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Last updated on January 6th, 2023 at 02:21 pm
In this post, learn about a few tips and tricks for setting up your home office in Germany and working right from the comfort of your home. You can also learn how you can take advantage of home office tax deductions in Germany.
Before COVID-19, there were several strict rules for working from home in Germany both for employers and employees. In the post-corona world, every 1 in 2 Germans has been forced to work from home by their employer with or without complying with the German home-office rules.
But did you know that remote work was popular in Germany even before the pandemic? Companies such as Mindspace, Coworking, and Satellite Office help freelancers rent office spaces at affordable prices.
A good old home office is a great alternative for those who cannot afford a co-working space in Germany. The best thing is that you can always save money by using home office tax deductions in Germany.
Here are some tips to help you in setting up your home office in Germany.
1) Requirement For Home Office Tax Deduction in Germany
Your home office can be regarded as an expense and therefore used as a tax deduction in Germany.
However, for you to enjoy this tax benefit in Germany, the office should be a proper room with a door and walls. A desk in the corner of your living area or an office doubling as a guest room won’t cut! This situation changed since corona. If you work in your guest room as an office you can still use it for a home office tax deduction in Germany.
1.1) Home office tax deduction in Germany for salaried employees
The coalition passed a new home office allowance for salaried employees working from the home office in Germany.
With this “Home Office Lump Sum” allowance, you can deduct €5 for every day you work from home—for a maximum of 120 days for the 2021 tax return or a maximum of 600 euros per calendar year. You can even claim this deduction if you chose to work from home voluntarily without receiving instructions from your employer to do so.
TIP: If you bought home office equipment (e.g office chair, monitor, desk or other supplies) that were not reimbursed, then you can deduct them even when your workplace is an office or an office in your bedroom. You can also deduct the share of the higher use of the home internet or telephone and mobile phone connection.
1.2) Home office tax deduction in Germany for freelancers
It is typical for freelancers to work from the home office in Germany (even before COVID19!). For self-employed people, there is no limit on home office tax deductions if that space is the centre of your work and located inside your apartment or house.
Costs like rent, water, and insurance can be partially deducted (size of the home office in proportion to the total size of the flat). The following home office expenses count towards tax deduction in Germany:
- Depreciation or rent
- Interest payments for a credit
- Repair costs
- Costs for electricity, water, heating
- Waste collection
- Property tax
- Costs for furnishing the home office
- Costs that exclusively come up for the home office e.g. renovation of a home office, are fully deductible
2) List Everything You Need
Make a list of all your essential home office needs! It will give you an idea of how big of a space you need, the amount you need to budget for and other factors to take into account. These basic needs could vary from business to business.
All offices need at least a desk, a comfy office chair, storage for paperwork, a computer, various stationery items and creative space.
High-Speed Internet Access is a must-have for many remote workers. Depending on the line of your work you may also need other items like a backup drive or personal server, printer or scanner, network router, software, telephone and/or VoIP etc.
TIP: Keep a receipt of each purchase so you could later use them for a home office tax deduction in Germany at the end of the financial year.
3) Make it as Ergonomic as Possible
When working from home in Germany, you still need to follow some specific guidelines. This way you can make your work easy, efficient and effective for long-term remote work in Germany.
Employers in Germany are required to ensure a functional design for their remote or home office workers. Your home office in Germany needs to fulfil certain criteria like the size of the table, ergonomic chair, and anti-glare monitor for you to be allowed to work there.
But this is essential not just for the sake of your employers but also for you! If you are a full-time freelancer who is working from home in Germany, then it makes sense to invest in ergonomic office furniture. Sitting in a poorly designed chair for prolonged periods of time leads to long-term issues with your spine and back.
As a general guideline, you should pay particular attention to the following when choosing the optimal chair and desk for your home office:
- Seat height corresponds to the height of the kneeler
- Firm contact with the backrest and at least two finger widths of space from the front edge of the seat to the back of the knee
- The armrest corresponds to the elbow height above the seat
- The backrest supports the back and follows every movement
- At least 72 cm high
- Work surface size of about 160 x 80 cm
- Printers and other vibrating devices should be placed on a different table
- adequate legroom
- anti-reflective surface
- inclinable if necessary
The ideal room temperature for humans is about 22° C. You should also air the room regularly to ensure that there is sufficient fresh air in the room.
The laptop or desktop screen should be set to 400 to 600 lux. Plenty of daylight also ensures that your eyes are not as strained as with artificial light.
4) Organise Your Home Office In Germany
For better efficiency and productivity, ensure that your desk remains clear and not cluttered. This should also be strictly professional without personal items littering the space and becoming distractions. You can ensure your space is clutter-free by grouping similar items together using organisers.
Tools, papers, writing materials, equipment, and electronics should all be separate from each other. Manage electrical cords neatly. Be creative, especially with storage space and you will have a clear desk and organised space to work from efficiently.
According to Entrepreneur.com, keeping your home office free from clutter helps you think more clearly, which produces better results. Home office clutter can quickly accumulate over time, so the fewer unnecessary items in your office, the better for your productivity.
Read Also: Related: Where to find work from home jobs in Germany
Hopefully, the above tips will be useful when setting up your home office in Germany as well as getting the most out-of-home office tax deduction in Germany. Setting up a good home office makes work from home in Germany (or anywhere else) much easier. After all, you need to make it a comfy and practical space where you can focus and be productive for several hours each day.