Why does AirBnb invest heavily in payments

Renting through Airbnb & Co: The tax office knows everything

Would you like to go on vacation yourself and capitalize on the best time of the year? You can do that with short-term rental of your own four walls to tourists, trade fair visitors or tradespeople on assembly via online platforms such as airbnb.de, wimdu.de or 9flats.com Left to strangers.

Tenants, on the other hand, absolutely need the owner's permission to sublet beforehand (BGH judgment of January 8, 2014, Az .: VIII ZR 210/13). There can also be legal problems for owners of condominiums. Ask the property manager whether short-term subletting to constantly changing guests is permitted.

Also read: Sharing Economy - Save with shared property

The online portals are a thorn in the side of some cities such as Berlin, Munich and Hamburg because affordable living space is becoming increasingly scarce. With regulations against the misappropriation of living space, they are therefore trying to limit the boom in short-term rentals to tourists and trade fair visitors.

Since May 1, 2014, it has been forbidden in the city of Berlin to rent entire apartments to tourists without a permit (judgment of the Berlin Administrative Court of June 6, 2016 - VG 6 K 103.16).

At www.berlin.de/ Zweckentfremdung citizens of the city administration can also anonymously report illegal holiday homes. Landlords without a permit face a fine of up to 500,000 euros.

In Munich, during your own vacation or business trip, your own apartment or house can only be offered as a holiday home for a limited period of time - up to a total of eight weeks a year.

  • Biallo tip: Check with your city council to see if there are any restrictions before you start.

You must report the income from the rental to the tax office. The form for this is Appendix V ("Renting and leasing") to the annual income tax return. Whether you actually have to pay taxes on the rents achieved in the end depends on your individual income situation and other factors.

Taxes are only incurred if your total income over the year is above the basic tax-free allowance. In 2019, this amounts to 9,168 euros for singles (2018: 9,000 euros), and for married people 18,336 euros (2018: 18,000 euros).

Also note: the sales and trade tax. However, this may not apply if your income from Airbnb rentals and other businesses does not exceed the total revenue of € 17,500 in the previous year and € 50,000 in the current year. This means that you fall under the heading of "small business owners" at the tax office. If you exceed these limits, you are automatically subject to regular taxation.

Also read: Rent increase - what landlords are allowed to do and how tenants can defend themselves

Occasional landlords do well

Just because you have earned a few more euros over the year does not mean that the tax office will collect you in full. Owners and tenants with little additional income benefit from an exemption limit for short-term renters.

Income of up to 520 euros per calendar year remains tax-free - whoever invokes this simplification rule cannot, however, deduct any costs that have arisen in connection with the rental. If the de minimis limit is exceeded, all income is fully taxable - but then costs can also be offset.

  • Biallo tip: The tax office is also monitoring more and more income opportunities on the Internet. If you want to rent out via the brokerage portals, you should know that the providers must disclose all brokered rentals in response to inquiries from the tax office. So you shouldn't pocket the earned money untaxed. The risk of discovery is high and the penalties are severe.

What you can sell

If your income over the year was higher than 520 euros or if you want to claim higher income-related expenses, account for the rental using your tax return. The receipts are declared on the front page of Appendix V.

The income includes everything that you have earned for the short-term rental - in addition to the room rental, also amounts for bread and laundry service or a flat rate that the guest has to pay for the final cleaning.

You can claim advertising expenses on the reverse. For tenants, this includes the pro rata apartment rent and ancillary costs, for landowners the pro rata ongoing charges for property such as property tax and insurance, the running costs for garbage disposal and water supply, and pro rata depreciation of the building.

Added to this are the fees for advertisements and agency commissions for the operators of the online portals, expenses for cleaning the rooms and proportionate costs for craftsmen. You can also deduct equipment that you have procured specifically for renting - for example, for the purchase of a tumble dryer, so that you can deal with the towels and bed linen more quickly.

Also read: Step by step through the tax return

Even with furniture purchased earlier, you can still save taxes in retrospect. For example, if you bought a large wardrobe five years ago for 1,200 euros privately and rent it out from the sixth year, the proportional depreciation for the furniture can be deducted from tax. The Munich Finance Court ruled on March 29, 2011 (Az .: 13 K 2013/09).

The depreciation period for furniture is ten years with normal use. That makes an annual depreciation of 120 euros (purchase price 1,200 euros x 1/10). You can deduct tax year after year for the past five years of useful life.

  • Biallo tip: If you only rented out your apartment on a daily basis, determine the deductible income-related expenses by dividing the total costs incurred for the year by 365 days and multiplying by the number of rental days. If you have only rented one room in your apartment, you have to allocate the deductible costs not only proportionally but also in terms of area based on the number of square meters.

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