New home office package: What employers should know.

The new Home-Office Package includes changes in labor and tax law. The main points from the view of the employer are summarized here.

The changes, which the new Home-Office package brings, affect two main areas: on the one hand the possibilities for the employees to include their expenses in the (“Abreitnehmerveranlagung”). On the other hand the employers have been provided with more opportunities to extend benefits to their employees on a tax-free basis.

Digital work equipment

Digital work equipment provided by the employer will not be considered an advantage gained from the employment contract, so they don´t have to be considered as a benefit in kind in payroll. This includes computer, monitor, phone, printer or keyboard as well as internet costs.

Payment of a tax free lump-sum

If the employer does not provide the employee with any work equipment, this may result in a claim for remuneration under labor law, if the employee buys his own equipment. From a tax point of view, it is now possible to pay out tax-free up to 3 euros per day per home office day. The total tax-free amount is limited to a maximum of 100 home office days per year and thus 300 euros.

According to the Wage Account Ordinance (“Lohnkontenverordnung”), home office days must be shown on the wage account and as part of the annual wage slip (“L16”) at the end of the year for each employee and also be transmitted to the tax authorities.
However a monthly statement of the home office days on the pay slip is not necessary. It is also not necessary for the home office days to be transmitted to the financial administration “precisely to the month”; a sum for the year is sufficient. The recording in the background must very well be carried out precisely; in the case of a tax audit evidence must be submitted on request.

The recording of the home office days is therefore the responsibility of the employer – even if no home office lump-sum is paid. Also in this case the home office days are still recorded and reported once a year to the tax office. If you let our specialists do your payroll accounting you only have to send us the home office days per employee in the Flexiform once at the end of the year and we will take care of the rest.

Home office days only include days on which one only works from ones own home. For example, if you work from home in the morning and in the office in the afternoon, this is not a home office day from a tax point of view.

Since this regulation was not yet known at the beginning of the year, companies usually did not keep any corresponding records. The home office days can therefore be estimated for the first half of 2021 (also from January to June).

The Income Tax Act (“Einkommenssteuergesetz”) does not place any requirements on the payment method. The lump sum can actually be paid out per home office day (e.g. 3 euros per home office day – the amount per month therefore fluctuates), as well as an actual lump sum (e.g. constant 25 euros, regardless of the actual home office days in the respective month).

Another possibility is that the actual tax exemption can only be determined in retrospect, since it is only finally clear in December how many home office days an employee actually had in a year. It can currently be assumed that any deviations will have to be considered retrospectively at the end of the year.

Also not regulated in the Income Tax Act (“Einkommenssteuergesetz”) is the question of whether and in what amount a home office lump-sum is to be paid. Basically, the lump-sum serves to cover the additional expense for the private provision of digital work equipment by the employee. If the employer already provides all the necessary digital work equipment, there is no entitlement to a lump-sum. It is therefore definitely advisable to conclude a corresponding home office agreement with the employees.

We are happy to answer your questions about tax changes in the home office.

Do you have questions about this or similar topics? We are happy to be there for you! 

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