Expert tips: How to get more out of your tax return

Save a lot of taxes and claim deductions with as little effort as possible? A financial expert gives helpful tips for a successful tax return.

Expert tips: How to get more out of your tax return

Save a lot of taxes and claim deductions with as little effort as possible? A financial expert gives helpful tips for a successful tax return. And clears up many a myth.

Not everyone is required to file a tax return. The second piece of good news is that those who are responsible can take more time to meet the tax authorities. Namely until October 31, 2022.

Nevertheless, things should be done quickly and easily. Year after year, filing taxes is a headache for many. Financial expert Simon Neumann, author of "100 tax tips and tricks", makes it clear: "No one needs to be afraid of the tax return!" In an interview with the news agency spot on news, he put together his favorite tax tips and cleared up some myths.

benefits in kind

"From 2022, an employee may receive up to 50 euros per month as a benefit in kind in addition to their wages, and this is completely tax-free for them. In order for the amount to be tax-deductible, it must not be paid out in cash or with the salary as a real cash benefit. Instead, vouchers, fuel cards, a gym membership, a mobile phone contract with a mobile phone, prepaid credit cards, etc. are possible. So you are expressly not allowed to simply reduce the gross salary by 50 euros and use the benefit in kind for it - this is not permitted. In addition, it is with the amount around an exemption limit, this means that the value of the benefit in kind within one month must not be 1 cent higher than the 50 euros, otherwise the entire tax benefit will be completely eliminated."

Household Expenses

"Every tenant, but also many owners of owner-occupied residential property, have exactly such costs. These include tasks such as house and window cleaning, garden maintenance, caretaker service, winter service and outpatient care service, which could actually also be carried out by the residents, but through a company or a service provider. It is important that there is an invoice and that these costs were not paid in cash. As a tenant, you should therefore look at the last operating and ancillary cost statement and you will usually find expenses for such services/work there. After all, 20 percent of the wage costs incurred are reimbursed up to a maximum reimbursement amount of 4,000 euros from this area."

Home office flat rate

"Home office is usually associated with higher costs for electricity, gas and water consumption and higher heating costs. In order to take these (additional) costs into account, the home office flat rate has been introduced, which can now be used from the tax year 2020 . First of all, this also applies to the year 2022, what comes after that is currently still being discussed at the political level. So that the person concerned does not have to laboriously break down the additional costs, which in reality is often difficult or even impossible, one may as Simplification Deduct 5 euros per day in the home office for a maximum of 120 days a year. This can result in a total of 600 euros in advertising costs. Important: On the days for which you set the home office flat rate, you are not allowed to also add the Use a distance or kilometer allowance for a commute."

Sell ​​off cell phone, landline and internet contracts

"If the supervisor, the team leader or maybe even customers can reach you on your private mobile or landline number or if you use your local internet connection when working from home, there is a professional connection and part of the costs incurred can be deducted as a result There are two different methods to determine what the percentage of professional use really is:

You keep a so-called usage diary over a longer period of time, for example three months, in which you enter private and professional calls, messages or times of use, and from which you can then calculate your shares relatively precisely. This percentage can now be applied to the entire year and the costs paid.

"You apply 20 percent of the costs incurred up to an annual amount of 240 euros as a flat rate and without individual records. The values ​​must be plausible for the tax office and, depending on the occupational group, higher percentage values ​​are also completely normal."

Use employee savings allowance for stock and ETF savings plans

"If the income is below certain limits and you meet the requirements with a legitimate contract, such as a home savings contract or an ETF, fund or share savings plan, the state supports the paid-in contributions up to a maximum limit as follows:

And that is guaranteed by the state. If you want to use the maximum subsidy for yourself, you can even save in parallel with a home savings contract and securities savings plan in order to receive both subsidies. In general, however, such a legitimate contract must always run for at least seven years and six of these years must be saved so that the funding is not lost. Finally, I would like to draw attention to two tax myths..."

Once a tax, always a tax

"This very widespread assumption often means that people prefer not to bother with their own tax return for fear of being forced to do so every year by the tax office. There are only roughly two groups when it comes to filing a tax return: the those who are obliged to pay the fee and those who are allowed to pay it voluntarily. However, if you do not belong to this group as a normal employee or as a civil servant, as an apprentice or dual student, you can make a new decision personally every year Income such as rental income), self-employed or freelancers (registered wage tax allowance), married people in tax brackets 3/5 or 4/4 and pensioners (from the basic allowance)."

Danger of additional payment through tax return in the case of voluntary submission

"You don't have to be afraid of an additional payment if you have submitted your tax return voluntarily. If in such a case the tax office issues a tax assessment and demands an additional payment, then you have the right to withdraw your tax return afterwards. A simple objection letter."

Don't be afraid of the tax return

"And the most important tip comes at the end: Don't be afraid of the tax return! By that I mean that you should always dare to at least calculate your personal tax refund claim every year without obligation ... be it in the free Elster online or if you have some help would like to join one of the many tax savings programs - the calculation itself is usually free there and a fee is only due when you send off the tax return.At least that way you know quickly and effectively whether it's worth it for you and if not, then you've got it at least the certainty of not having paid too much tax. I give these and many other tips in my new book 'The 100 Tax Tips and Tricks'."

You can read about the tax breaks that now apply to employees here.

(This article was first published on Thursday, June 30, 2022.)

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