Apply for childcare costs as special expenses

You can claim the care of a child for tax purposes. You can find information on this here.

Expenses for the care of a child belonging to the household for whom you are entitled to child benefit or an allowance for children and who has not yet reached the age of 14 or is unable to support themselves due to a physical, mental or emotional disability that occurred before the age of 25 (until 31.12.2006 of the age of 27) are taken into account as special expenses. The amount of the special expenses deduction is limited to 2/3 of the childcare costs, a maximum of EUR 4,000 per child. For children living abroad, the maximum amount may be reduced if this is necessary according to the country group classification (depending on the country group reduction of three quarters, half or a quarter).

For further explanation:

What is household affiliation all about?

Consideration of childcare costs presupposes that the child belongs to the taxpayer's household, i.e. he or she must live in his or her home or be temporarily accommodated abroad with his consent (e.B. in the case of boarding school accommodation). In the case of non-cohabiting parents, the child's declaration of residence is generally decisive for the assignment to the household of one of the parents.

Which services for the care of children are favoured?

Beneficiary services are in particular expenses for

  • Crèche, after-school or kindergarten places or for day-care centres,
  • childminders or all-day care centres,
  • the employment of domestic helpers, insofar as they look after a child,
  • the supervision of the child in the completion of homework.

Expenses for

  • Lessons (e.B school fees, tutoring or foreign language lessons),
  • the teaching of special skills (e.B computer courses, music lessons),
  • sports and other leisure activities (e.B membership in sports clubs, tennis or riding lessons),
  • the child's meals or travel expenses.

Which expenses for the care of children are deductible?

In addition to expenses in money, you can also deduct

  • benefits in kind, in particular for the accommodation and meals of the carer (not for the child in care) in the taxpayer's household,
  • Reimbursements to the caregiver, e.B their travel expenses (not those for the child), if the services are listed in detail in the invoice or in the contract.

To what extent are childcare costs to be taken into account?

Childcare costs are deductible as special expenses in the amount of 2/3 of the expenses, up to a maximum of EUR 4,000 per child and calendar year . The maximum amount is an annual amount which is not reduced pro rata temporis, even if the conditions for the deduction of childcare costs were only present during part of the year.

Refunds or a tax-free replacement (e.B. kindergarten subsidies from the employer) reduce the childcare costs that can be taken into account as special expenses.

Note: If the legal requirements for the deduction of childcare costs are only met for part of the calendar year (e.B. because the child reaches the age of 14 in July of a year), then only 2/3 of the childcare costs incurred in the period from January to July are to be set, possibly limited to the maximum amount of EUR 4,000 (no twelfth).

In the case of unmarried, permanently separated or divorced parents, the parent who has borne the expenses and to whose household the child belongs is entitled to deduct childcare costs. If this applies to both parents, everyone can only claim their actual expenses up to the amount of half of the maximum deduction amount (in the amount of EUR 2,000).

  • Income tax return, attachment child
  • If applicable, application for income tax reduction together with the attachment of children

The childcare costs must be proven by an invoice. The same applies to payment to an account of the service provider (by bank transfer or cheque). The invoice and proof of payment must be presented at the request of the tax office. Cash payments and cash cheques cannot be accepted.

The following are also considered "invoices":

  • the employment contract for an employment relationship subject to social security contributions or a mini-job,
  • the fee notice (e.B. about the kindergarten fees to be paid),
  • a receipt (e.g. about ancillary costs for care),
  • in the case of au pairs, the au pair contract, which shows what proportion of the total expenses is attributable to childcare.
  • Paper tax return forms
  • Online procedure

Related Links

  • Paper tax return forms


  • You have proven the expenses for the care of a child
  • for the child in care you are entitled to child benefit or the child allowance
  • the supervised child has not yet reached the age of 14 or is unable to support himself due to a physical, mental or emotional disability occurring before the age of 25 (until 31.12.2006 of the age of 27)
  • the child in care belongs to your household
  • You have transferred the expenses for the care of the child to the account of the provider of the service (e.B. the caregiver)
  • You have received an invoice

Related Links

  • § 10 paragraph 1 number 5 of the Income Tax Act (EStG)

Childcare costs can be claimed on the Child attachment to the income tax return.

If the childcare costs are already to be taken into account in the wage tax deduction procedure, an application for a wage tax reduction at your tax office of residence is necessary.

The corresponding forms can be called up online in the form offer of the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Responsible for the content
Lower Saxony State Tax Office

Last update or date of publication