Germany considers tax advantages for working from home

Free Democratic (FDP) politician Gerald Ullrich on Friday joined the call for more tax advantages for people who decide to work from home. Right now there's a narrow definition of who qualifies.

“'People working from home should all be able to claim (additional) tax benefits,” he told DPA in Berlin.

At the moment, only those who have a dedicated room in their home which they use as an office can deduct money for tax purposes.

READ ALSO: These are the 8 German tax breaks you need to know about

“However, this misses the reality of most employees,” criticised Ullrich, who is a member of the parliamentary Economic Committee. 

“Therefore, I urge that 20 percent of the living space as a home office should be tax deductible. This means, for example, that tenants can deduct 20 percent of their warm rent from income tax.”

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“Those who shift their working day into their own four walls use more electricity, water, heating and produce more garbage,” said Ullrich. 

In the corona crisis, many people switched to working at home. Around 25 percent of Germans have been working from home during the lockdown, an increase from 12 percent before the strict measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 were put into place.

And around 40 percent of German companies offer their employees the possibility to work from home – or to 'do Home Office' as it’s referred to in German – according to Statista

A full 60 percent of Germans are also in favour of a legal right to work from home, which was proposed by German Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) in April.

READ ALSO: German government set to introduce permanent 'right to work from home'

‘Working from home should be better recognised’

The German Taxpayers Association also advocates for greater tax benefits from working from home.

“So far, the tax authorities have only accepted an extra office”, said Isabel Klocke, who is responsible for tax law and policy at the Taxpayers' Association.

“Taxpayers who work at the dining or kitchen table or only have a work corner usually go away empty-handed for tax purposes. Therefore, expenses for home office time should be recognised as a lump sum.”

The situation is particularly critical for employees who have applied for any sort of tax-free allowance for the current year, for example for a long journey to work. 

“Because of the corona crisis, many stayed at home and therefore cannot deduct travel expenses. This could lead to additional tax payments next year”, warned Klocke. 

“This is another reason why expenses for working at home should be better recognised.”

Vocabulary

Tax advantages – (die) Steuervorteile

To shift – verlagern

Urge/demand – fordern

To criticise – bemängeln

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.


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