Germany: Guardians and trustees are equated with volunteers

We have already talked about the benefits for volunteers who can receive a tax-free amount of up to 2,400 euros per year (Übungsleiterfreibetrag). In this regard, the question was raised whether guardians and trustees are equated with volunteers?

The law provides for the receipt of Übungsleiterfreibetrag for those who, on a voluntary basis, perform the following work:

  • Supervisor (§§ 1896 ff. BGB): a person who provides services and care for an adult sick or elderly person and is his legal representative, since a sick or elderly person is not able to decide their own affairs;
  • Guardian (§§ 1793 ff. BGB): a person performing the functions of a guardian: such a person can be appointed, for example, by a court, if a minor child does not have parents – they either died or they were deprived of parental rights;
  • Pfleger (§§ 1909 ff. BGB): a person exercising guardianship functions, including support for a minor child or adult in a specific area or for a specific period of time. For example, a caregiver can manage a child’s finances until the child reaches adulthood.

The Übungsleiterfreibetrag value is different for these cases. Betreuer receives a lump sum of 399 euros per year for each ward in compensation for expenses. For example, for five wards, Betreuer can receive € 1,995 per year. This lump sum is tax deductible if it does not exceed € 2,400 per year. If the expenses have exceeded Übungsleiterfreibetrag, he is allowed to deduct from his income the expenses amounting to a lump sum of 25% of the amount of 399 euros.

Experts give an example. Housewife A.K. in her spare time volunteers to lead the choir and receives 2,600 euros per year for this. For this income, A.K. is entitled to use a tax-free Übungsleiterfreibetrag in the amount of 2,400 euros; the remaining € 200 is taxed as business income. AK is also a Betreuer for a family of two disabled people, for which he receives 399 x 2 = 798 euros in compensation for his expenses. From these she has the right to deduct 25% (or 199.50 euros) as Werbungskostenpauschale. The remaining € 598.50 is tax deductible.

For guardians, trustees and Betreuer, the following rule applies: if, after deducting the tax-free amount of € 2,400 from the total income, no more than € 256 per year remains, this amount, according to § 3 Nr. 26 b EStG, not subject to any tax.


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