Examples for freelancers and self-employed
If you work as a freelancer or self-employed, there are some things that you will definitely need, because these are industry-independent. You may have offices or halls, you may need rental tables, furniture, a kitchen, software, a PC or laptop and other hardware.
You can find your halls and buildings directly under point 1 and choose what they are made of. Lightweight halls, for example, have a useful life of 14 years. Then you will find the property facilities, roadways, parking spaces and green areas, but also extinguishing water ponds. Roads and bridges are estimated at 33 years of age, green spaces at 15 years.
You can find your calculator on page 5 under point 6: Operating and office equipment. Mainframes are set at 7 years of age, but a PC and laptop, printer, scanner, monitor and fax machine are only set at 3 years of age.
According to polyhobbies, office furniture is mentioned under 6.15 and can be used for 13 years. Here you can even find shredders (8 years old), air conditioning (mobile air conditioning units, 11 years old) and safes (23 years old).
If you are unsure where to find which items, there is an alphabetical listing of all the items from page 6 onwards. For example, a cell phone (cell phone, car phone, each 5 years).
As soon as you have determined the acquisition and production costs and the useful life, you can calculate the depreciation for an asset. You simply divide the AHK by the useful life. Attention: In the first year of purchase you have to calculate the amount exactly to the month .
If you only bought the new PC in November, you can of course only write it off for the current year in November and December and not before. You can calculate 1/12 of the amount for each month started.
In April you bought a new PC for 1,116 euros, which, according to the depreciation table, can be used for 3 years. You can currently only write off this linearly. In the year of purchase, however, you cannot set 12 months, but only 9 (April to December).
Calculation: 1,116 euros divided by 36 months (3 years) = 31 euros / month.
For the year of purchase, you use only 9 x 31 euros = 279 euros as the assessment base.
In the second and third year each 12 x 31 euros = 372 euros.
You can write off the remaining 3 months or 93 euros in the fourth year with the residual value.
Special case of low-value economic goods
In the case of low-value assets, you can not only write off according to the depreciation table, but also have other options according to § 6 EStG. These are dependent on the acquisition value.
- You can immediately post low-value assets that cost less than 250 euros as a business expense.
- On the other hand, you can write off low-value assets that cost between 250 and 800 euros immediately.
Optionally, you can include items that cost between 250 (250.01) and 1,000 euros in a collective depreciation (pool depreciation) and depreciate it with 1/5 over 5 years – regardless of the useful life. Anything that cost more than 1,000 euros, however, you have to write off according to the depreciation table.
Which depreciation variant you choose depends on what you think is better. For start-ups, however, it is often better to choose regular depreciation, because it allows you to spread the burden over several years.
Raising the threshold for low-value assets
Incidentally, the value limits were raised on 01/01/2018 . They were previously 150 and 410 euros.
Special assets and their depreciation
For real estate separate proceedings under § 7 Income Tax Act ( “deduction for depreciation or depletion”), 4 are accurate according to § 7 para. 5 and Income Tax Act. This depends, among other things, on the date of completion, the submission of the building application or the conclusion of the property purchase contract. Business buildings whose building application was submitted after March 31, 1985 can be depreciated with 3%.
Otherwise, depending on the completion:
- Completed after December 31, 1924 at an annual rate of 2 percent
- Completed before January 1, 1925 at an annual rate of 2.5 percent
Further percentages are also given for residential buildings and buildings in EU countries. However, it would be too long to list all the regulations in detail here. Deviating from the above percentages – depending on the date of the building application – up to 10% are possible.
A car can be depreciated on a straight-line basis for 6 years, but performance-based depreciation also applies here.
Special features for self-employed and small businesses
The tax depreciation rules and the depreciation tables apply to all entrepreneurs regardless of the legal form or the volume of business. However, there is a special feature for small businesses within the meaning of § 19 UStG .
In the case of small businesses who are not entitled to input tax deduction, the VAT they have paid themselves is part of the acquisition and production costs.
Example: The small business owner Lisa Müller purchases a desk for her office worth 2,000 euros plus 380 euros VAT. The assessment basis for the depreciation, which extends over 13 years according to the depreciation table AV (category 6.15), is the total purchase price of 2,380 euros. This results in an annual depreciation of EUR 183.08.
Once you know where to start, depreciation isn’t difficult. You have to determine the acquisition and production costs of the goods and look for the periods of use from the tables. Then simply decide whether you can optionally copy it off immediately or if you prefer to do it regularly and that’s it. If in doubt, your tax advisor can also advise you in detail.