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Deduct work materials as advertising costs from your taxes (Arbeitsmittel)

Employee cost includes all the expenses that employees have to incur to pursue a job.

In most cases, the employer is responsible for work-related things, but not always involved financially in the high expenditure. It’s good that various job-related items can be deducted as income-related expenses (Werbungskosten) in the tax return. How exactly this works, you will find out here.

  • Did you buy a laptop or a mobile phone?

  • Did you move last year for work?

  • Did you work less than 12 months last year?

  • Was your work commute more than 30 minutes?

  • Are you married with tax class III/V?

  • Did you pursue a further education?

  • Did you receive self-employment income?

You are required to file a tax return.

Filing your tax return is worth it! You will most likely get a very high tax refund.

You can expect a high tax refund.

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What are any advertising costs? (Werbungskosten)

Employee cost (Werbungskosten) includes all the expenses that employees have to incur to pursue a job. This includes, for example, the daily commute to work, missions, training, expenses for work clothes or occupational insurance (berufliche Versicherungen).

This means that acquisition and manufacturing costs, including sales tax (Umsatzsteuer), can be deducted in full from the tax, especially for work equipment (Arbeitsmittel) in the year of acquisition. Per calendar year, the maximum limit of 800 euros (excluding VAT) applies. If the costs are above the maximum, then only the annual depreciation amount (Abschreinbungsbetrag) can be taken into account as income-related expenses (Werbungskosten).


What are work equipment (Arbeitsmittel)?

Work equipment means (Arbeitsmittel) all assets that are directly required for the completion of professional tasks. In terms of advertising costs (Werbungskosten), they thus contribute to the maintenance of revenue. As already mentioned, they are only sold in the calendar year in which they were purchased.

By the way: Not everything that is needed for the profession is also recognized by the tax office. The basic requirement is that it is clear whether the object is mostly used for the job. If this is not clear, the costs are sometimes split, which means that the entire amount can not be deducted from the tax (the best example of this is the laptop, which the administrator assumes will also be used for private purposes). A suit is usually not considered.


These expenses can be stated in the tax return

  • briefcase
  • Workwear such as dungarees etc.
  • professional books and magazines
  • Dictaphones
  • writing desk
  • desk lamp
  • Tools
  • proportionately laptop
  • office furniture
  • phone
  • fax
  • Accessories for the computer