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A logbook documents the distances covered with a vehicle and the reason for the trip. For the shipbuilding and aviation will logbook for sailors, the seaman's book that and for pilots flight log used. The place and date of departure, driver, mileage at the start and end of the journey (distance covered) and the purpose of the journey are entered in the logbook. It can be used for submission to the police, the tax office or in companies.

Fleet management

It is customary for a logbook to be kept for each company car so that the fleet manager has an overview of the use and costs of the vehicles for a large number of employees. Electronic logbooks with GPS are an advantage here.

Condition according to § 31a StVZO

In Germany, after serious traffic violations (punishment from one point) , the road traffic authority can impose the requirement on a vehicle owner to keep a logbook for one or more vehicles if it was not possible to determine a vehicle driver (see § 31a StVZO ) because in As a rule, the regulatory offense authority or, in the case of a criminal offense, the criminal prosecution authority, depending on the circumstances of the individual case, has not been able to identify the perpetrator, although it has taken all appropriate and reasonable measures to do so. It cannot be expected to conduct indiscriminate, time-consuming research with little prospect of success. The hearing on the traffic violation establishes the obligation for the owner to actively participate in clearing up a traffic violation committed with his vehicle as far as is possible and reasonable for him. This includes, in particular, that he delimits the known and at least the possible group of perpetrators and promotes the identification of the perpetrator by asking the group of authorized users. The type and scope of the investigative activity of the authority can be based on the behavior and declaration of the vehicle owner. Appeal to the right to refuse to testify or to refuse to testify does not conflict with the condition. Since 2009, logbook requirements have been entered in the central vehicle register of the Federal Motor Transport Authority in Flensburg - Mürwik for the time in which they have to be kept and are thus recognizable nationwide for all inquiring authorities. Only the information required by § 31a StVZO is to be entered in the book. This means that these logbooks differ in content from records that are to be kept under tax law. For example, information on the route is not required. If the owner or the authorized vehicle driver violates this requirement, a fine of 100.00 euros will be levied each time.

Tax consideration

Taxation according to the one percent rule

With the so-called one percent rule , a flat rate taxation of a (partially) privately used company car takes place. In this case, one percent of the gross list price (rounded down to full hundreds) of the vehicle (including all extras and VAT) is taxed as a monetary benefit per month, i.e. H. 12 percent per year. If the employee can also use the car to travel between home and work, 0.03 percent of the gross list price must be added as a pecuniary benefit for each kilometer of distance between home and work. The aforementioned regulation only applies if the journey between home and workplace is driven more than 46 times a year. As an alternative to the “one percent rule”, the actual share of private use can be determined by keeping a logbook and this share can be used for tax purposes. An estimate can also be considered.

The following applies to non-employees: Since January 1, 2006, the “one percent rule” only applies to vehicles that are used at least 50 percent for business purposes. Business use also includes journeys between home and work, as well as family journeys home if you have two households. In case of doubt, the tax office must be shown that at least 50% of the vehicle is being used for business purposes.

Taxation based on a logbook

By keeping a logbook and submitting it to the tax office, the actual share of private use can be conclusively proven ( Section 6 Paragraph 1 No. 4 Sentence 3 EStG ). Instead of a flat rate taxation ("one percent rule"), the monetary benefit is determined on the basis of the actual share of private use. This often results in a much lower amount than with flat-rate taxation.

Sample calculation

Suppose Hans Mustermann purchases an annual car for his company for 20,000 euros. The vehicle has a new price (list) of 30,000 euros including sales tax. The distance between home and workplace is 20 kilometers. For Mr. Mustermann this results in a monthly taxable amount of

1,6 % • 30.000 Euro = 480 Euro

The 1.6 percent is a legal requirement (1% + 20 km × 0.03%: km = 1.6%). This amount is added to him as a flat-rate private withdrawal.

The flat-rate distance allowance is taken into account for work-related journeys between home and work . Example: 20 km on 230 working days per year with 0.30 euros per distance kilometer and year:

20 km × 230 Arbeitstage pro Jahr = 4600 km pro Jahr
4600 km pro Jahr × 0,3 € = 1380 € pro Jahr
1380 € pro Jahr : 12 Monate pro Jahr = 115,– Euro pro Monat
480 € − 115 € = 365 €

With an assumed marginal tax rate of 40 percent, this would be 146 euros in taxes per month.

It is of no use to him that his vehicle only cost 20,000 euros and that he drives a maximum of 15 percent of all trips privately. He would have to prove this with a logbook. The “correct” costs (depreciation, leasing rates, gasoline, workshop) for the vehicle would be determined and divided according to the proportion of private trips to business trips.

In our example, we could assume that the vehicle costs a further EUR 3500 for maintenance (insurance, petrol, etc.) in addition to EUR 4000 depreciation per year. The calculation for 15 percent private journeys is as follows:

15 % × 7.500 € = 1.125 € pro Jahr, ergo 93,75 € pro Monat zu versteuern

At a marginal tax rate of 40 percent, this would only be just under 37.50 euros in taxes, which results in savings of 108.50 euros per month.

Logbook for cars in business assets

The self-employed can convert a car into business assets if the proportion of business use is between 10 percent and 50 percent (voluntary business assets). If the proportion is over 50 percent, the car is a necessary business asset. The private / business usage share is determined by the kilometers driven. The journeys between home and business are counted as business-related trips and thus increase the proportion of business use. The costs incurred are business expenses, but not tax deductible according to Section 4 (5) No. 6 EStG. This means that only the remaining operational costs remain tax-deductible.


Car costs € 7,500 per year (as above). 30,000 km total mileage = 10,000 km home-business trips, 10,000 km private trips, 10,000 km pure business trips

The operational share including journeys home is 66 percent. The car is part of the necessary business assets. Two thirds of € 7,500 = € 5,000 can be deducted as business expenses.

Alternative calculation
No company car or logbook

If you drive your own car and do without a company car, then 10,000 km: 2 = 5,000 distance km × 0.30 €, i.e. 1,500 € annually, which would still be less. Compared to the car in private assets (use of one's own private car), the entrepreneur can set off 1000 euros more by keeping a driver's log.

This does not make it possible to decide whether it is cheaper to transfer the car into business assets. Because: If the car is part of the company's assets, any profit arising from the sale must be taxed. If the car were sold after five years, with a book value of zero and sales proceeds of 5,000 euros, 5,000 euros would have to be taxed. Without the interest rate effect, the tax advantage would have been used up, but the tax effect has accrued through the depreciation in previous years.

Requirements for a proper logbook

The logbook is an objectively verifiable document (see R 8.1 para. 9 LStR, BMF of November 18, 2009 in BStBl. 2009 I p. 1326, BFH in BStBl II 2008, 1382, of March 1, 2012 VI R 33/10 ), with the following requirements (BFH / NV 2012 p. 573; BFH of November 13, 2012 VI R 3/12):

What? - Content of the logbook

- every "operational" related individual trip with km,

- date and

- Total km at the end

- "Business" travel destination (s); Mentioning the street is not sufficient if the house number, place and name of the customer visited are missing. Necessary information must be made in the driver's log. It is not sufficient to add a list drawn up at a later date, not even if it is derived from a timely calendar (BFH in BStBl. 2012 II p. 505).

- visited persons or "operational" performance; If the same customers are visited regularly and if they are listed in a consecutively numbered customer list, the customer number instead of the travel destination, purpose and business partner suffices if the customer list is attached to the logbook. Listings not contained in the logbook itself are not permitted.

- Private trips with mileage information

- with a short note at home / place of work or business premises; from VZ 2014 "First place of work, collection point and extensive area of ​​activity"

- Job-specific facilities, e.g. B. for sales representatives, courier service drivers, taxi drivers and driving instructors.

When and how? - Form of the logbook

- Ongoing and timely within the meaning of Section 146 (1) sentence 1 AO (BFH judgment of 6 August 2013 VIII R 33/11). The logbook method is only to be used as a basis if the logbook is kept for the entire assessment period in which the taxpayer. uses the vehicle; A change from the 1% rule to the logbook method for the same vehicle during the year is not permitted (BFH of March 20, 2014, VI ​​R 35/12).

- after the respective journey,

- closed form, d. H. "Book" - form including electronic book (loose records are not sufficient - BFH judgment of July 12, 2011 VI B 12/11), not even monthly sheets that were not linked (BFH judgment of June 10, 2013 XB 258/12, BFH judgment of August 6, 2013 VIII R 33/11, on the electronic book see OFD Rhineland of February 18, 2013 in DB 2013 p. 489 and FG Baden-Württemberg of October 14, 2014, 11 K 736 / 11),

- Abbreviations permitted for regularly recurring journeys,

- Supplements must be excluded or at least clearly recognizable as such (BFH of October 12, 2012 III B 78/12),

- clear and legible (BFH / NV 2012 p. 949)

- This means that spot checks are possible with reasonable effort (BFH of August 6, 2013 VIII R 33/11)

- complete and correct within the meaning of Section 146 (1) sentence 1 AO (BFH judgment of 6 August 2013 VIII R 33/11),

- Ordered according to § 146 Abs. 1 S. 1 AO,

- Storage acc. § 147 AO.

Practical tip:

- The records in the logbook must provide a sufficient guarantee of their completeness and correctness. Minor defects such as an unrecorded trip per year, no correspondence between the km information in the logbook and the workshop invoices, etc. do not lead to the rejection of the logbook and the application of the one percent rule if the information is plausible overall (BFH BStBl II 2008, 768 in conjunction with Section 158 AO; BFH dated September 20, 2012 VI B 36 / 12).

- There is no detour if the route traveled deviates by approx. 5 percent from the shortest possible route. Only in the case of significant deviations can a detour, which requires more precise records, be assumed (BFH / NV 2012 p. 949).

- The previous regulation puts electric vehicles at a disadvantage because their price is currently higher. The total expenses incurred on the basis of the calculation of the withdrawal are reduced by the costs of the accumulator (battery) included in the special equipment. In order to prevent overcompensation of the disadvantage compensation, the flat-rate deduction for electric vehicles purchased by December 31, 2013 is limited to a maximum reduction in the gross list price of 10,000 euros. This maximum amount is reduced by 500 euros annually in the following years (Section 6 (1) No. 4 sentence 3, 2nd HS EStG). The regulation is limited in time to the purchase of electric and hybrid electric vehicles that are purchased by December 31, 2022. In the case of electric vehicles purchased in 2012 or earlier, the reduction rule can also apply from 2013 (Section 52 (16) sentence 11 EStG and BMF letter of June 5, 2014).

- A modification by the legislator is suggested (Wöltje in DStR 2013 p. 1318).

- The request expressed in the explanations of the income tax assessment to keep a logbook for the future is not a regulation of an individual case and therefore not a VA within the meaning of § 118 sentence 1 AO. This "logbook edition" is merely a preparatory measure for future tax assessments or a reference to the obligation to provide evidence for future assessment procedures (BFH of July 19, 2005, VI B 4/05).

- More details from Kiermaier in NWB 30/2013.

Electronic logbook

Keeping a logbook in electronic form is possible with regard to official approval. This variant is particularly useful for large companies and institutions with regard to owner liability in connection with an electronic driver's license check. The tax offices in Germany only recognize electronic logbooks if the same knowledge can be gained from them as from conventionally kept logbooks. In particular, it must be technically guaranteed that subsequent changes are excluded or documented. Proof of this can be easier if the recordings are not made on your own devices, but via the Internet at a service provider. When deciding on a service provider, data protection should be checked, because you create a movement profile and record many of your business partners. Systems that access the Global Positioning System can make suggestions to the user for the required specification of the mileage, travel destination and business partner. Permanently installed systems can also offer the possibility of recording the mileage directly.

Web links

Wiktionary: logbook  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Taken from the book "All about the car - The car taxation in the light of the VAT, the KraftStG and the ESt with special attention to the new travel expense law 2014" by Harald Rieß and HaaS GmbH seminars and lecture
  2. a b Income tax registration of the use of a company vehicle ... (PDF; 72 kB) Federal Ministry of Finance. November 18, 2009. Retrieved on October 5, 2012.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.bundesfinanzministerium.de