Count reimbursements as income

Tax return also with Hartz IV?

In some constellations, a tax return can also be useful for Hartz IV recipients. Depending on whether you were unemployed all year long or just part of the year, you could get money back. The selected tax class also has an influence. However, if you get your tax back while you are receiving benefits, you should be careful: the job center fully counts tax refunds as income.

Hartz IV does not have to be stated in the tax return

If you only received Hartz IV in one year, you do not have to file a tax return. But Hartz IV recipients should also submit a tax return under certain circumstances. However, there is a risk that tax refunds will be offset against ongoing Hartz IV payments. Therefore, the submission in only a few constellations makes sense.

Hartz IV is a pure social benefit. Therefore Hartz is not subject to the progression reservation. This means that your Hartz 4 has no influence on your taxable annual income. That is why you do not have to state Hartz IV in your tax return. You only have to enter how long you have received benefits from the job center in your tax return. However, the tax office is free to request evidence.

Tax reimbursement can be claimed for job search costs

Although recipients of Hartz IV benefits do not pay wage tax, a tax refund could still be claimed under certain circumstances. These include, for example, costs for looking for a job or costs for further training. This is currently the explanation of the United Wage Tax Aid Association (VLH).

If a tax return is submitted by the former taxpayer to the responsible tax office, the tax authority must take into account a loss in the amount of the acquisition-related costs incurred. These are, for example, costs for further training, certificates of good conduct, application photos, materials for writing and trips to job interviews with potential employers. For this reason, according to the income tax association, receipts should always be kept in order to be able to prove them later. However, a refund is not always possible.

Do top-ups have to file a tax return?

As a rule, top-ups do not have to file a tax return. However, a tax return can be worthwhile if you have paid a lot of taxes and can claim high income-related expenses. Advertising costs are costs that you have incurred in connection with your work. This can include all possible costs from travel expenses to costs for business trips to work clothing.

A flat fee of EUR 1,000 will be credited to you for this. If you exceed the flat rate, the costs will be deducted from your income. You then only have to pay taxes on the rest.

Refunds possible if job search did not last the whole year

"In those cases in which the job search did not last the entire year, a tax refund can usually be expected," explained VLH boss Jörg Strötzel. “Especially for single people in tax brackets 1 or 2, these are often a few hundred euros if the employment relationship did not exist throughout”.

Choice of tax class is crucial

The tax brackets could also play a role in the refunds. For those who are married, the selected tax bracket combination is of high value. If both spouses were in tax class 4 and only one of the two partners was doing a job, the experts believe that the tax office often repays the tax after filing a tax return. Because the employed person has usually incurred too much taxes.

Tax refund is counted as income

But be careful: According to a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court (Az .: 1 BvR 2007/11), offsetting current Hartz IV payments for an income tax refund is not unconstitutional. One plaintiff had filed a complaint after it had failed in each of the previous instances. The job center had rated the income tax reimbursement as "income" and not as "assets" and therefore reduced the Hartz IV benefits accordingly by the amount. The constitutional judges took the view that “crediting the tax refund does not violate the fundamental right to property”.

The unemployment benefit II is a welfare benefit and is therefore "not protected by the fundamental right to property". In case of doubt, a tax advisor, income tax aid association or unemployment association should be brought in so that the tax refund does not ultimately reduce the ALG II benefits. The job center always takes into account the time at which the reimbursement is received on your account, not the time when you receive your notification. If possible, you should try to get a reimbursement at a time when you are not currently receiving any Hartz IV benefits.


Judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court