If you support family members financially, you can deduct your benefits for their normal maintenance and vocational training up to a maximum amount per year as a tax burden (§ 33a Abs. 1 EStG).

Dependent recipients do not have to pay tax on the maintenance received because of their need and also do not have to state this in the tax return (§ 22 no. 1 sentence 2 EStG).

The assisted person must be entitled to dependents under German law towards you or your spouse or registered partner. The maintenance entitlement applies to relatives in a straight line (§ 1601 BGB) as well as registered partners. A maintenance obligation only under foreign law is not sufficient for the tax deduction (BFH judgment of 4.3.2005, VI S 14/03 (PKH), BFH / NV 2005 S. 1067).

In addition, your tax office checks whether there is a need (R 33a.1 (1) sentence 3 EStR 2012, BFH ruling of 5.5.2010, VI R 29/09, BStBl. 2011 II p. 116). The dependents are in need of help if they are unable to entertain themselves (for lack of funds and income) and can not fulfill their obligation to pay (for example because of their age, health or vocational training). The need is assumed, if the supported person is dependent and fully taxable, ie resident in Germany (R 33a.1 Abs. 1 Satz 4 EStR 2012). In this case, the acquisition obligation is also waived (R 33a.1 para. 2 sentence 2 EStR 2012). The same applies if you support your spouse / partner living abroad.

The maintenance benefit of a subordinate debtor is only recognized for tax purposes if the primary debtor can not meet his maintenance obligation.

The dependent persons include:

  • the spouse who is separated or divorced in Germany or abroad in the year following the separation or divorce, but not the spouse in intact marriage, if the claim to the splitting tariff exists. Optionally, you can also deduct your maintenance payments as special expenses;
  • the partners of a registered civil partnership (§ 5 LPartG). A deduction of maintenance is not possible with an intact partnership, as under the new legal situation is entitled to the splitting rate. Thus, only with permanent separation or after dissolution of the civil partnership a deduction in question;
  • Your parents and subordinate your parents-in-law, even if you live permanently separated from your spouse (BFH judgment of 27.7.2011, VI R 13/10, BStBl. 2011 II p. 965), but not your stepparents;
  • the mother of a illegitimate child. The father is legally obliged to maintain it towards her at least six weeks before and eight weeks after the birth (§ 1615 l Abs. 1 BGB).
  • natural or adopted children, grandchildren (subordinated), stepchildren only if they live in the household of their income-free parent (for example, the non-working mother) and their spouse (for example, the working stepfather). The prerequisite is that the supported child no longer has the right to child benefit or child allowances. Child benefits also include child-benefit benefits (BFH judgment of 4 December 2003, III R 32/03, BStBl. 2004 II p. 275), which are paid, for example, abroad for a child.
  • If you support several dependents living in a common household with children for whom you are entitled to child benefits, only your child benefits will be deductible. Thus, e.g. Gastarbeiter her family in the home (non-EU country) money, it is assumed that they transfer the children German child support and the wife of her wife the rest;
  • persons treated as dependent persons. This includes the partner and non-dependent relatives living in your household (relatives on the sidelines) or relatives: brother and sister, aunt and uncle, niece and nephew, son-in-law and daughter, brother-in-law and sister-in-law, step-parents and stepchild.
  • Due to the coexistence with you in a common household (community of social welfare) your income has to be partially attributed and therefore in the case of an application for public means of subsistence (eg Hartz IV, social allowance) this must be reduced or denied (§ 33a Abs. 1 Satz 3 EStG). However, an application for public funds does not have to be made. The same applies if your resident foreign partner living in Germany would have to expect to receive no residence permit or be expelled when claiming social benefits.

If a taxpayer supports relatives or close associates, under some circumstances he may claim the benefits as an extraordinary burden in his income tax return.

Specifically, Section 33a (1) of the Income Tax Act (EStG) sets out the conditions under which maintenance payments in Germany and abroad may be taken into account to reduce taxes.

The provision implements the constitutional principle of efficiency, specifically the subjective net principle derived from it: Expenses incurred by the taxpayer to cover the subsistence minimum of other persons and can not be compensated for tax purposes through family compensation or spouse splits shall not thereafter be considered as freely disposable, income tax subject. Income to be treated.

Payments to a maintenance beneficiary may be made up to a maximum amount of € 8,652 (2016) or € 8,472 (2015), to the extent that the assisted person has a legal maintenance claim or belongs to another narrow circle of beneficiaries and  is needy