Double housekeeping (Germany)

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Double housekeeping is a term from German income tax law . It exists if an employee maintains his own household outside the place of his first place of work and also lives at the place of the first place of work ( Section 9 (1) sentence 3 No. 5 EStG ). Required additional expenses incurred by a worker because of a professional prompted two households, are as advertising costs removable. As business expenses ( § 4 EStG) of tradespeople and freelancers, they are subject to the same regulations. Income tax guidelines and various BMF letters explain the details.

Own household

In addition to the home at the place of his first place of work, the employee must maintain his own household, where his main place of residence is and which represents his first or main household ( main residence ).

The employee must have a household in this apartment , i. In other words, he must determine the housekeeping or have a significant say. Young employees therefore do not have their own household who, after completing their training, are still included as guests in the parents' household by continuing to live in their room there. The situation is different, however, for older employees whose apartment at the place of employment only serves as a place to sleep and for whom it can be assumed that they essentially lead their private life at home because of close personal relationships with the parents who live there and who require care or even care. Particularly when living together in a multi-generational household, the taxpayer does not necessarily have to assume special financial responsibility for the common household through equal participation in the current household and living costs. The assumption of one-off high costs, for example for maintenance measures, cosmetic repairs or gardening, may also be sufficient.

In the second household there is not on the marital status of the taxpayer. Life partners or single persons without a partner can also set up a double household. In the case of a single employee, it is crucial that he only stays in his own household essentially interrupted by the absence due to work and vacation. Just keeping an apartment available for occasional visits or vacation stays is not enough.

Second home at the place of employment

Any accommodation available to the employee for a fee or free of charge can be considered as a second home, e.g. B. also your own condominium , a furnished room, a hotel room or shared accommodation. There is no time limit for the deduction of income-related expenses. The temporary legal limitation of the deduction of business expenses (to two years) has been declared unlawful by the Federal Constitutional Court due to a violation of the objective net principle .

If the taxpayer is a student , a room in the parents' household is also permitted under the basic conditions of double housekeeping.

Reasons for a double housekeeping

The double housekeeping must always be due to work. Professional reasons exist if the employer requests the move, for example to ensure that the employee can be deployed at any time, in the case of company or company apartments, but also if the distance between home and workplace (for example in a large city) is significantly reduced, and in the event of a relocation. For relocations when changing jobs, it is necessary that the moving time between home and work is significantly reduced. Driving time reductions of one hour a day, which must be given at least temporarily, were recognized by the Federal Fiscal Court as reasons. A move due to transfer is also recognized if the employee has applied for transfer and the move is to a newly built home. There is no professional reason to move into a new apartment or house because the family has grown. If you get married or move in with your illegitimate partner, the expenses for the change of residence can be claimed. According to the more recent case law of the Federal Fiscal Court, moving away from the place of work for private reasons can also lead to double housekeeping. It does not matter whether the employee takes a new apartment at the place of work or "rededicates" his old apartment as a second home.

Additional expenses for professional reasons

The following can be considered as advertising costs or business expenses:

Moving costs

Moving costs can be claimed as income-related expenses on the occasion of the establishment, termination or change of a double housekeeping if the move was due to professional reasons, whereby it does not matter whether the change took place immediately after the change. Evidence of the costs must be provided, the flat-rate relocation fee can only be taken into account when changing the second home.

Travel expenses / family trips home

A verifiable family trip home can be scheduled weekly. Regardless of the means of transport, a flat rate of 30 cents can be deducted for each kilometer of distance as advertising costs ( Section 9 (1) No. 5 sentence 4 EStG). Driving home with a company car is not deductible, as private use of the vehicle is already lower at this point. If the family trip home is made by plane, the actual costs must be stated. Instead of the weekly trip home, the fees for a long-distance call of up to 15 minutes with relatives who belong to the employee's own household can be taken into account.

Furthermore, trips between the second home at the place of employment and the workplace are deductible as business expenses as trips between home and work .

The actual expenses for the journeys on the occasion of the change of residence at the beginning and at the end of the double housekeeping are to be treated like business journeys and therefore to be set at 30 cents for each kilometer driven.

A visit to the family at the place of employment is not deductible, unless the employee is prevented from going home for professional reasons.

Accommodation costs

Since January 1, 2014, the actual expenses for the use of the accommodation in Germany can be recognized as accommodation costs, but no more than 1,000 euros per month (Section 9 (1) sentence 3 no. 5 sentence 4 EStG).

Until then, an apartment of up to 60 m² (at the local comparative rent) was considered appropriate. Double rent payments made because of a move could be deducted in full as income-related expenses for professional reasons (limited in time).

If the employee is the owner of the apartment, the deductions for wear and tear ( depreciation ), mortgage interest and repair costs are part of the advertising costs - limited to the expenses that a tenant would have to bear for an apartment of comparable size, equipment and location. A claim for the owner-occupied home allowance is not possible as long as the employee claims the stated expenses as business expenses.

The current BFH case law states that costs for furnishings that are objectively necessary for the management of an orderly household, such as bed, dishes, chairs or carpets, are deductible as income-related expenses as part of the double housekeeping.

Additional meal expenses

For the first three months of double housekeeping, the flat rates for additional meal expenses , which are recognized for business trips , can be deducted as income- related expenses. The amount of this flat rate depends on the length of the absence from the family home or the place where you live. Since the 2014 assessment period, the deductible lump sums for domestic double households (according to Section 4 (5) No. 5 EStG) for an absence of at least 8 hours and for the day of arrival and departure have been € 12 (from 2005 to 2013 € 6 for an absence of at least 8 hours and € 12 for an absence of at least 14 hours) and for an absence of 24 hours € 24 per calendar day. The admissibility of the limitation of the deductibility of additional meal expenses to three months was confirmed by the Federal Fiscal Court in a judgment of July 8, 2010.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. BFH judgment of October 5, 1994 VI R 62/90, BFHE 175, 430, BStBl II 1995, 180
  2. ^ BFH judgments in BFHE 175, 430, BStBl II 1995, 180; of August 9, 2007 VI R 10/06, BFHE 218, 380, BStBl II 2007, 820
  3. BFH, judgment of January 16, 2013 - VI R 46/12 margin no. 11
  4. BFH, judgment of January 16, 2013 - VI R 46/12 margin no. 9
  5. BFH, judgment of April 21, 2010 on double housekeeping for single people , margin number 9 (accessed on July 10, 2012)
  6. BMF letter of December 10, 2009, IV C 5 - S 2352 / 0BStBl 2009 I p. 1599
  7. Judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court of December 4, 2002 , 2 BvR 400/98, 2 BvR 1735/00 - (on the time limit for double housekeeping) (accessed on June 5, 2011)
  8. ^ BFH judgment of September 19, 2012 (accessed on April 27, 2015)
  9. LStR 9.11 para. 9
  10. ^ FG Münster, judgment of January 23, 2002, 8 K 2060/99, EFG 2002 p. 66
  11. ^ Judgment of the Federal Fiscal Court of February 2, 2011, Az. VI R 15/10
  12. ^ Judgment of the Federal Fiscal Court of July 13, 2011, Az. VI R 2/11
  13. judgment of July 8, 2010 on the admissibility of restricting additional meal expenses to 3 months (accessed on November 24, 2010)