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Home offices should be tax-deductible, court rules

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Home offices should be tax-deductible, court rules
Photo: DPA
12:23 CEST+02:00
Teachers, professors and other people who keep a second office at home are in for a windfall after a court ruled Thursday that tax deductions on home offices should be expanded.

The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled that a 2007 restriction on the tax deductibility of home workspaces was unconstitutional on the grounds that it breached the “common rule of equality.”

Under the 2007 restriction, a taxpayer could not claim tax deductions on the cost of a home office if it was not their main work space. Only people who worked mainly from home could claim deductions on these expenses.

But the Karlsruhe court ruled in favour of a high school teacher, whose deductions in his income tax return for 2007, based on expenses incurred through having a home office, had been rejected by the Finance Ministry.

The Ministry had argued that his home office was not the main place of work for a teacher.

This applied even though there was no place at the school where the teacher could carry out his extra-curricular work, such as marking tests, meaning he had to do it at home.

The teacher spent two hours a day working in a room at his home that was set aside purely as an office. He had asked to be given space at the school to do this extra-curricular work but the school had refused.

The court ruled that people with second offices at home should be able to backdate tax claims to January 1, 2007.

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