New tax lump sums for the home office
Corona and home office: This is how you get more out of tax
The year 2020 presented us all with new challenges: More than ever, their own home has become the center of life and home office has become the rule for many. It goes without saying that this also results in higher costs: power consumption increases, new furniture for the home office needs to be built, the internet connection needs an upgrade, others are setting up a completely new study. The question quickly arises: Who actually pays the additional costs in the home office? What can you deduct employees working from home for tax purposes? And: What other tax breaks are there for your 2020 tax return? We got to the bottom of the most important questions.
Tax lump sums in the home office without your own office
If you have your own office as an employee, but still have to work from home due to Corona, you can deduct a flat rate of 5 euros per working day in the home office for 2020. However, this amount is capped at a maximum of 120 working days, so that you can claim a maximum of 600 euros of this so-called home office flat rate for 2020 for tax purposes. But be careful: These 600 euros are part of the existing flat rate for advertising expenses of 1000 euros. If you do not claim any additional advertising costs apart from the € 600 and thus do not exceed the € 1000 flat-rate flat-rate for advertising costs, you will not benefit from this home office flat-rate. If you are usually a commuter, you have to make sure that you cannot deduct any travel expenses to work for the days that you were in the home office.
Corona and home office: what counts as your own study at home?
If you have the space for your own study, things look completely different again: Employees with their own study can deduct numerous costs from tax (more on this below). The question arises: When does a study also legally count as a “real” study? There are clear rules for this: An important prerequisite is that no other workstation is available to you. So if your employer has not given any explicit instructions, but only a recommendation for working from home, the following also applies to your “office at home”: You can bill the home office flat rate of a maximum of 600 euros for 2020.
In addition, your study must be spatially separated from the rest of the apartment, i.e. you need a clean study that is used exclusively for work. A desk in the living room or bedroom is not enough as a study.
Conclusion: In order to be able to deduct the costs of your office from tax, you must have been obliged by your employer to work in the home office and also have your own real office.
You can deduct this for tax purposes if you have your own study
Good news for employees who have their own study and were obliged to work from home during Corona: You can deduct all costs for your study. It is important to note that your purchases must be necessary for the performance of your job. This includes the rental, electricity and heating costs as well as the property tax and other ancillary costs. For example, if you have a 10-square-meter study in a 100-square-meter apartment for which you pay a monthly rent of € 1000, you can claim 10% per month - in this case € 100 - of your rent as income-related expenses from the tax office.
Deduct advertising expenses and work equipment during Corona
Regardless of whether you have a real study or have moved your home office to the living room table during Corona: There are costs that you can deduct in any case. In addition to advertising expenses, this also includes expenses for work equipment.
You have the following options for your Internet and telephone communication costs:
- You set your monthly expenses at a flat rate of 20%. For example, if your home office costs € 50 per month for internet and telephone, this corresponds to € 10, which you can deduct for each calendar month. However, the flat-rate regulation is limited: You can deduct a maximum of € 20 per month.
- If your internet and telephone costs in the home office are higher, for example because you make a lot of business calls abroad, you can also provide proof of your costs with a single itemized bill. There is no upper limit and you can deduct more than € 20 per month.
You can also claim electricity costs incurred for using your laptop or mobile phone in the home office as advertising costs. To do this, however, you have to calculate the electricity consumption accordingly, flat rates are not allowed here.
In turn, you can always withdraw work equipment. So if you need a new desk, PC, headset, office supplies or other things for working from home, you can also state these as advertising expenses. The only important thing is: work equipment that is cheaper than € 800 net is specified with the full amount for the year to be billed. For purchases that are more expensive, you have to write off the useful life of the respective work equipment. We have placed a link to the official depreciation tables for you at the end of the article
New acquisitions can be particularly worthwhile now
The home office flat rate offers you a real chance to save taxes properly. The PC you need for work is old and slow? You can add the purchase of a new one to the € 600 advertising costs. Your old desk will soon fall apart and take up too much space anyway? Here, too, you can claim new acquisitions for tax purposes. By the way: In our online shop you will find numerous chic and space-saving solutions for a relaxed home office.
On the website of the Federal Ministry of Finance you can find the depreciation tables for larger devices that you can buy from home: https://www.bundesfinanzministerium.de/Web/DE/Themen/Steuern/Steuerverwaltungu-Steuerrecht/Betriebspruefung/AfA_Tabellen/afa_tabellen.html