Specifying medical expenses in your tax return (Krankheitskosten)

What are medical expenses (Krankheitskosten)?

Expenditures incurred in connection with a disease can, under certain conditions, be deducted from your taxes as special expenses (Sonderausgaben) for extraordinary charges (außergewöhnliche Belastungen) in your income tax return (Steuererklärung). When the taxpayer actually benefits from this depends on a number of factors. We'll go over that more later.

It should be noted that medical expenses can be deducted as special expenses (Sonderausgaben) for tax purposes, provided that these expenses were incurred as a result of recognized symptoms of illness or accidents.

Medical expenses can be:

  • Expenses for inpatient or outpatient treatment
  • Hospital costs
  • illness-related accommodation of one's own person in a nursing home (also due to age)
  • Laser eye surgery
  • Healing methods that are not recognized
  • Cures, provided that they cure or alleviate an illness
  • Medications, remedies and aids prescribed by the doctor
  • Travel costs to the doctor or pharmacy
  • Expenses for the treatment of dyslexia
  • Cost of an outpatient caregiver

Which amount can I estimate for medical expenses?

Normally, a reasonable limit (zumutbare Belastungsgrenze) has to be exceeded in order to be able to claim medical expenses for tax purposes at all. The reasonable limit is based on the amount of income, number of children and tax bracket. The individual limit is then subtracted from the actual medical expenses incurred. This is how you get the deductible amount as an extraordinary burden (außergewöhnliche Belastungen).

Overview of limits

  • up to €15,340: childless, unmarried 5%; childless, married 4%; with 1 or 2 children 2%; 3 children and/or more 1%
  • starting at €15,341 to €51,130: childless, unmarried 6%; childless, married 6%; with 1 or 2 children 3%; 3 children and/or more 1%
  • starting at €51,131: childless, unmarried 7%; childless, married 6%; with 1 or 2 children 4%; 3 children and/or more 2%

Accountability (Nachweispflicht)

There are three types of proof. The invoice must be issued before the start of treatment or before the acquisition of an aid.


  • by order of a doctor or alternative practitioner
  • medical certificate or certificate from a health insurance medical service (amtsärztliches Gutachten or Bescheinigung des medizinischen Dienstes der Krankenversicherung)
  • if traveling to a spouse or child, a certificate from the attending hospital doctor is required