Tax return for soldiers

The tax office also looks at persons in the Bundeswehr. What taxes soldiers pay and how they can save taxes. This is how you sell your uniform, meals, trips and insurance.


    Do soldiers have to pay taxes?

    Yes, they must. People in the troops also pay taxes to the state. However, as civil servants, like civil servants, soldiers do not have to pay social security contributions from their salary. This eliminates the costs of unemployment, pension and health insurance and leaves more of the gross salary. Soldiers still pay taxes and that also means that they can save on taxes.


    Save taxes as a soldier: deduct commuting

    With the commuter allowance (German) you can deduct the cost of driving between your place of residence and your place of work at 0.30 euros per kilometer or 0.38 euros (from the 21st kilometer) from your taxes.
    It is not the linear distance between the two locations that is measured, but the distance traveled by car, even if you don't come by car at all. Only the way to the first place of work counts, i.e. your main workplace such as your barracks and the days on which you worked.

    If you also worked at another location such as an air base, for example to take part in an exercise, you can also deduct the travel expenses - but then for the entire route, i.e. the outward and return journey.

    If you do not drive your car on these journeys, for example to a barracks other than the main barracks, you can enter the travel costs you actually incurred in your tax return. So it is best to keep all train, bus or plane tickets safe. The tax office may come to you after you have completed your tax return and ask for the receipts. Submission of receipts with the tax return, for example, has been possible since the change from document submission to Obligation to keep documents not necessary anymore.

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    Claim costs for uniform and work equipment for tax purposes

    Like other professional groups, people who work as soldiers can deduct their work equipment and the repairs from their taxes. This also applies to your uniform. Regardless of whether it is a purchase or cleaning, it is really worth keeping every receipt and stating the costs. Incidentally, cleaning also includes your own washing effort. We reveal how to do this in the article on deductible work clothing (German).


    Of course, you can also claim a large part of all other work equipment for tax purposes. These include, for example, stationery, computers, specialist literature, software, tools and even the telephone. All these tools are part of the advertising costs (German). In this article we will tell you step by step how to take them off (German).


    Important for the tax return: moves to/from the barracks

    If you move for professional reasons, for example because you are moving into or out of the barracks or changing location, then these costs can also reduce your tax burden. Even if you're just relocating to be closer to where you work, you can still include the cost on your tax return.

    The relocation costs recognized by the tax office include, for example, the following expenses:

    • Advertisement / advertisement costs / housing brokerage
    • Traveling expenses
    • Transport costs (e.g. moving truck, movers, tips for movers)
    • Second residence (German)
    • Register car
    • Description of ID card
    • Attaching and removing television aerials, lamps, curtains
    • Costs for a stove if one was provided in the old apartment and there is none in the new apartment

    You can find even more about deductible moving expenses (German) and how to enter the expenses in the Taxfix app (incl. video explanation) in our article.

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    Courses and training

    You can also state the costs for courses and training in your tax return. This works in the same way as with travel expenses (see commute) and when specifying work equipment. If the course itself also cost you money, you can also deduct this from your taxes. You can find out here which training courses are involved and to what extent.


    You cannot claim those costs for tax purposes that your employer bears.


    Assignment abroad

    Soldiers who are sent on a mission abroad by decision of the federal government receive one depending on the location and circumstances foreign assignment surcharge (German), which is regulated by the federal salary law. This salary bonus is completely tax-free.

    Another special feature for foreign assignments is the indication of the additional meal expenses. You can deduct a certain amount for the first 3 months if there is no communal catering. You can find out how much the amount is in which country in the table for the meal allowance of the Federal Ministry of Finance.

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    As a soldier, you can deduct some insurance policies from your taxes. Some are tax-deductible as income-related expenses, others as special expenses. 

    Deductible insurance includes liability, disability and health insurance. You can also claim labour legal protection insurance or professional liability insurance for tax purposes. More to deduction of insurance costs you can find in our post.


    Exception marines

    As a marine, you can claim the additional subsistence expenses for the entire time you spend on the ship, even if this deployment at sea lasts longer than 3 months. Besides, you can telephone costs state in the tax return if your business trip lasts longer than 1 week.


    Exception for service dog handlers

    Service dog handlers also receive tax breaks. You can sell materials such as a leash, transport box or food and do not have to pay a dog tax. Another item that should not be missing in your tax return is the statement of your insurance expenses as well as the indication of the contributions to professional associations.

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