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Are Wedding Expenses Tax Deductible?

In previous articles, we have analysed how a marriage allows you to change your tax status for higher tax savings. But what about the wedding costs? Let’s take a look at whether wedding expenses can be declared when filing taxes.
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Costs of the Wedding Ceremony

When it comes to marriage, the first (tax-related) thought is picking the right tax class (Steuerklasse) to save on tax returns. While that’s a smart move, why miss out on making the wedding itself tax-deductible?

First of all, you will need to consider the fees for the wedding and costs for the party. What possibilities do you have to deduct these from income tax?

In general, the state considers a wedding to be a personal matter and, therefore, irrelevant for tax purposes. Nevertheless, you can claim individual items of your wedding celebration in other ways. For instance, you can offset the expenses of your hard-working helpers as household-related services or ‘haushaltsnahe Dienstleistungen’.

By the way: In contrast to a wedding, you can deduct the direct costs of a divorce as an extraordinary burden (außergewöhnliche Belastungen). The difference in legislation stems from the thought that a divorce may be unavoidable, whereas a wedding is a voluntary and private affair.

Cooks, Waiters, Gardeners: What Qualifies as Household-Related Services?

One way of deducting your wedding expenses in your taxes is by declaring them as household-related services. This refers to activities that you commission as a private person and which could be carried out by yourself, your partner or a family member. These are exclusively services and exclude any material costs. It’s necessary that these services are performed in your home.

When it comes to wedding related costs, this means: You should organise the party within your own four walls. In this case, you can claim part of the expenses:

These include, for example, the following:

Payment for a cook and service staff
Childcare during the party
Cleaning staff to help with the preparations or clean up afterwards.
Tip:

If you hire a caterer, your taxes benefit more if he prepares the appetisers in your kitchen instead of bringing them ready-made. This lets you claim the preparation time as ‘working time’ costs.

What to Keep in Mind About The Tax-Deductible Amount

When deducting household-related services, you may offset 20% of the expenses up to a limit of 20,000 Euros against income tax. This means that you can include a maximum of 4,000 Euros per year in your tax return.

How far you can span the field of household-related services depends on the tolerance of your tax office. At the very least, it is possible to significantly reduce the costs for the personal support you need for your party, such as mowing the lawn and preparing and serving food.

In any case, you should note that you will receive an invoice for all services rendered. For example, if the chef has also done the shopping and delivered the food, the invoice should show the individual items and clearly identify the part of the service.

You cannot include material costs, i.e. the food itself or rental fees for tables and chairs. Always pay the invoice amount through bank transfer, never in cash.

Tip:

It is best to clarify with the contractors how the invoice should be structured. You may also be able to arrange for as much of the work as possible to be done in your home.

Even if you can only deduct the services from the actual party, the wedding is definitely worthwhile from a tax point of view: afterwards. You and your partner can choose between single and joint taxation and thus save considerably.

In addition, there are several options for the tax classes: III and V or the other way round. Can’t decide on your tax class after marriage? Here’s a comprehensive guide on choosing the right tax class for more tax savings. If you decide on a joint tax assessment for tax reasons, this applies retroactively for the whole year.

Moreover, there are several costs that you can easily declare in your tax returns and save more money.

Who knows, maybe the tax office decides on a ‘wedding present’ that finances your party after all!

Calculate your tax returns with Taxfix. It’s easy, paperless and we calculate how much you’ll probably get back from taxes in around 22 minutes.
Pooja Ghosh
by Pooja Ghosh
published on: 18.08.2022
updated on: 16.11.2022

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