Business Trip: The Costs are Stated in the Tax Return (Dienstreise)

A day trip to a business partner in another city or a flight to a conference in another country - that's what every day work can look like. If you do not have a 9 to 5 job, you have to love the variety and the many business trips. If the employer still pays for any costs incurred in such a trip, then everything is fine.

However, in some instances where the boss does not pay for the costs, it can quickly become very expensive for the employee, considering all the costs that could be associated with the trip. Some of these costs could range from expenditure for hotel accommodation, fees for training seminars to costs for airline tickets - if the supervisor does not pay, after all, the Treasury.

What is a business trip from a tax law perspective?

The expenses for missions are taken into account by the tax office as income-related expenses. For this to happen, however, there are three conditions that must be met. On one hand, of course, the basic requirement must be met. The one significant requirement to be met is that it must be a journey in the interests of the employer.

Some common instances where the costs could be catered for by the employer include:

  • Field trips
  • Trips to customers
  • Use change activities
  • Further developments
  • Visiting trade fairs, exhibitions etc
  • Excursions
  • study trips
  • Explorations
  • Expeditions

On the other hand, the route must not be covered with the company car. Only if the journey is started by public transport or your own car will the costs be recognised.

Finally, it is a condition that only the costs can be stated in the tax return that the employer has not reimbursed.

Business trip: deduct travel expenses from the tax

Business travelers have the option to choose from two options when it comes to making travel expenses tax-deductible. You can choose the mileage allowance for business trips or the individual mileage rate as a basis for calculation.

If you are traveling with your own car, you can apply a flat rate of 30 cents per kilometer covered. Incidentally, this applies to both the way to the destination and the way back.

Deduct catering and accommodation costs from tax (Verpflegungs- und Übernachtungskosten)

The Treasury grants business travelers a lump sum for meals (Verpflegungsmehraufwand). For arrival and departure taxpayers can each take 12 euros. If a business trip lasts more than eight hours or even several days, then in each case 24 Euro can be stated in the tax declaration. Accommodation costs can be charged in full. It is important that the supporting documents are kept for presentation on demand.

Other deductible costs include:

  • Tickets
  • Toll and parking fees
  • Tickets for public transport
  • Telephone calls with the employer and business partners
  • Transportation and storage costs for luggage
  • Luggage insurance