskosten deduction?

 

Also, regarding the move to Germany being the "second move within the last 5 years" clause §18 Abs. 7 AUV, does the first move need to be for a different job, or a mere change of apartment a few kilometers away is also considered a valid "first move"?

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Hi,

 

I have some questions about the invoices and receipts that will be submitted to the Finanzamt. I am full-time employed.

 

1) If I bought a train ticket to go on an interview, do I need to submit any additional documentation that would proof that I had an interview? Otherwise, how Finanzamt will know that the cost was indeed work related?

2) I received invoice from the housing agency which is addressed on my foreign address (from which I relocated to Germany), but the description is provided the the invoice is regarding the house rental in Germany. Does the fact that the invoice is on the foreign address can cause a problem for relocation costs deduction? Are any mistakes in the name / surname, etc. a reason to reject the invoice? I try to understand how precise it all have to be to be accepted.

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You mentioned in reply to TY2014 that the different voltage stuff is no longer relevant. I found the §18 Abs. 8 AUV mentions voltage, frequency as well as TV standard. Doesn't this allow someone who moved from a country with different voltage/frequency and/or different TV standard than Germany to add 13% and/or 10% (respectively) of the A13 Stufe 8 to the sonstige umzugskosten deduction?

 

Sorry, yes, you're right.

Didn't spot where they had moved that to in the new version.

 

 

Also, regarding the move to Germany being the "second move within the last 5 years" clause §18 Abs. 7 AUV, does the first move need to be for a different job, or a mere change of apartment a few kilometers away is also considered a valid "first move"?

 

It has to have been for a job.

 

 

1) If I bought a train ticket to go on an interview, do I need to submit any additional documentation that would proof that I had an interview? Otherwise, how Finanzamt will know that the cost was indeed work related?

 

Yes. I suppose you would still have the letter they sent you inviting you to the interview, wouldn't you?

That would do.

 

 

2) I received invoice from the housing agency which is addressed on my foreign address (from which I relocated to Germany), but the description is provided the the invoice is regarding the house rental in Germany. Does the fact that the invoice is on the foreign address can cause a problem for relocation costs deduction? Are any mistakes in the name / surname, etc. a reason to reject the invoice? I try to understand how precise it all have to be to be accepted.

 

No, don't worry.

The address is no problem at all, and neither is the name, as long as it's clear from the spelling of your name that it was just a spelling mistake the Makler made because you have non-German (= difficult ;)) name.

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Hi,

 

I am a freelance civil engineer. I went on a trip at the end of last year. Is was primarily a personal holiday (3 weeks in Vietnam) but because it was convenient I tacked on a stopover in Dubai (a few days staying with a friend) where I spent some time in my main client's office basically networking and trying to generate some work opportunities for myself.

 

The question is if and how much I can claim my expenses as tax deductible?

 

I anticipate I could take the cost of my flights, pro rata them to be just for the Munich - Dubai leg of the journey, further pro rata them for the number of days in Dubai / days in Vietnam. On top of this I would then claim the Pauschal for staying in Dubai?

 

I can prove that I was in the Clients office (email correspondence) but not what or did or how many days I was in the office for my stay.

 

Anyone able to let me know if this seems reasonable etc?

 

Many Thanks,

 

Jack

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I asked my Steuerbreater about the same thing regarding rental housing. Can I make research trips. Short answer yes, longer answer yes but only within Germany and (oddly) Spain but no where else. You will need to present evidence, emails from realitors visits made etc. In essence you have to show that this wasn't just a holiday that you were trying to write off. I would expect that the FA would condition it upon if you're doing business there or not. Best would be to check with your steuerbreater on what is allowed and what isn't.

 

Regarding Steuerbreater whether to use one or not this is my rule of thumb

 

1. simple tax return, employee no unusual deductions do it yourself or LSH

 

2. Freelance teacher single and not too aggressive with deductions. DIY or LSH - reason is on a teachers salary it would be tough to afford the 300 or Euros it could cost to have a Steuerbreater to do it.

 

3. Married spouse one salary, spouse two freelance - in this case I would lean towards a Steuerbreater especially if you're like friends of mine, he teaches fulltime, wife works partime and he creates expenses in excess of his income.

 

4. Complicated return and/or aggressive on expenses - Steuerbreater absolutely!!!

 

Two examples

 

Many years ago my wife left her job, flew to Canada to do an expensive retraining course (Sebeil 7 I believe) and then we moved to for the new job. Our Steuerbreater told us that because she is retraining we were allowed to deduct the costs related to the course. She than had to fight with the FA as they inquired if I joined her or not (lied and said no) FA then contacted my previous employer (temp agency) and found out I had booked time off during her course, naturally they were a bit upset. In the end they relented and allowed us to deduct the full cost*

 

She also gave us other advice which saved us a further 1500€ in taxes, total savings, in the range of 5000€, her cost 700€ money well spent.

 

Second instance was when we moved to Spain and had a simple return and our Steuerbreater charged us 450€ and we got 300€ back :(

 

I'm currently doing my 2013 taxes and it is insanely complicated! No way I'd even attempt to do it myself. But in converstations with him, and this is the real value of a Steuerbreater, he commented about a client who - didn't give a lot of details but basically did some kind of barter deal for a house and it end up costing them 60,000€ in taxes.I figure it was something similar to this. See also comment nr 5.

 

* it's always good to ask advice here and elsewhere. A friend actually told me there were two types of re-training, one upgrading your skills and learning new skills. the later being more deductible. Our Steuerbreater was going the claim the former not the later. and she fought and one for the better deduction

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Good morning all,

We are currently renting in Munich and are very interested in buying a house in the area. The house is currently being rented out, so I assume it will take a while to get the renters out before we can move in. Our thoughts are to start the remodel process while the renters are living there.

Any ideas on what would be tax deductible and what not?

Is there a maximum amount of money we can deduct on remodel costs per year?

We are planning to make an appointment with a tax advisor, but all things take time and time is what we don't have in the Munich real estate market.

Thanks in advance!

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Hi all,

 

I have a question , I came across a website saying that you can file for tax return for your trip back and forth to Germany.

 

I travel every year to visit my family so does this law really exist? Appreciate some advice here..

 

Thanks!!

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It's called doppelte Haushaltsführung and you would only be eligible for it if you kept your wife in your home country, in a house/flat for which you bear the costs.

Just visiting your parents doesn't count.

For details please see here.

 

*******************************************

@Flavia

 

Since I'm again over the % posting limit, I'll have to answer here.

 

Just claim for as much as possible, the Finanzamt can cut it if they want, but if you get lucky they will just wave it through.

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Just a quick question:

 

My home internet usage (flate-rate connection) is roughly 50-50 work and fun. Actually, it's more like 60-40 work-fun, but I believe the Pauschaule for internet is 50%, and I can't prove anything higher. According to my research, you can offset up to €20 a month as Webungskosten to a maximum of €240, but 50% of my rate x12 is a bit more than that. Should I round the total down, or leave it as is and see what the Finanzamt does?

 

(I realise this is peanuts in the scheme of things, but given what the current euro-pound exchange rate debacle has done for the reimbursement of several upcoming work trips, every cent is going to count.)

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I've been paying some dental stuff for the wife (roughly €900).I heard that that can be claimed back from finanzamt.

Is this true,if so is it just the tax on the €900 I claim back or all of it?

Also does it make a difference that it is me claiming for it whereas it was a bill for wife?

She has absolutely zero income and I'm a normal paye (or whatever it is called over here) worker.

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Them being her expenses is no problem at all, since you are taxed as a family unit.

 

However, the zumutbare Belastung will be a problem, for details please read .

 

My advice: claim those 900€ anyway in line 67, column "Aufwendungen" of the [url=" ESt 1A, and when they refuse them, write them the letter from my above linked post.

 

Thanks very much for the reply and especially the link.Much appreciated.

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