Expats beware: Simply opening your laptop is not enough.
Working remotely is more up-to-date than ever due to the Coronavirus. The following is a brief summary of the tax rules to be observed.
First the bad news: expenses for the home office are generally not tax deductible according to Sec. 4 para. 5 no. 6b EStG. However, there are two exceptions:
1. There is no other place of work available
Employees and job seekers can claim a limited deduction of up to EUR 1,250 per year for a home office.
If employees are now sent to the home office by their employer – e.g. due to the coronavirus – this requirement is met, as no other workplace is currently available to them. The maximum annual amount of EUR 1,250 also applies if the home office was only used temporarily, e.g. during the coronavirus.
2. The home office is the centre of all professional activity
If the centre of professional activity is in the home office, the costs are deductible without limitation. The decisive factor here is that all activities that are characteristic of the profession are carried out in the home office. This usually applies to self-employed/freelancers who work from the home office.
Beware: Opening your laptop at the dining table is not enough
The home office must be a marked and distinct space used exclusively or almost exclusively for business or professional purposes. This means that expenses for small work corners or the temporarily used study (room is mainly used privately) cannot be assessed for tax purposes.
But: even if you do not have a distinct room, you can still consider costs for work equipment (e.g. laptop, printer) for tax purposes.
Which costs are deductible:
A workroom must be furnished according to the professional purposes. Deductible are e.g. costs for furnishing, such as desk, shelves, pictures, lamps, curtains, rent/depreciation for your own home or insurance contributions. The furnishings of the home office do not usually include the television set, the refrigerator or the guest bed (attention private use).
Zerberus is happy to support you in claiming the home office in your income tax return – by the way, completely digital without the physical exchange of paper receipts. You simply upload all receipts to our secure portal. Zerberus prepares the declaration, you check and release the declaration online and receive an average of EUR 1,000 tax refund from the tax office.
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So are we. Please contact us.