If you participate in online lectures as a student from home or work on a term paper in your kitchen, you can benefit from tax deductions. We explain which costs you can deduct and which requirements apply.
- Home office lump sum vs. separate study
- Primary or secondary education: How the costs affect taxation
- The home office lump sum (Home-Office-Pauschale)
- This is how you claim the home office lump sum with Taxfix
- Requirements for a separate study at home
- Declaration of a separate study with Taxfix
Home office lump sum vs. separate study
As a student, you can claim the costs of working or studying from home for tax purposes. Exactly which costs you can deduct depends on how your workplace was set up.
If you studied at your desk in your bedroom, on the couch or in the kitchen, you can claim the home office lump sum (Home-Office-Pauschale). With this, anyone who has worked and studied at home can deduct a flat rate of 5 euros for each day spent in the home office.
If, on the other hand, you had a separate study at home, you can declare your actual costs, for example for electricity, rent and cleaning. But be careful: A study is clearly defined under tax law, and you must meet certain requirements in order to be able to deduct the costs for the separate workroom. The tax offices check this very carefully.
The introduction of the home office lump sum in 2020 was therefore a relief for many employees and students, because it is linked to only a few conditions and basically allows everyone to deduct costs for their work from home. Since then, a separate study is no longer necessary.
Whether you have a separate study room or you claim the home office lump sum - the effect of the costs in your tax return depends, among other things, on the nature of your studies. We explain the background and show you how to enter the home office lump sum or the separate study in the Taxfix app.
Primary or secondary education: How the costs affect taxation
You can deduct the costs of your work from home both in your primary and secondary education. The distinction is important because the costs are treated differently by the tax authorities:
- You are in your primary education when you complete your first vocational qualification. Usually, this is the case if you are working towards your Bachelor's degree directly after school. The costs for your studies are then considered special expenses. However, they only reduce your tax burden in the tax year if you have paid income tax.
- The secondary education follows your first professional qualification - for example, a Master's degree. In this case, you can claim your education costs in full as income-related expenses (Werbungskosten). The advantage: if you had no taxable income in the tax year, you can carry the costs forward to future years by using a loss carry-forward. This way you can save taxes as soon as you start your working life.
Tip: In our article Tax return for students you will find detailed information on the distinction between primary and secondary education and an overview of deductible education costs.
The home office lump sum (Home-Office-Pauschale)
If you studied in your living room, kitchen or bedroom, you can benefit from the home office lump sum.
This allows anyone who does not have a separate study at home to claim a flat rate of 5 euros per day in the home office for tax purposes. This applies for a maximum of 120 days per year - so you can claim a maximum of 600 euros in your tax return. Since it is a lump sum, you do not have to submit proof of the costs.
You can only claim the flat rate for days on which you exclusively studied from home or worked for university. How long you spent in the home office on this day is irrelevant. However, if you also went to the library, the university or to a study group on the same day, you cannot use the 5 euros.
There are generally no other requirements or restrictions. You are also entitled to the home office lump sum if you lived in a shared flat and your flatmates also claim it for themselves.
This is how you claim the home office lump sum with Taxfix
You can enter the home office lump sum in the Taxfix app in the category "Education":
- Simply answer "Yes" to the question whether you participated in online lectures
- Then enter the total number of days per year on which you studied exclusively from home
- Our app automatically calculates the deductible costs for you: For example, if you enter that you studied online on a total of 50 days, 250 euros will be considered in your tax return (50 x 5 euros)
Based on your other details in the "Education" category, our app recognises whether you were in your primary or secondary education and takes your costs into account accordingly either as special expenses or as income-related expenses.
Requirements for a separate study at home
If you had a separate study at home, you may be able to deduct significantly higher costs than with the home office lump sum. However, strict rules apply, and the tax authorities pay close attention to compliance with them:
- The study must be a separate room in your flat or house that you use exclusively for professional purposes or for studying. Exclusively means at least 90%
- You have no other place to work or study. This was the case, for example, when universities were closed due to Corona. If you only had to do part of the work from home, you can claim costs of up to 1,250 euros for a study
- If, on the other hand, you worked completely in your study, the deductible costs are not capped. In this case, your study must be the centre of your professional or "student" activity and you have no other workplace available
If the above-mentioned conditions apply, you can deduct the costs for rent, electricity and heating, for example, on a pro-rata basis. The cost share is calculated on the basis of the size of the study. In addition, items for furnishing the study are fully deductible. You can find more information on this in this article.
Declaration of a separate study with Taxfix
Did you have a separate study for your studies at home? If so, the specification of the costs in the Taxfix app depends on the type of your studies:
- If you were in secondary education (Master's degree, dual study programme), you enter the study in the "Work" category. The costs are then taken into account as income-related expenses. Here we explain in detail how this works
- If you were in primary education (Bachelor), you enter the costs for your separate study in the category "Education" as "Other costs". They are then taken into account as special expenses in the tax calculation. In this case, you must calculate the costs yourself and enter them as a total amount. In our article Work from home, we explain which expenses you can claim