Hey there, student in Germany! Tax returns might seem intimidating, but fear not—I’m here to guide you through the process, step by step. By the end of this journey, you’ll be ready to tackle your tax return like a pro and unlock potential refunds. So let’s dive in!
1. Gather Your Documents 📂
Before embarking on your tax return adventure, gather all the necessary documents. This includes proof of educational fees, transportation costs (up to 30 cents per kilometer for one-way trips to study events), receipts for literature, electronic hardware used for studying, accommodation costs (if applicable), and any relocation expenses for internships or theses.
2. Include Application Costs ✉️
Hunting for internships, theses, or full-time jobs can be stressful, but here’s the silver lining: you can claim the application costs! Whether you applied online or via regular post, remember to document your expenses. For postal applications, it’s 8.5 Euros per physical post, while online applications can be claimed at 2.5 Euros per application.
3. Don’t Forget Meal Costs 🍔🍕
If you’ve been going on internships, semester abroad, or exciting study excursions, you’re in for a treat! You can claim meal flat rates for domestic trips—12 Euros for every 8 hours and 24 Euros for 24 hours. Don’t miss out on this tasty advantage!
4. Seize the Investment Losses Opportunity 💹
Got some investments with realized losses? Good news! You can include these in your tax return. However, the specific deductions vary depending on the type of investment, so keep that in mind.
5. Highlight Educational Loans 💰
If you’ve got student loans, don’t fret. You can claim the interest payments as a deduction in your tax return. Unfortunately, the loan amount itself doesn’t qualify for a tax benefit, but every little deduction helps!
6. Keep Records for Proof 📝
Remember, when it comes to expenses, documentation is your best friend. Hold on to receipts, invoices, and any other relevant proof. This way, you’ll be well-prepared when you submit your tax return, and you won’t miss out on any potential deductions.
7. The Seven-Year Rule 🗓️
As a student, you can carry forward tax losses up to seven years in the past. So, even if you didn’t pay any taxes in a particular year, it’s not a lost cause. You can still use those losses to offset future tax burdens when you start earning more.
8. Submit Early and Often! 📅
Here’s a valuable tip: submit a tax return each year. Don’t wait for a full year as a full-time employee before filing. By submitting annually, you’ll avoid forgetting expenses and maximize your benefits. Plus, you’ll be ahead of the game!
9. Get Professional Help if Needed 🧑💼
If you ever feel overwhelmed or uncertain about your tax return, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance. A tax advisor can navigate the complexities and ensure you make the most of your tax deductions.
Congratulations, you’ve completed your crash course on submitting a tax return as a student in Germany! Remember, each student’s situation is unique, so there may be other claimable expenses beyond the ones covered here. Always keep an eye out for new opportunities to optimize your tax situation.
Now go forth and conquer that tax return! And don’t forget to share this guide with your fellow students—it’s a game-changer