Just before the end of last year, I did my tax return for the time I spent in Germany. I have five years to do them, so I was just in time. In 2012, I had spent about 5.000 EUR on my grandmother’s move to a nursing home, and I expected a hefty return because of that.
I received the tax return a few weeks ago and, what do you think, how much did I get back? Nothing. Nothing at all; in fact, I even owe the German government 4,32 EUR on taxes for 2012. The reasoning for this was twofold: First, that my grandmother’s move was “not extraordinary” (sure, since she’s 90, she’s moving every 3 months, her final hobby…); and second, that the government kind of expects people to take care of their immediate family, another way of saying: Your private problem, honey.
I am furious. Because let’s assume that I spend 50 EUR on somebody to unclog my toilet. Or 500 EUR on membership fees for a church. Both I would classify as private problems as well, but in Germany both are perfectly deductible. Heck, the church taxes would probably be deducted automatically without any further input of mine.
So, I waited until I was not fuming quite so hard anymore, and after having a not-so-good day already last Monday, I made a phonecall to the tax office. Of course people were unfriendly – it’s part of the job description of a German government employee – but after some 10 minutes of back-and-forth we might have found a way of recouping at least some of my money. Maybe.
I have already filed an appeal, thanks to them accepting emails (one good thing of German government), and now it means: waiting. For at least half a year. Who knows what’s taking them so long, but I hope for the best. Nothing else I can do anyway.