General information on calculating income

In any case, the capital gain is calculated using the difference between the proceeds from the sale and the costs of acquisition.

The proceeds from the sale should always be fixed at their actual amount. For the costs of acquisition that are to be deducted, a distinction must be made between:

  • "New properties" (regular income calculation: the actual costs of acquisitionadapted if necessary – are deducted here);
  • "Old properties" (flat-rate income calculation: in principle, a generous flat-rate value is applied for the costs of acquisition here).

What is decisive for this classification is whether or not the property that was sold was liable for tax on 31 March 2012 (i.e. whether or not the basic ten-year speculation period provided for by law prior to the 1. Stabilitätsgesetz 2012 (→ USP)  has not yet expired).

In the business sector, depreciations to the lower partial value and losses from the sale of property are primarily to be offset against income from the sale or write-up of such property belonging to the same company. Any remaining negative surplus may be offset at 60 percent with progressively taxed income. If offsetting with other income is not possible during the assessment year, this loss may be carried forward to future assessment years (loss carried forward).

For external business 60 percent of the losses from private property sales may either be offset over 15 years with profits from letting and leasing or, upon request, offset in their entirety with income from letting and leasing during the year in which the loss occurs.


The proceeds of the sale are to be distinguished from the capital gain: the capital gain results from the difference between the proceeds of the sale and the costs of acquisition.

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 1 January 2021

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Finance