The tax authorities promote household-related employment, the use of household-related services, nursing and care services as well as craftsmen's services for renovation, maintenance and modernisation measures by means of tax reductions.
A distinction must be made between:
- Marginal employment or employment subject to social security contributions in the household
- Household-related services and nursing and care services
- Use of craftsman services
The taxpayer using the household-related activities moves into the position of an employer with all the associated obligations when hiring a marginally employed person as well as when hiring an employee subject to social insurance. The activity must be closely related to the household. Activities include, for example:
- Preparation of meals in the household and
- cleaning the home.
Depending on which type of household-related activity is claimed, the tax incentive differs.
In the case of marginal employment, 20% of the expenses, up to a maximum of € 510 per year, are subsidised by means of a separate maximum amount. In the case of employment subject to social insurance contributions, the expenses are included in the uniform maximum amount applicable to all household-related services. This amounts to 20% of the expenses, up to a maximum of € 4,000 per year.
Household-related services include activities that do not belong to the craft services, are usually carried out by members of the private household and for which third parties are employed or a service agency or a self-employed service provider is used. This includes the following activities:
- Cleaning the home (e.g., by employees of a service agency or a self-employed window cleaner)
- Gardening (e.g. lawn mowing, hedge trimming)
- Preparation of meals in the household and services for privately arranged removals.
Household-related services do not include:
- Personal services such as home hairdresser, podiatrist
- Services provided by billing companies for heating energy or water consumption
- Costs for property management and garbage fees
- Security and locking services (property control; keeping an alarm device ready)
- Clearing out of an apartment in the course of a household liquidation
The tax reduction for household-related services amounts to 20 % of the eligible expenses, up to a maximum of € 4,000 per year (uniform maximum amount).
A commissioned a gardening and landscaping company to trim several hedges and bushes in March 2020. The labour costs shown on the invoice amounted to € 850. Payment was made by bank transfer on 29/03/2020.
The costs of garden maintenance are eligible for tax relief to the extent of the labour costs of € 850. The tax reduction is 20% of € 850 = € 170.
Nursing and care costs
The tax reduction for household-related services also includes expenses incurred for the use of nursing and care services for persons in need of care. Benefits from long-term care insurance are to be taken into account. These expenses are also taken into account for tax purposes at 20% of the expenses up to a uniform maximum amount of € 4,000. Nursing and care services due to accommodation in a residential or nursing home for the elderly are also eligible. A separate household in the residential or nursing home is irrelevant here.
V lives with his wife E in his own household. They have commissioned a mobile nursing service to assist V with personal hygiene and nutrition. V pays a monthly instalment of € 325 for the regularly recurring care services. B attaches the proper annual statement and the bank transfer receipts to his tax return. V receives an expense allowance for home care of € 205 from the statutory nursing care insurance.
The expenses for V's home care of € 3,900 per year are eligible. However, the benefits of the nursing care insurance in the amount of € 2,460 are to be credited. The tax reduction amounts to
20% of € 1,440 = € 288.
Expenses for craftsman services are - in addition to the deduction for household-related services - eligible for tax relief in the amount of 20%, up to a maximum of € 1,200 per year.
Beneficiary craftsman activities include in particular:
- Work on interior and exterior walls,
- Work on the roof, facade, garages or similar,
- Repair or replacement of windows and doors, painting/painting of doors, windows (inside and outside), wall cupboards, radiators and pipes,
- Repair or replacement of floor coverings (e.g. carpet, parquet, tiles),
- Repair, maintenance or replacement of heating systems, electrical, gas and water installations,
- Modernization or replacement of the fitted kitchen,
- Modernisation of the bathroom,
- Repair and maintenance of items in the taxpayer's household (e.g. washing machine, dishwasher, cooker, television, PC),
- Gardening measures,
- Paving work on the residential property as well as
- Inspection expenses (e.g. chimney sweep, inspection of lightning protection systems).
It is not relevant whether the expenses for the individual measure are maintenance or production expenses.
However, craft activities within the scope of a new construction measure are not eligible. New construction measures are all measures that are carried out in connection with the construction of a household until it is ready for occupancy for the first time, e.g. the construction of a single-family house.
On the other hand, e.g. the subsequent conversion of the attic or the subsequent construction of a conservatory in an owner-occupied single-family house does not constitute a new construction measure, but a beneficiary measure.
What does not count as craftsman services?
- Jump-starting or repairing a car,
- Preparation of an energy certificate,
- Architectural services for larger modernisation expenditures.
In March 2020, A commissions a plumber to replace the defective heating system and pays the invoice in the amount of € 5,800 by bank transfer in April. At the same time, the plumber repairs the defective refrigerator in A's household. A pays the invoice of € 200 immediately in cash and receives a receipt for this.
The replacement of the heating system is subsidised. However, the repair of the refrigerator is not, as the invoice was paid in cash. The tax reduction is therefore 20% of € 5,800 = € 1,160. The maximum amount of € 1,200 is not exceeded.
The legal basis for the income taxation of natural persons is the German Income Tax Act (Einkommensteuergesetz, EStG), in particular Section 35a EStG.
Further information can also be found in the BMF letter dated 09.11.2016, BStBl I p. 1213 and in the "current tip - household-related employment relationships".