Working in the home office
Jo Kirchherr / imago images / Westend61
Last spring, after the first corona shock, more than a quarter of employees were temporarily in home office.
But then many went back to the office, despite Corona.
Despite a new lockdown.
And tightening the lockdown.
To the author
, born in 1963, is editor-in-chief of “Finanztip”.
The money advisor is part of the non-profit Finanztip Foundation.
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Tenhagen was previously editor-in-chief of the “Finanztest” magazine for 15 years.
After studying politics and economics, he began his journalistic career at the »daily newspaper«.
Today he is an honorary member of the supervisory board of the cooperative.
On SPIEGEL.de, Tenhagen writes weekly about how to handle your own money properly.
Working from home is actually a very effective means of reducing the number of infections.
Those who stay in the home office no longer drive to work in overcrowded local trains, do not meet people smoking in front of the door or changing line-ups to chat in the canteen.
And the short conferences with a colleague too much in the door of the unventilated office are also canceled.
Instead, we do our work in peace and quiet from home, many of us since mid-March.
And take with you the advantages that this offers.
At the same time, we are also creating more space in the office for those who cannot work at home.
And on the train, of course.
A decision by the federal-state conference this week fits in well with this, and despite all the difficult considerations to contain the infection, it fell slightly under the table.
The federal government has decided on a new Digi-Afa.
With this she wants to support those who are now actually implementing home office.
In the future, all costs for the digital infrastructure should be immediately and completely tax deductible.
So far, this has only been possible up to 800 euros net for technology and software (as with all other work equipment).
More expensive things had to be written off over several years;
for a computer, for example, over three years.
It is not explicitly stated in the text, but that should apply as a regulation not only for the costs of the employer - but also for your costs as an employee.
The Ministry of Finance writes literally: "At the same time, everyone who works in the home office also benefits."
Now is saved
Merkel and Scholz are serious.
Even the residual value for such expensive investments from the previous year should be able to be deducted immediately and completely in 2021, the Federal Ministry of Finance wrote to me on Thursday.
"The relief ... also applies to purchases made in 2020, the residual value of which can be written off 100 percent." Details are to be regulated in a BMF letter to the tax authorities.
That must first be coordinated with the federal states, it cannot be expected before mid-February.
What is not clear to many is that citizens do not necessarily have to wait until their tax return in the coming year in order to save tax.
The home office can often immediately put more money in your pocket.
Classic and with the new instruments.
The key to saving immediately is what is known as the income tax reduction.
For such an income tax reduction for 2021, you should first estimate all your current and foreseeable corona expenses.
The goal is: In total, you have to spend at least 1,600 euros in advertising costs.
Then you can save taxes immediately and don't have to wait for a tax refund after filing a tax return.
Once you are there, you can also check whether special expenses or extraordinary expenses such as the invoice for the implants from the dentist have been incurred in order to save further taxes.
Here are a few tips on how to get the total:
The home office flat rate, 5 euros per day, up to 600 euros per year.
The new desk chair so that you can work at home without back pain if the boss does not pay for it (up to 800 euros net, plus VAT, i.e. 952 euros in the store).
The teenager needs the new desk, the old one for homeschooling (up to 800 euros net, ditto)
The lockable filing cabinet, after all, the documents must not just lie around at home (up to 800 euros net) or other work equipment.
And then possibly the entire cost of the new computer including the large software package, as described above.
There are also some classics for clever tax savers.
For example, the maximum amount for the study of 1250 euros to be deducted from current income.
Thank goodness the daughter stayed in the university town and the nursery can finally be converted into a study.
It is now needed for this because the boss ordered home work at least once a week.
Again the deduction for the study, your husband now also has to use the former children's room as a study once a week (BFH, judgments of December 15, 2016, Az. VI R 53/12 and Az. VI R 86/13).
Perhaps in your company you practically only have to work from home, i.e. three days a week or more, then you can immediately claim the rental portion or the financing portion for the 15 square meter room in the 100 square meter apartment for tax purposes.
In our open-plan offices at Finanztip, for example, only a third of the people who worked there before Corona could stay in the summer.
Now the rules are even stricter.
So at least two-thirds of the work had to be done at home.
Unfortunately, you still have to submit the application for a wage tax reduction on a paper form to the tax office in whose district you live at the time of application - even with a digital Afa.
The authorities want it printed out and signed by you.
If home office becomes a permanent feature for you, this has further financial consequences for you.
You can get rid of one of the two cars;
That not only saves the fuel costs, for that there was the commuter flat rate, in tax office German today distance flat rate.
It also saves purchase and maintenance.
That quickly makes 300 euros a month.
How the costs of eating at home relate to the costs of eating at work is different for everyone.
One can use a good and cheap canteen and has had fewer costs in the company.
The other frequented the bars around the office workstation and couldn't do without the espresso afterwards.
Some pay more now, others save.
Her boss may have similar thoughts.
The expansion of the office died in many places in Corona times.
If half of the employees work from home, companies do not need larger offices.
The big real estate agents logically report a downright slump in the number of new office properties in the metropolises.
Maybe working life is changing significantly right now.
At the very end, you also have to ask about your long-term living situation.
The bigger apartment on the outskirts or the cottage in the country is now becoming an alternative.
For twenty years young workers were fixated on living in the city center.
Life and work could best be combined there.
But in the future?
Fiber optic network, day care center, school, supermarket and hairdresser even in the small town.
This is another extra topic.
Icon: The mirror