What is a second household?

Anyone who has registered a second home at work and maintains another household at home can deduct the entire rental cost from their income tax.

When does a second home apply?

Are you a worker with a second home at your place of work, because the distance between home and work is too far for a daily commute?

If so, you can deduct many of the costs incurred in this regard as income tax expenses. The big requirement here is that there must be another accommodation as the main residence. The primary residence must be your centre of life. In other words, your primary residence is the place where your family and friends live. If there is a second home, up to 1,000 euros per month can be claimed for the second home alone (rent and utilities). In addition, trips to the hometown or expenses for furniture etc. can also be deducted.

Requirements for maintaining two households

A second home is subject to certain criteria. In order for the tax office to accept the costs of running two households, the following five points must be met:

The second home (which could be a shared flat) must be used for the purpose of a professional activity.
The workplace must be nearer the second home than the main residence.
Outside the workplace, another apartment is maintained at the primary residence.
The primary residence is the centre of family life.

Financial participation in the apartment at the primary residence. >> Since 2014, it has been shown that a financial contribution is made to the dwelling at the primary residence. The financial contribution to the running costs of the financial management must be more than 10 percent of the costs incurred.

Which costs for the second household can be deducted from the tax?

Rent & utilities

Monthly rent, electricity, heating and water can be tax-deductible up to a maximum of 1,000 euros per month.

Second household tax

Many cities charge a tax for the second home. This can be fully deducted.

Broadcasting contributions

The contribution for public service broadcasting of 17.50 euros per month can be completely offset against tax.

Further deductible costs with a second household

If the second place of residence is maintained at the place of work, a number of other expenses for the double household may be taxed as business expenses. The following listed advertising costs are still calculated on top of the limited to € 1000 per month maximum amount for the deductibility of accommodation costs.

Trips home

At the beginning and at the completion of two households incurred in the course of the change of residence, travel costs (maximum 2 trips) may in full or alternatively flat-rate deduction of 30 cents per kilometre from the tax.

The weekly trips home to the primary residence may be tax deductible. Here, the tax office grants only the distance flat rate of 30 cents per kilometre. There is no need to submit supporting documents.

Note: If you do not commute every weekend to your hometown, you can deduct telephone charges for talking with family and friends proportionately from the tax. Employees can also use the telephone/internet flat rate of 20 euros per month as a flat rate.

Removal expenses

The costs of moving from home to second home are fully deductible on presentation of supporting documents. The removal costs of 730 euros (in 2016) cannot be used for the second home.

Meal allowances

Lump sums for meals can be claimed for the first three months after moving into the second home. There is a flat rate of 24 euros per day.

Furniture and furnishings

The basic equipment of a second household can be offset against tax if the expenses are within reasonable limits. The basic equipment includes a particular bed, desk, sofa, washing machine, oven/cooker and lighting. If the costs per individual furnishing are not more than 800 euros (or 952 euros gross), these can be immediately and completely deducted. Higher costs can be claimed over a longer period of time.