Berlin (dpa) – Politicians are currently arguing about ways to promote work from the head office: An expert from Deutsche Bank’s research and analysis department, DB Research, is now making a completely different demand.
A tax on homework to help the weakest with money. The analyst’s proposal has sparked criticism and outrage on social media. Even some economists give little thought to the idea of a home office tax.
“From my point of view, this goes against the intuitive sense of justice of many people, because many employees in the central office tend to have the feeling of being financially punished,” says Jan Schnellenbach, professor of economics at the Technical University of Brandenburg in Cottbus. Sebastian Dullien, director of the Institute for Macroeconomics and Business Cycle Research at the Hans Böckler Foundation, called the suggestions on Twitter “bizarre.”
In a short article for DB Research, the analyst put taxes on the line for home office workers. The author assumes that many people want to continue working from home even after the Corona crisis.
“Working from home allows direct savings, for example, on travel, lunch, clothes and cleaning,” he writes. Employees would incur indirect costs in the form of “additional mental stress,” for example, through childcare at work or poor equipment at home. “These costs should not be underestimated, but they generally pale in comparison to the benefits,” he continues.
For the economy, however, the work of thousands of people in the central office is a great loss. For a long time, industries such as retail and office work infrastructures have developed. If these disappear, the economic problems will worsen. The argument is that jobs and businesses also depend on lunch or coffee during breaks.
Therefore, the author proposes a five percent tax on gross income. It should only be collected on days when people work at home. With a gross income of around 40,000 euros per year, this is around 7.50 euros per home office day. In this way, the state could earn an additional 15.9 billion euros, calculates the analyst. The money could be used to support those who are low-income or who lost their jobs in the Corona crisis.
After all, it is primarily the people with higher incomes who would have the option of working from home. However, in many lower-income, systemically important professions, this option often does not exist.
This redistribution proposal is not new and is fundamentally shared by many economists. However, the road has come under fire. “I really don’t find it understandable in terms of fairness,” says Schnellenbach, a BTU economics professor. “If you want to redistribute it, you can fix it in terms of income. The fact that someone works from home is not an indicator of economic performance. “
This is how Stefan Bach, a tax expert at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), also sees it: “The argument of the fair distribution of the costs of the crisis is good, but it should be measured by income and not by whether people work from House”. Furthermore, the political discussion is currently going in the opposite direction.
The grand coalition is currently debating whether to establish work at home on a new legal basis. No new taxes are foreseen, but there are tax exemptions. On the one hand, mobile work saves time, traffic and CO2, according to a document from the Union’s parliamentary group. On the other hand, there would be broadband access or material costs. In addition, there are higher costs of supplying water and energy. These costs are not mentioned in the article.
The parliamentary group CDU / CSU writes that there are already regulations for the recognition of a study up to a maximum of 1250 euros. In the future, employers should be able to reimburse mobile workers tax-free, even if individual items, such as a broadband connection, are also used privately.