Paying more taxes would increase the tax refund

When the tax refund is less than you thought

The deadline is over and now the long wait begins. Weeks of anticipation will determine your everyday life from now on. After all, you expect a hefty repayment from the tax office. There are enough reasons for this. You have high advertising costs, insurance premiums and have made use of household-related services - it would have to go to hell if at least 600 euros are not washed back into the cash register.

Your gut feeling was supported by our live tax calculator. This shows you in detail your possible tax refund as soon as you have entered your data in our tax tool. After you have entered everything, you will even be shown the proud sum of 792 euros. One more reason to file your tax return as quickly as possible.

And then it happened - you hold your tax bill in your hands and are disappointed, even a bit of anger has crept in. The tax refund is significantly lower than you actually thought. There can be several reasons for this.

Forgot details

Usually you don't have time for the tax return and sometimes you just don't feel like it. So we often reluctantly sit down at the computer and force ourselves to finally finish the swipe. If there is a lack of motivation, there is often a lack of concentration. And so it can happen that we forget essential items in the income tax return. That is why it is always worth checking all the details so that nothing is forgotten.

One of the most common mistakes is that employees forget to fill in a payroll tax certificate. However, the employers automatically transmit the data on the income tax certificates to the tax offices. The tax office can therefore access this data and adjust the tax return on the basis of the employer's report.

Examples of relevant expenses that are sometimes forgotten in the tax return:

Costs were not recognized

Not all expenses that we include in the tax return necessarily have to be recognized by the tax office. Although there is no basis for discussion on many issues, the scope of a tax officer is greater than one would usually assume.

For example, a suit for the office job usually cannot be claimed for tax purposes, as it can also be used for private occasions. It is different with overalls for craftsmen. There is no room for interpretation here, as only very few would wear this work clothes privately. This means that not every information is taken into account. However, our tool always assumes the best case and does not include any fluctuations or ambiguities.

For some issues it is legally controversial whether they can be deducted from income tax. Proceedings from the highest court are in progress to clarify whether the costs are tax deductible. These processes are known as model processes. For the legal questions concerned, the tax office usually includes a provisional note in the tax assessment. If the corresponding court ruling is in favor of the taxpayer, the tax offices should change the tax assessment on the relevant points of their own accord.

For which matters do such provisional notices apply? They currently apply to, among other things:

  • the amount of child allowances in accordance with the Income Tax Act,
  • the deduction of a reasonable burden when considering expenses for illness or care as an extraordinary burden.

You will find the relevant provisional notices at the back of your tax assessment notice.

Flat rate was not recognized

The responsible tax office recognizes lump sums without proof. With them, a certain part of the income is made tax-free. Expenses that exceed the lump sum can also be deducted from tax. However, if the income is below the lump sum, then this is automatically deducted from the taxable income.

This is how flat rates are usually dealt with. However, there are also items that are not automatically recognized by the tax office. This primarily concerns expenses for work equipment, which are deducted from the tax with up to 110 euros. Similar to account management or telephone and internet costs, this is not a flat rate in the strict sense of the word. On the contrary, many tax officials accept very small amounts up to a certain limit without any legal entitlement to them.

Examples of such non-objection limits:

  • Account management fees 16 euros,
  • Work equipment 110 euros,
  • Telephone and Internet costs 20 percent of the invoice amount, a maximum of 240 euros.

You can find an overview of important flat rates in this article.

Further reasons for a deviation

  • Insurance companies / employers have provided no or incorrect data.

Submit evidence if expenses have not been recognized

If, for whatever reason, a lump sum that you have set is not recognized by the tax office, you still have the option of providing evidence of your expenses.

Since filing your tax return for 2017, you don't have to send any receipts or receipts to your tax office. It is sufficient if you keep this for possible queries. For example, if you have incurred expenses for the first time, it may be necessary to submit receipts. In this case, the tax office will contact you and request the receipts.

You can find more information on this topic here.

Tax assessment provides information

With all the disappointment, you should keep a cool head. The tax assessment gives you information on why one or more items were not recognized.

Under the item "Determination" there are detailed explanations of how your tax refund or back payment is made up. Sometimes problems clear up by themselves and you can understand the decision better. If this is not the case, however, you have the option of contacting your responsible tax office directly to question their motives. The tax officer is obliged to process your request and answer your questions.

When nothing helps

After you have received the tax assessment, the deadline for an objection is one month. You can also find this information at the end of the notification.

Special features in the event of an objection:

  • the tax office will check all information again - errors that have been made in your favor will also be corrected.
  • If the tax office detects errors that lead to back payments, the office threatens to "make an error" (in this case the objection can be withdrawn, the incorrect tax assessment then remains untouched and becomes legally valid).

So don't let yourself be disturbed if the tax assessment does not turn out as you imagined. Sometimes discrepancies can just be eliminated and the world will look better again.