You can deduct these costs

Millions of people have been working from home for weeks. Many employees and employers are now asking themselves: Who pays what – and what can be deducted from the tax next year?

Can costs for time in the home office be deductible?

Yes and no. In order to be able to deduct the costs of the Corona-related time at the home office from your taxes, some basic requirements must be met. In the first step, it must be possible to prove that your own employer has ordered that you only work from home. For example, it could be an email stating that the employee is not voluntarily at the home office.

Second, there must be a separate office in your own home that is used solely to pursue your professional purpose. So anyone who has had to turn the dining table into a desk has a bad hand.

How much is tax deductible?

The maximum rate that can be set annually is 1,250 euros – provided you have your own office and there is no possibility to work directly at the workplace. These income-related expenses must be included in the tax return’s appendix N under “Home office expenses”. If you have your own study, the proportional calculation is based on the ratio between this room and the rest of the total living space. If, for example, the size of the studio takes up a quarter of the apartment, a quarter of the costs incurred can also be deducted. Delivery of the survey is unaffected, these can be submitted in full.

Couples who currently both work from home now benefit in particular: even if there is only one examination in the apartment, both can claim their costs for this examination. The reason: We charge per person here, not per study room.

New laptop, higher electricity bill: What can be deducted?

Anyone who has now bought a new laptop or other work equipment as part of the sudden home office, but also uses it privately, can therefore only declare part of it in the tax return: Around 50 percent usually do not receive an objection from the tax office. The catch: This only refers to the months when the laptop is actually used for work purposes. This is why freelancers or the self-employed especially benefit here.

It becomes even more difficult when it comes to the electricity bill: It is hardly possible to deduct it. But if you’re worried that working from home will skyrocket your electricity bills, don’t worry: Typically, the cost of charging a laptop averages no more than 15 cents, and charging a smartphone is less than 1 cent. Anyone who has previously eaten lunch in the canteen at a particularly low price and now has to light the stove themselves at lunchtime must count on additional expenses of around 50 øre per day. However, money is not usually refunded for these minimum amounts.

What precautions can you take now for your 2020 tax return?

In order to deduct the costs incurred for the time in the home office next year, evidence should already have been collected and documented working conditions in the home. It can, for example, be tables where the dates and number of hours during which the survey was spent are noted. Of course, pictures and images that record the state of the study also help. The tax office must be able to see that it is a clean workplace, where there are neither guest beds nor private items. The same applies as before: Store and submit invoices and receipts for work materials.

… and what does the employer pay?

No work without tools – this is a simple principle. The employer is therefore responsible for dressing his employees accordingly. If this is not the case, the employee is entitled to reimbursement of these costs. The rule here is: The employee must be able to carry out his work to the full extent without incurring additional costs for him, for example by buying a new computer. However, the spatial equipment of a new office at home or even the electricity costs cannot simply be handled by the employer.

It is now also important for the employer: Under certain circumstances, cost allowances must be noted on the payslip. This includes, for example, a subsidy for joint use of a private telephone or internet connection. As a lump sum, for example, an amount of 20 percent of the monthly expenses for the fixed telephone rate can be reimbursed by the employer via the pay slip. This is then tax and social security free. The employer can make a lump sum of up to 50 euros for the costs of the Internet fixed rate. In this case, a fixed salary tax of 25 percent applies, but no social contributions.

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