Why do companies hide real costs

Buy the things you need for work

bring your own device (byod), computer, specialist literature, what exactly is work clothing? etc.

Items that are used to complete professional tasks and are used predominantly for these purposes are named. These include in particular:

  • Workwear,

  • Specialist literature,

  • your own devices that you use for work (byod),

  • Telephone costs and internet costs,

  • Computer and accessories,

  • other items, such as B. Briefcase, document shredder, answering machine, office supplies, dictation machine, photocopier, furniture, safety glasses, fax, telephone.

If professionally used items are also used privately (the tax office then speaks of mixed-use work equipment), advertising costs may only be claimed if the private shared use is of very minor importance. The limit is 10%. That means:

  • If less than 10% of the work equipment is used privately and more than 90% is done professionally, the entire cost of the work equipment is advertising costs.

  • If it is exactly the other way round, i.e. less than 10% professional and more than 90% private, then no costs may be claimed and the work equipment does not appear in your tax return.

Often the division into private and professional use will be somewhere between the situations just described. Then the following applies: Part of the costs for the work equipment may be deducted as income-related expenses. However, there must be a suitable apportionment scale, e.g. B. the temporal or area-related proportions of use.

If you have bought an item that you need for work, you state the costs in your tax return under income-related expenses. Sometimes you can enter the entire costs at once, for expensive things you have to spread the costs over several years. That is in tax jargon. How many years you have used an object is specified in the so-called depreciation tables (stands for, this is the official expression for).

In addition to the actual acquisition costs (including VAT), advertising costs also include expenses for postage, packaging, freight, etc. Travel costs can also be included if the trips were made exclusively to buy or transport the work equipment or to get around before buying it to inform accordingly.

You can state the full cost of the new work equipment in the advertising costs if it did not cost more than

  • 800 € (without VAT) or

  • € 952.00 (including 19% VAT) or € 856.00 (including 7% VAT).

The tax office speaks of low-value assets: because the amount does not have to be spread over several years, and because the costs are relatively low in the eyes of the tax authorities.

If your work equipment was more expensive, you have to split the costs over several years and you are only allowed to enter part of the costs in the advertising expenses each year. That is the so-called, or in short: AfA. Colloquially one speaks of.

The duration of this depreciation is based on the financial management tables, the so-called depreciation tables. The tables assume, for example, that a computer will be used for three years (tax specialists speak of). A three-year useful life means that in the next few years 1/3 of the purchase price will be stated as income-related expenses.

You can also include work equipment bought second-hand in the advertising costs. However, it also depends a bit on who you buy the things from. Sales tax is to blame for this: private individuals do not state any sales tax on their receipts (they are not even allowed to do so). If you buy in a second-hand department store, 19% sales tax will be shown on the invoice.

Whether you can state the cost of your work equipment in your tax return in one fell swoop or have to spread it over several years again depends on a maximum amount. This varies depending on whether sales tax comes into play or not:

  • for work equipment that was purchased without sales tax, it is € 800,

  • for work equipment that was purchased with sales tax, it is € 952.00 (this corresponds to € 800 plus 19% sales tax).

You state work equipment that you buy for a maximum of this amount as income-related expenses in your tax return - with the full purchase price that you paid (under no circumstances with the new price!).

If a used work equipment actually costs more than that, the following applies: There is also a useful life for used work equipment - but since use has already started, it is called.

In other words: You can estimate the remaining useful life depending on how old a second-hand piece of equipment is and how much it has already been used. The lower the remaining useful life, the faster you will have the work equipment distributed to the upcoming tax returns as described above for the newly purchased work equipment.

Objects that you have been given or inherited can also be used for professional purposes, i.e.. Then you can claim income-related expenses for these items from the time of reallocation - in the amount at which the donor or testator could deduct income-related expenses in the case of professional use of the item if they were still the owner or alive.

This means: The residual value at the time of reallocation is also decisive for the deduction of income-related expenses. You calculate the residual value and the remaining useful life as we have described for the work equipment purchased used.

The cost of clothing can be included in the advertising expenses if it is. This is - to put it simply - when the occupation can be identified from the clothing. It is therefore not enough that the clothes are simply worn during working hours, but rather it must be clothing that would not be worn without the job in question and that is usually not worn outside of the job in everyday life.

The following are recognized as typical occupational clothing, for example:

  • Work clothing and protective clothing (e.g. work coats for craftsmen, mechanics and engineers; laboratory coats for chemists and chemistry teachers; black clothing for chimney sweeps; safety shoes, work boots, hard hats, work gloves, safety vests for construction workers; stage clothing for artists),

  • Official costumes (e.g. robes, berets, neck ties, white collars and white shirts without collars for judges, state attorneys and lawyers, gowns for pastors),

  • Uniforms (e.g. service sweater, work suit, drill suit, beret, sportswear, parka, winter coat, service shirts for members of the Bundeswehr, Federal and State Police as well as customs),

  • Service clothing (e.g. items of clothing that are permanently identified as service clothing, for example by sewn or woven-in service badges, post horns, federal or state coats of arms).

As an exception, items of clothing that actually belong to civil clothing (everyday clothing) can also be assessed as work clothing. But the hurdle for tax recognition is very high: The clothes have to be for your job and it has to be almost impossible that you wear them privately in everyday life.

According to case law, everyday clothing that is not typical for the job does not become work clothing because you have bought it specifically for your professional activity and only wear it during working hours. This does not change anything if you keep your clothes at work, i.e. change at the beginning and end of work.

If you actually have to pay, then the advertising costs include:

  • proven expenses for the purchase

  • Cleaning costs,

  • Costs for the tailor if the work clothing needs to be repaired or mended.

If you want to save yourself the cost calculation, you can simply include a lump sum of 110 € for work clothing - for cleaning and purchase - in your tax return. The tax offices usually recognize this amount for work equipment as a whole, even without receipts

Expenditures for books, magazines and newspapers are deductible as advertising expenses if you use them almost exclusively for work. So it has to be specialist literature for your professional activity.

The tax office usually does not cause any problems with books that clearly relate to your professional area of ​​responsibility in terms of title and content and contain purely technical information.

It becomes more difficult with books that you have bought for professional reasons, but whose title and content are not clearly related to your professional activity (general education books). Then you have to convince the tax office that you use the books almost exclusively for professional purposes. Whether a book is a specialist book does not depend on its title and content, but on its actual purpose.

Many magazines not only offer job-specific information, but are also aimed at the largest possible readership. They have more of the character of a magazine than a trade journal. As an exception, the costs of such journals are fully deductible if they are used exclusively or mainly for professional purposes

A confirmation from your employer about your field of activity and the professional necessity of a certain magazine subscription can be helpful for tax recognition.

The expenses for the individual purchase or the subscription to a typical daily newspaper are normally not deductible as advertising expenses. This also applies to national daily newspapers, because daily newspapers report on a wide range of topics from politics, business, culture, sport, etc. and thus always satisfy private information needs.

This is how you prove the expenses

Make sure that the respective title is entered on the receipt when purchasing the books or magazines. The mere designation, as it is often noted on the receipt by bookstores, is not enough. The more job-specific the title of a book, the easier it is for it to be recognized as a tax-deductible textbook.

Does your employer allow you to use your own smartphone, tablet and laptop for the job? is becoming more and more popular - at least among employees who do not want to use outdated hardware from their employers. The topic is a bit more difficult for employers - keyword data protection and data security ...

If you use your own mobile device at least 90% for work, then you can deduct the acquisition costs for it completely from the advertising costs. If you use less, you have to split the costs (we have described this → here).

And also think of the → depreciation if the device cost more than € 800!

These explanations relate to the case that you use your own device for work! But there is also the opposite case: For example, the employer provides you with a tablet that you can also use privately. You do not have to pay tax on this private use, so you do not have to inform the tax office that you can also use the device at home.

There are two ways to claim professional telecommunications expenses in your tax return:

  • You set your monthly costs at a flat rate of 20%. However, this option is limited to a maximum monthly amount of 20 euros. In addition, it can only be used by those employees who experience has shown to have job-related telecommunications expenses - for the tax office this is the case for teachers, teleworkers / home workers, field workers, sales representatives or customer service technicians.

  • You determine the deductible percentage yourself by means of individual proof. This deduction option is not limited in amount and can be carried out by all taxpayers.