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Many employees in Germany will obtain financial benefits following their 2021 tax return. These benefits will concern commuters and people working from home.

In January 2021 an increase of the lump sum for commuters that have to reach their workplace was established; the increase consists of 35 cents per kilometer. This decision is only valid for long distances commuters and it applies starting from the 21st kilometer of the shortest possible path. In some cases also longer routes can be valid if they require less traveling time. Up until the 20th kilometer the lump sum is 30 cents per kilometer.
These expenses can be deducted only once a working day and only outward. Commuters can multiply their daily travel expenses for the number of days they worked in a year. The resulting sum will be the total travel expenses refundable in a year. Sick and leave days are of course excluded. The expenses are refundable regardless of the chosen means of transport (car, bike or public transportation).

Home office
People who work from home can deduct 5 euros a day from 2021 taxes, but there are limitations. Only 120 days of home office a year are accepted; employees can therefore deduct up to 600 euros (5 euros per 120 days). Tax authorities, moreover, accept expenses regarding the home office location and equipment up to 1250 euros. If certain requirements are met, home office expenses can be deducted in their totality. The requirements include:

  • The office must be close or in the house;
  • A supervisor must require work from home (a suggestion or recommendation is not enough);
  • Employees can use the home office privately for a maximum of 10%.

It’s important to note that the lump sum for home office and the one for commuters cannot be requested for the same days.

Part-time employees
In 2021 millions of employees worked part-time. Tax regulations in this case are complex. According to these regulations employees must present their tax return if they earned more than 410 euros in a year. This applies to all employees who benefit from the so-called salary replacement services, such as unemployment, sick, maternity and insolvency allowance.