How do I deduct my application costs from my taxes? (Bewerbungskosten)

Application costs (Bewerbungskosten) are advertising costs (Werbungskosten)

All costs incurred in the context of an application are tax deductible as income-related expenses (Werbungskosten). According to law, income-related expenses are all expenses that have to be incurred in order to pursue a profession. This includes, for example, the daily commute to work, business trips, training, expenses for work clothes or occupational insurance.

Clause 9 of the Income Tax Act (Einkommensteuergesetz) identifies income-related expenses as expenses for acquiring, securing and maintaining revenue.

This means that application costs (Bewerbungskosten) fall into this category as well. Please take into account that it doesn't matter if the application process was successful or not. Only the job search as such is what is taken into account.

Deductible items

Materials for an application

• Transparent folders • Ink cartridges • Adhesives • Envelopes • Application portfolios • Stationary • Copies • Writing instruments • Postage Stamps

Costs for self-addressed and stamped envelopes

• Application photos • Classified ads • Website • Pro-rata telephone costs • pro-rata internet costs as well • CV design • Application video • Online ads


• Books • Magazines • Courses • Seminars • Translation costs • Journals • Guides • Application writers • Certifications

Travel expenses

• Transportation to interviews • Parking fees • Meal allowances • City maps • Overnight accommodation costs

All application-related invoices/receipts should be kept

Basically, you can attach all receipts, such as receipts, your tax return (Steuererklärung). Only then are the costs usually taken into account. Rejection letters or general replies from companies are also considered proof and should be submitted.

If a company does not respond to your application, it makes sense to always create a copy of the letter in advance. It is important to record and document the shipping date.

There are 2 ways to deduct application costs (Bewerbungskosten) from your taxes

German tax law provides two ways in which application costs can be claimed for tax purposes.

• Option 1: Submit documents for expenditure individually • Option 2: deduct the application costs on a flat-rate basis (Pauschale)

If you decide on the flat-rate (Pauschale), then there is something else to consider. The amount of the flat-rate can vary. Normally, €10 to €15 can be deducted per written application. It's only €2.50 for an application sent via e-mail. Sometimes, tax offices (Finanzämter) only accept €8.50 for a written application.

Unfortunately, there is currently no legal claim to a standard flat-rate. Only the person responsible decides the amount that application costs can be deducted. The tax office generally accepts up to €1,000. Those who had higher expenses should submit their items individually and with supporting documents.