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Claiming Job Application Costs on Your Tax Return

Save money on your tax return: ★ Deduct your job application expenses. ★ Learn more here!

All expenses that arise from applying for jobs (Bewerbungskosten) are tax deductible as income-related expenses (Werbungskosten). Income-relate expenses are legally defined as expenses that ensure you can pursue a profession. This includes commuting costs (Fahrtkosten), business trip expenses, further training and education, expenses for work attire and equipment, and occupational insurances.

Costs for job applications fall into this category - regardless of whether the application process was successful or not. We will fill you in more about what expenses you can deduct here.

Deductible costs

Application materials

  • Transparent folders
  • Ink cartridges
  • Adhesives
  • Envelopes
  • Application portfolios
  • Stationary
  • Copies
  • Writing tools
  • Postage Stamps
  • Application photos
  • Classified/online ads
  • Website costs
  • Proportional telephone costs
  • Proportional internet costs
  • CV designs
  • Application videos

Technology for applications

  • Printer costs to print your applications
  • Laptops/computers (if you previously didn’t own one and can explain to the tax office (Finanzamt) why they were necessary to buy for your applications
  • Software costs (such as a software to generate PDFs of your CV for online applications)

Costs for researching for your potential new job

  • Technical literature
  • Magazines designed for job searches
  • Courses/seminars
  • Translation costs
  • Job coaching/guides
  • Application writers
  • Certifications
  • Career consultants

Travel expenses

  • Transportation to interviews
  • Parking fees
  • Room & board
  • City maps
  • Overnight accommodation costs

Bewerbungskosten steuerlich geltend machen

Proving your application costs

You should hang on to all of your receipts and invoices from your job application costs so that you can provide proof of them to the tax office. Rejection letters or general replies from companies that you applied to are also considered proof.

You should also create copies of your applications in advance in case a company does not reply. If you send this per post, record and document the shipping date.

How to deduct the costs

There are two possible ways to deduct application costs from your tax return:

  • Option 1: Deduct your expenses individually
  • Option 2: Take advantage of the income-related expenses lump sum (Pauschale)

If you choose option 2, your flat-rate amounts can vary. 10 to 15 euros can be deducted per written application (sometimes only €8.50) while only €2.50 can be deducted for online applications. As there is no legal claim to a standard lump sum for job application expenses, your individual deductible amount is determined by the tax official handling your tax return. Generally, the tax office accepts up to €1,000 euros for income-related expenses; therefore, those with higher expenses should deduct their expenses individually while providing documents that serve as proof.´