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Deduct Glasses From Taxes! Here’s How...

Daniel Kusmin
11. May 2021

Getting new glasses can be very expensive. Often, the frame of the glasses is expensive by itself. However, the lenses can be even costlier depending on the design. So, can you deduct the cost of purchasing expensive glasses from taxes? Read on to find out!

Can I always deduct my glasses from my tax?

Not always, but under certain circumstances, it is possible!

In principle, the tax office regards glasses as medical aids that compensate for poor eyesight.
The German tax law offers two ways of deducting glasses from the tax:

  • as an income-related expense (Werbungskosten)
  • as an extraordinary burden (außergewöhnliche Belastung)

Deducting Glasses as an Income-Related Expense

The cost of your glasses can be deducted from tax as income-related expenses under two conditions:

  • You only use your visual aids for your work (protective goggles in the laboratory)
  • You have evidence that your eyesight has deteriorated due to your professional activity and you are dependent on glasses (working with poor monitors, for instance)

There is a special case where you can prove that you need your glasses for health and safety reasons. If protective goggles or laboratory safety glasses also correct your poor eyesight, they can be deducted from income tax. The rule here is that the protective function has priority over the correction of poor eyesight.

If neither condition applies to you, there is still another way to save taxes with your glasses.

Deducting Glasses as an Exceptional Burden

All costs that can be summarised as medical aids (including glasses and contact lenses) can be deducted from your tax as extraordinary expenses. However, it is crucial that you can present a medical certificate.

Note, however, that you may not be able to deduct all of the costs from tax. The reason being that the limit of the reasonable burden according to § 33 EstG is calculated individually for each taxpayer. As a rule, the reasonable burden is 1 to 7 per cent of your income and depends on your marital status and the number of your children.

Deducting Sunglasses From Taxes

Now that we have gone through the challenges of deducting glasses from taxes. Let’s look at other eyewear. What about sunglasses? Usually, sunglasses are intended for private and leisure use. The darkening effect rarely has a medical purpose. Thus, the sunglasses are not tax-deductible.

Self-tinting (photochromatic) glasses are an exception. If all the requirements are met, these could be declared as extraordinary burdens in the tax return.

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