Double housekeeping: How to save taxes

For some employees it is worthwhile to have a second household close to the place of work. From a tax point of view, they then run a double budget – and the state can share the costs.

The workplace is not always so close to where you live that you can commute there every day. The solution can be a second home. But of course this additional budget goes into the money.

However, you can deduct part of the costs for the secondary residence from tax. We will show you which requirements must be met for this, how you can prove this double housekeeping and when a second home is even worthwhile for you.

What does double housekeeping count?

So that the tax office a double housekeeping accepted, you must meet several requirements:

  1. You need the second home out professional reasons, for example because you are changing jobs. Read more about the second home here.
  2. The secondary residence is located no more than half as far from the first place of work as the primary residence. The shortest road connection counts.
  3. Your main residence is so far away from your place of employment that Commuting unreasonable would be (50 kilometers or more or a journey time of more than an hour).
  4. The second apartment is located near the first place of work (less than 50 kilometers or driving time less than an hour).
  5. Your second home is not yours Center of life.
  6. they pay at least 10 percent of the running costs at the main residence.
  • Example: Let’s assume you live with your family in Ulm. Your employer will now transfer you to Augsburg, 80 kilometers away. Because you don’t want to commute this distance, get yourself a second home that is only 10 kilometers away from your place of work. You have already fulfilled the first four conditions. On the other hand, if the second apartment were 45 kilometers away, it would not be close enough to be recognized by the tax office. The center of your life should also continue to be your main residence, because that’s where you have your social contacts. If you still bear enough costs there, nothing stands in the way of double housekeeping.

Tip: Make sure that your second home is no larger than the one at home. You can also document journeys home with a driver’s log. If you can prove that you are a member of an association at your main residence, this also increases your chances that double housekeeping will be recognized – because that indicates the center of your life. In the case of married people, the tax office usually easily recognizes that your main residence is where your spouse lives.

What is a separate household?

A own household is nothing more than your own household. In the case of double housekeeping, this must be in a different location than the second home. You must be there too Center of life are located. This means that you maintain social contacts with family, friends and acquaintances there.

To qualify as your own household, you must own or rent an apartment or use it as a partner or spouse. And: since 2014 you have to at least 10 percent of the running costs Participate – for example, in rent, ancillary costs or food.

Even those who still live in their parents’ house may have their own household. For this it is also necessary to contribute to the cost of living and one should in a locked apartment Life. It is not enough to use a room free of charge.

What costs can I deduct?

Running two households can bring you a decent tax refund. Because you can state part of the costs for the second household in your tax return. These include:

  • Accommodation costs up to 1,000 euros per month,
  • Costs for furnishings and household items,
  • Ride costs,
  • so-called additional meal expenses, i.e. additional costs for meals, within the first three months,
  • Moving costs.

Accommodation costs

These are expenses that arise regularly, typically monthly. It does not matter whether the accommodation is a Rental apartment or your property is. Also a furnished room, a Hotel room (without breakfast) or one Community accommodation you can bill if the requirements are met (see above).

This is also irrelevant for the deductibility size of the apartmentif it is in Germany. At a double housekeeping abroad you can only deduct the cost of the accommodation if it is no larger than 60 square meters.

Accommodation costs include the following:

  • Rental fee,
  • Additional costs such as heating, electricity and water,
  • Cleaning costs,
  • Costs for special uses such as garden or parking space for the car,
  • Broadcasting fee,
  • Second home tax and property tax,
  • Household and building insurance,
  • for owners also depreciation of acquisition costs, renovation costs, immediately deductible maintenance expenses and debt interest.

Setup costs

While you can only deduct accommodation costs up to a maximum of EUR 1,000 per month, there are items for furnishings and household effects no upper limit. However, it has to be necessary items act. This includes, for example, refrigerator, washing machine, bed, cupboard, table, lamps, stove, dishes, bathroom furniture and curtains.

The tax offices recognize this without further examination up to 5,000 euros for furnishing the second home. Anyone who can prove higher costs indicates the individual items.

If the acquisition costs per item do not exceed 952 euros gross, you can deduct the full amount immediately. Otherwise, you’ll have to spread them out over the estimated useful life and write them off. That can drag on: 13 years are assumed for furniture.

ride costs

Travel expenses are also included deductible additional expenses for double housekeeping. And not only those that you incur when you move, but also the costs for trips to your main residence, so-called Family trips home.

With the latter, however, you can only benefit from the once a week Distance flat rate benefit, better known as the commuter allowance. From 2021 you can even set off 35 cents from the 21st kilometer. You can read more about the new commuter flat rate here.

Both Moving trips You can decide: either bill the actual costs or 30 cents per kilometer. If you use public transport, such as the train, instead of the car, you also have the choice between a flat-rate distance allowance or the actual travel costs – even for family trips home.

Good to know: If you drive home at least twice a week, you can also deduct all travel expenses. However, you are then not allowed to deduct accommodation costs or additional meals. You should therefore calculate beforehand whether the actual travel costs will exceed the running costs of the accommodation and only one trip home per week.

Additional meal expenses

Anyone who has already been on a business trip for a long time knows it: You can get one for every calendar day on which you were absent for at least eight hours Lump sum for meals assert. This rule also applies to double housekeeping – but only within the first three months.

If you were absent for at least eight but less than 24 hours, the flat rate is 14 euros. If you are absent for 24 hours, it is 28 euros.

Moving costs

The move also incurs costs that you can deduct from tax. This doesn’t just include expenses for Moving truck, Moving helpers and Cardboard boxes, but also all the costs you incur in looking for a second home – for example for the Realtor and Ads.

How do you prove double housekeeping?

So that the tax office recognizes the double housekeeping, you should first of all be able to prove that the second apartment actually only has one Adjoining apartment is – and you are yours Main residence continue to have elsewhere. Probably the trickiest point here is to prove that your Center of life is not due to your second home.

At Married people the question arises less. Here the tax office usually recognizes without any problems that your main residence is where your spouse lives. Singles On the other hand, those who visit their home less than twice a month would do well to cite membership in local associations as evidence or to emphasize their relationships with relatives and friends.

The tax office will also answer the question of whether you will contribute sufficiently towards the costs of your main residence Spouses with tax classes III, IV or V basically always assume. Otherwise you have to prove that too. This applies in particular to children of legal age who want to claim a room in their parents’ home. Bank statements serve as proof.

Proof is also required if you want to deduct accommodation and relocation costs or the furnishing of the apartment. So keep it Invoices, utility bills and of course that Rental or purchase agreement good on.

Good to know: Once the double housekeeping has been recognized, it is valid for an unlimited period – i.e. for the entire period of employment. You can therefore use the wage tax reduction procedure and apply for an allowance for these permanent additional costs.

When is double housekeeping worthwhile?

Actually, everyone can only answer the question for themselves. After all, it doesn’t just matter if it’s for you financially cheaper is to move into a second home near your new place of work rather than having to pay the travel expenses.

You should also take into account whether this will help you more quality of life win. Finally, there is no longer any long commuting. On the other hand, you may spend less time with your family. Another factor is of course the possible one Salary jumpthat the change of job brings you.

What you should save on taxes in the end never the only decisive reason be. The decision for or against a second home is at the beginning. You can then find out how you can best mitigate certain burdens in terms of tax.

How much you benefit from the possibilities of double housekeeping is always a question of your own Tax rate. It is best to seek help from a tax advisor or an income tax aid association.


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