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Support to Non-German Partner as extraordinary Expenses

Normally, you can deduct up to € 7,680 of support payments for maintenance made to a person to whom you owe support by law – pursuant to §33a EStG. But what if you are supporting a non-German person with whom you are living together without being married? Does this still qualify? The BFH answered this question on April 20, 2006 (re III R 23/05 [published on August 8, 2006]).


To whom do you owe support by law? Persons whom you owe support by law are:

  • Husband or wife to each other, §1360 BGB,
  • Separated married couples, not yet divorced, to each other, §1361 BGB,
  • Divorced couples, each §§1569 ff. BGB,
  • Persons in direct line of descent, to each other, §1601 BGB,
  • Father to his child of an unmarried woman, §1615a BGB,
  • Father to the unmarried mother of his child for pregnancy and post-delivery, §1615 l BGB.


Unless your relative falls under one these requirements these payments will not be deductible. If the person to support is not one of the above-mentioned persons, you do not owe him support by law. §33a I 2 EStG states that someone can still deduct support payments against income tax, who thereby forfeits a claim to local public welfare. Public welfare will generally be any kind of poverty support, especially Arbeitslosengeld II and Sozialgeld. Arbeitslosengeld I does not count since it is considered as an insurance benefit.

The question in the judgment above was whether the support paid for a foreigner in a life-partner relationship in order to prevent his deportation is deductible against income tax? In case at hand, the person to be deported was a partner in a same-sex civil-union marriage (“eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft”). After losing an initial court battle over a foreigner’s residence permit, on account of joblessness, the solvent partner then guaranteed the necessary financial support. This gave rise to tax deduction question.

The general rule is that you have to prove the basis of a tax deduction. Since the tax payer bears the burden to prove his deduction, it makes sense to keep a copy of the letter agency decision referencing support payments in lieu of deportation. But what about deduction of any legal costs you paid on behalf of the proceedings? Unfortunately, they are not deductible. That is because they are not considered as support.

Published on the old CMS: 2007/2/5
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 61 reads