What are child bonuses (Kinderbonus)?
Child bonuses are one-time special payments with the goal of supporting families who received additional burdens due to the Corona crisis. These payments are part of the Third Corona Tax Assistance Act and don’t have to be applied for separately, they are paid out by the relevant family fund to families with children who were entitled to child benefits (Kindergeld) for at least one month in 2021. The same prerequisites for child benefits apply to child bonuses. This also applies to children and young people who were either born during 2021 or who become ineligible during 2021 (for example if they complete their education during the year). If your child was born in 2021 and you haven’t yet received a child bonus (for example if your entitlement to child benefits hasn’t yet been decided), you will receive your child bonuses as soon as you receive child benefits.
Who is entitled to child bonuses?
Child bonuses are generally paid out to the entitled parent, this also applies to separated parents and for children who live in homes or youth welfare facilities. If child benefits are paid to the child themselves, they receive the bonus as well.
How much are child bonuses?
Child bonuses are 150 euros per child and were paid out in May 2021. In 2020, there was a child bonus that amounted to 300 euros which was paid out in two separate installments between September and December 2020.
Where do I enter child bonuses on my tax return?
Child bonuses are not considered taxable income and must therefore not be taxed. They’re also not counted as income in the case of benefits under SGB II, child supplements, and housing benefits. In spite of this, you still have to declare them on your tax return on the Child Dependent Form (Anlage Kind), just like child benefits. When you are being assessed by the tax office, your child bonuses and benefits are added together and compared with the child allowance (Kinderfreibetrag). The tax office then calculates whether it is more beneficial for you to receive the child benefits and bonuses or the allowance. More on this can be found in our article on child benefits and allowances.
Who benefits from child bonuses?
Families with higher income tend to benefit more from child allowances meaning that the special child bonus is especially financially advantageous for families with low and medium incomes.
Can child bonuses be seized?
No – your entitlement to child benefits and bonuses cannot be garnished unless it is due to legal dependent claims of the child in question. That means that only children with a legal claim to dependency (i.e. natural or adopted children) have the possibility of a garnishment, in this case, the bonus and benefits would be paid directly to the child.
Note: Child bonuses are not counted towards possible advances on dependent payments.
What is the child recreation bonus (Kinderfreizeitbonus)?
The federal government approved another financial aid for families to support those with children during the corona crisis which is not counted against other social benefits.
In August 2021, families with low incomes received this one-time bonus of 100 euros to assist them in planning for missed vacation and leisure time brought on by the Corona pandemic.
Who received the child recreation bonus?
Unlike child bonuses, the child recreation bonus isn’t simply paid out to all families entitled to child benefits, but instead only to low-income families.
Parents with minor children (who were under 18 on August 1st, 2021) who received child benefits received this bonus if they also received one of the following additional benefits:
- Child supplements (Kinderzuschlag)
- Housing benefits (Wohngeld)
- Social assistance according to chapter 3 of the SGB XII
- Basic security benefits according to AsylbLG (Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Act, also without child benefits)
- Benefits within the framework of supplementary assistance for basic life subsistence in the social compensation law according to the BVG (Bundesversorgungsgesetz – Federal Supply Act)
These benefits or bonuses are paid out via various benefit providers. Child supplement payments, housing benefits, or social assistance according to SGB XII are paid out via your responsible family benefits office of the Federal Employment Agency. Those who receive child supplements (Kinderzuschläge) were paid the child recreation bonus without an application on August 23rd, 2021. Those who receive housing or subsistence benefits (but no further benefits) had to first submit an informal application to their family benefits office and mail it in with relevant evidence (i.e. grant notices) in order to receive the bonus.
Like child bonuses, the child recreation bonus isn’t offset against any other social benefits or dependency payments – it is simply an additional payment.
Does the child recreation bonus have to be taxed?
As there are no legally defined regulations on how the child recreation bonus is taxed, it can be assumed that it acts similarly to the child bonus – this means it is not part of your taxable income. This bonus is only included when the tax office determines whether the bonuses and benefits or child allowances are more favorable for your family. This bonus is part of the so-called family benefit equalization (Familienleistungsasgleich) and is included on the Child Dependent Form of your tax return. The higher your family income is, the more likely child allowances will be more favorable for you than the benefits and bonuses combined.
Families with low-income general profit in full from the child recreation bonus and corona-related child bonuses.