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.

stack of papersSo, 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.