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Maintaining two households – Costs for a parking space included in the accommodation costs?

If the place of residence and the place of work are far apart from each other it sometimes makes sense to rent a second home at the workplace location. The costs for this can be partially taken into consideration as work-related costs. However, there are limits to this because German legislators have capped accommodation costs at €1,000 per month. In the case described in the following section the question that arose was: can the costs incurred for a parking space likewise be allocated to accommodation costs?

In 2019, the claimant worked at C. He maintained a residence in E and a residence in G. In G, he rented a car parking space at a cost of €60 per month. While his home there was on a different plot it was nevertheless within walking distance. In his 2019 income tax return, the claimant declared income from employment of around €96,400. Moreover, he claimed the costs of running two households in the amount of around €42,100. These included, among other things, refurbishment costs in the amount of €34,000 as well as the costs for the parking space in the amount of €720 (12 x €60). However, the local tax office reduced the amount of costs that had been claimed to the maximum permissible amount for accommodation costs of €1,000 per month and, in addition, included depreciation for the furnishings and equipment in the amount of around €430. The claimant refused to accept this because, in his opinion, the costs for the parking space in the amount of €720 should have likewise been taken into consideration.

His legal action before the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern tax court (ruling of 21.9.2022, case reference 3 K 48/22) was successful. According to the court, his costs for the parking space constituted necessary additional expenditure for the maintenance of two households that was work related. Such costs are not subject to the monthly limit of €1,000 as they are not accommodation costs. Even if the explanatory memorandum for the legislation states that rent for a parking space is included in accommodation costs this does justifies no other outcome. This is not stated actually in the legislation itself. Moreover, the Federal Ministry of Finance circular on this topic does not alter the fact that the courts are not bound by administrative guidance. Leave to appeal was granted.

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