Peter Scheller
Berater für Wirtschaftsprüfer, Rechtsanwälte, Steuer- und Unternehmensberater

„Wenn es knifflig wird.“

Tax deduction of a home office

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Self-employed people as well as employees may work some of the time or permanently from home. This raises the question of whether and when expenses for a home office are tax deductible in Germany and if so, what kind of expenses are valid.

The term home office is not defined in law but rather clarified by the ruling of Germany’s highest fiscal court. A home office is a room within the domestic accommodation which is designed and equipped for work of intellectual, literary, administrative or organizational nature. This room has to be used almost exclusively for business or professional purposes. A private use of this room of more than 10% results in the non-deductibility of expenses. Rooms where functions or facilities such as work or repair shops, medical practices, official offices etc. are typically undertaken are not considered to be a home office.

The expenses for a home office can be deducted up to 1,250 Euro per year if there is no other workplace at the disposal of the employee or the self-employed person. This means that employees can only deduct expenses for a home office if their employers do not provide them with a workplace in their formal offices. If the home office constitutes the center of business or professional activities of the taxable person the expenses can be deducted without any restriction. If a person is working away from home as well as in the home office, he or she has to perform the main activities or work at the home office in order to achieve full tax deductibility of respective expenses. Self-employed persons who perform most of their work from home are able to deduct respective expenses without any restrictions. However, the taxable person has to prove to the tax authorities that the before mentioned criteria are fulfilled.

Expenses for offices or workplaces outside the own domestic home are fully deductible.

Deductible items are all expenses connected to the home such as rents, heating, electricity, utilities, property management fees, real estate tax, insurance premiums, repairs etc. If the home office is situated in a house which is owned by the taxable person depreciations on the building can be deducted as well. The before mentioned costs have to be split-up proportionately. The criteria of division are the square meters of home office divided through by the square meters of the whole house or flat (living areas).

However, even if the tax office does not accept the existence of a home office, expenses for working materials and office equipment such as work desk and chair, IT equipment, telecommunication equipment, filing cabinets, waste paper basket, professional publications etc. can be deducted.

Author: Peter Scheller, Steuerberater, Master of International Taxation, Fachberater für Zölle und Verbrauchsteuern

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Kommentare

Kommentar von A concerned tax payer |

If I am living in a studio apartment and has a small room that is between the house entrance and my main studio living room. Does it qualify for the home office? or Does a studio apartment where I live qualify for home office.

In your private home a room can qualify as a home ofice if the following applies:

  • The room is solely used for business or job related purpose.
  • The use for private purposes is impossible (not items in the room which may be used for private purposes).
  • You do not have a working place somewhere else (employer, customer).
  • You carry our your work in this room.

Tax authorities may do audits.

I think you need a professional tax advice.

Kommentar von Raja |

Hello,

For the 2018 tax declaration, tax office rejected my home officie deductions.

I have an employment contract stating that one day in a week, I will work from home.
Is my case eligble for the home office deduction ?

Thanks & Regards,
Raja

Antwort von Administrator

You need help by an expirienced tax adviser.

Kommentar von Alekhya Narravula |

Hello
Thank you for this.
I am a remote employee hired by a PEO and leased to an American company. So I mostly work from home. However I am planning to join a coworking space to work from rather than my home as it is not big enough.
Would this monthly rent be deductible with no restrictions? Based on the information above i understood that it would be but I wanted to confirm

Antwort von Peter Scheller

Job-related expenses for renting office space is fully deductible.

Kommentar von Bala |

Hello, my employer asked us to do home office for 2 months ( till end of July). If I buy a chair and desk for working in my home. Then will I be able to add that cost for tax returns ?

Thanks
Bala

Antwort von Peter Scheller

If these items are only for work pusposes it can be deducted. If an item costs not more than 800 Euro the full amount can be deducted this year. Otherwise it has to be depreciated.

Kommentar von Damian Nolan |

Hello,

If you are full time working from home (not temporary), are you eligible to claim tax deductions on items such as Monitors and Chairs irrespective of personal use?

I would much appreciate your help! Thank you!
Damian

Antwort von Peter Scheller

In Germany you are entitled to.

If the item's acquisition costs exceed 800 Euro you have to depreciate it (meaning you can deduct the acquisition cost of a certain number of years).

Kommentar von Samuel |

Hi there!

My company office is in Frankfurt but I work from Berlin (home) 3 out of 4 weeks . For the week in Frankfurt I stay in a hotel (not reimbursed by the company). Can I claim the cost of travel and hotel room in my Tax statement? If so, how much?

Antwort von Peter Scheller

Yes you can. You may claim your expenses (trainticket, hotel etc.).

Kommentar von Abhishek Abhishek |

Hi

I am working for a US firm and would like to know so there any limitation on the nk of rooms to.have a home office?

Regards
Abhishek

Antwort von Peter Scheller

This depends on a lot of factors which you did not provide.

Kommentar von Lee |

Hello,
I am an artist living in Berlin.
After I married, I moved into my husband own house and kept my studio flat where I lived as atelier.
Because in general, the rent for a separate atelier in Berlin costs more than my rent.

Is it also included to home office or can I deduct as my working space when I report my annual income tax?

thanks in advance.

Lee

Antwort von Peter Scheller

You should be able to deduct the costs for the working space if you are not living in the flat.

Kommentar von Piotr |

Hi,

How do I need to document the rent expense to tax authorities? Do I need to show the contract and floor plan?

I am paying my rent not directly to landlord, but I pay my part of the rent to the flatmate, who then transfers all the money to the landlord. I have a contract that stipulates all the rent, but it is in English - is it enough? I have Anmeldung in the apartment and I am on the contract with the landlord.

Kommentar von Cw |

Hey,

I am a freelancer and only work from home. Can I write off frames and photos that I purchase as well as other accessories?

Thanks

Antwort von Peter Scheller

If you are a photographer or artist. Otherwise only if this is job related.

Kommentar von Lucas |

Hello
Thank you for your article and all the answers to the precious questions.
I'm training to be a massage therapist. I have an extra room that I'm considering to use exclusively for this. Can I receive clients and consider this room as a professional expense? I guess I need a paper from landlord or Hausverwaltung; can they refuse?

Antwort von Peter Scheller

If you use the room for therapy sessions only the costs are tax deductible.

However, you have to make sure that your rental contract allows you to do this in the flat. If not, you may have a legal issues with your landlord.

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