I had a liposuction – can I make the expense a tax deduction in Germany?

Being overweight is something that many people are struggling with and all too often a change in diet or just working out more does not work. In those cases often only a liposuction helps – especially for Americans, as this procedure is a lot more accepted in the US than it (still) is with Europeans.

Since the surgery is not always covered by somebody’s health insurance the question arises, whether somebody else (e.g. the tax man) could be cut in on the expenses. The good news is yes, the German tax system will help you recover some of these costs as a so called “special burden”-item by way of including the unreimbursed expenses in your tax filing.

There are a few strings attached when including these expenses in your tax filing:

  1. The liposuction needs to have been indicated for medical reasons. If it was carried out for cosmetic reason the expense will be disregarded. So, the documentation of medical reasons is key.
  2. The procedure used needs to be one, which is scientifically accepted and recognized. This means that your tax advisor need to do at least basic research into medical procedures and the extent of their acceptance. So, when documenting the medical indication of your beaty surgery, please also have your doctor provide a few professional articles as to the acceptance of the method in the industry.
  3. Depending on your overall situation considering the expense as a “special burden”-item might still not make a large difference – e.g. if you moved to Germany late. This is because the “special burden”-item comes with certain caps and cannot be carried forward.
  4. The consideration does not apply to cases before 2016.

We hope the above makes it clear, why a German tax office will naturally balk at considering the expense for liposuction or just any beauty surgery. However, the documentation of its medical indication along with the acceptance of the medical method used during the procedure will likely ensure the expense is considered in your tax filing. How much of a difference it makes, can only be determined on a case-by-case situation as the regime which applies to these operations, is a special one.

Please let us know if you have questions as to whether your surgery expenses can be considered for German tax purposes.

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