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 expensesAny expenses incurred in the acquisition, securing, and maintenance of income – meaning expenses directly connected with your work. They are deducted from your taxable income and therefore reduce your …
Read more 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.
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.