Life isn’t always black and white. For example, those who must make decisions have to weigh several options. It is rare to chose something that is 100% correct. As is so often the case, the truth lies somewhere in between. And that’s the famous gray area.
Gray areas are also found in all facets of the professional world. You quickly give out your private mobile number for an urgent callback or you check your WLAN on your laptop to check for important emails within your own 4 walls in the evening - there are countless situations in which work and leisure can not be completely separated.
If your case is similar, you may be required to declare part of your expenses when you do your taxes. This concerns, above all, internet access costs and your mobile phone contract. These items can namely be claimed as advertising costs (Werbungskosten). This where you will find out how this works exactly and what you need to look out for.
Expenditures for telephone and Internet are advertising costs (Werbungskosten)
For example, if you use your own smartphone to have business conversations, you can deduct this cost as an expense (Werbungskosten). This also includes internet connection costs. How else should you send e-mails, research online or edit Excel spreadsheets?
Exactly. And this is why the government participates. Basically, there are two ways to deduct your expenses from your taxes. Expenses for telecommunications can also be deducted as a 20% flat rate (Pauschale). However, only a maximum of 20 Euro can be deducted per month. Only certain occupational groups can claim this tax benefit. It isn’t clearly defined what these are and they are handled differently by individual tax offices (Finanzamt).
The second Variation is to submit the costs incurred with proof to the respective tax office. The deductible percentage itself has to be determined for this. There isn’t a maximum value that has to be kept with this variation.
Note: Itemization is only for those who have extremely high costs within a calendar year.
Who can deduct telephone and internet costs from their taxes?
As a rule, career-related expenses for telecommunications are easily recognized for the following professions:
- Teachers who do most of their daily work at home (talking to parents, students, colleagues and others)
- Homeworkers who are in constant contact with colleagues and must be available at all times
- Field staff (mainly customer service representatives, travel agents, insurance agents, sales representatives, etc.)
Note: Once the costs have been recognized by the tax office, there are usually no issues with future tax returns (Steuererklärung).
What exactly can be claimed for tax purposes?
Various expenses can be stated in the income tax return:
- Rental costs for telephone, fax etc.
- Connection costs, set-up fee for equipment or Getting an internet connection
- Basic fee
- Call cost
- Flat-rate fee
- Purchase price of the telephone system, smartphone etc.
- for acquisition costs of more than € 410 (excluding VAT), only part of the acquisition costs can be deducted per year (depreciation)
- Repair costs
Costs that are not recognized
- PC Accessories