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Professional use – Property – Spouse – Apartment

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Depreciation and interest on debt for real estate used for business or professional purposes can generally be taken into account even if the person using the property is not the owner, e.g. of a dwelling; the decisive factor is that he or she has borne the expenses in his or her professional interest.

If spouses pay the expenses for the property belonging to only one spouse “from one pot”, i.e. from credit balances to which both spouses have contributed or from jointly taken out loan funds, the jointly borne expenses belong in full to the income-related expenses for the owner-spouse using the property for professional purposes.

If the spouses are co-owners

z. e.g. of an apartment used to generate income, it is generally assumed that each partner has borne the acquisition or production costs in accordance with his or her co-ownership share. This regularly applies regardless of whether one spouse has contributed more from his or her own resources than the other. This principle has been confirmed by the Federal Fiscal Court in a recent ruling for the specific case of one spouse alone using an apartment belonging to both spouses as a (non-domestic) study.

In the case in question, the loan to purchase the apartment was taken out by both spouses and interest and repayments were paid from a joint account. Since the user spouse has only borne half of the expenses for depreciation and debt interest for his or her own professional purposes, a deduction of income-related expenses can only be considered to this extent.

The following shall continue to apply unaffected by this:

If a room in a shared apartment is used professionally as a study by one spouse, the total costs attributable to the study can be taken into account by the income earner (within the framework of the co-ownership quota); however, the restrictions for a “domestic” study may then have to be observed.

(Further comments & information on this can be found in our information letter 06/2018 under item 1.)

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