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Bonuses are results-based payments that are usually paid to members of the board of directors of an AG , to managing directors or executives in addition to a fixed remuneration .

As bonuses or royalties , the circulation-based revenues of authors, music composers and designers are called (in particular product / furniture designers and type designers). The participation of authors in the proceeds of the performance of their works is also called royalty.

The term is derived from the French tantième “the so much part” (from Latin tantus “so big, so much”).


In contrast to the commission or fee , the bonus is not based on a single business transaction, but on the result of the entire company or a part of the company or a department. Payments by GEMA and VG Wort to artists and composers or writers, authors and journalists registered with them also fall under the term royalty.


The amount of the bonus and the basis for calculation are based on the contractual agreements made. If the participation is based on the profit , the annual net profit is to be used as the basis for calculation, whereby the commercial balance sheet drawn up by the company and not the tax balance sheet that deviates from it should be used. If an employee is unable to work during the entire financial year and is unable to claim continued payment, the entitlement to the bonus expires.

The due date of the bonus is based on the contractual agreements made, whereby the completion of the balance sheet is usually agreed as the point in time or a point in time at which the balance sheet could have been determined. If an employee joins or leaves during a calendar year, he only has a pro-rata entitlement based on the annual result. In order to check the correctness of the reported annual results, the employee has a billing and information claim against his employer.

Tax treatment

Royalties are deductible expenses according to § 9 No. 1 KStG and are added to the trade tax according to § 8 No. 4 GewStG when paying the personally liable partner of a KGaA .

In the case of employees, bonuses are added to income from employment for tax purposes . If sales royalties are paid to a managing partner , this can lead to a hidden profit distribution . If there is a hidden profit distribution, the income of the managing director qualifies as income from capital assets . In order to prevent the intended abusive reduction in corporate income tax, the tax office is checking very critically whether this bonus would also have been paid to a managing director who is not involved in the GmbH . In addition, the principles for the recognition of bonus commitments of the Federal Ministry of Finance must be observed.


  • Svenja Deich: royalties. In: Ulrich Preis (Hrsg.): Innovative forms of work: flexible working hours, wages, work organization. 1154 pages, Cologne 2005, pp. 559 ff., ISBN 3-504-42041-3 .
  • Gunther Wolf: Variable remuneration - ingeniously easy to manage companies, relieve managers and inspire employees. 3. Edition. Hamburg. Verlag Dashöfer 2010, ISBN 978-3-931832-67-4 .

Web links

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

Individual evidence

  1. BMF letter IV A 2 - S 2742 - 4/01 dated February 1, 2002 ( Memento of the original dated January 5, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /