Meal expenses

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Additional meal expenses represent the additional costs that a person has to bear because they are outside their own home and outside their first place of work for professional reasons (up to and including 2013: regular place of work ) and therefore cannot eat as cheaply as at home. This extra work-related expense can be claimed as business expenses ( Section 4 (5) sentence 1 no. 5 EStG ) or business expenses ( Section 9 (4a) EStG). The cost of accommodation and other expenses on the occasion of a business trip are travel expenses .

Lump sums for additional meals

Only if the catering more is expensed professional or business causes, it is tax deductible. The individual determination would be time-consuming and therefore lump sums / lump sums are specified that depend on the duration of the trip and the destination. Further terms for this are the flat-rate amount for the additional meal expenses , flat-rate meals or flat-rate meals . On the other hand, only these lump sums may be applied, even if the actual costs were demonstrably higher. In the case of companies subject to VAT, on the other hand, the actual costs can be claimed via input tax.

Meal allowance for business trips in Germany

Since the beginning of 2020, additional meal expenses have been set at the following amounts per calendar day for a business trip in Germany:

  • External activities lasting several days
    • 28 euros for every calendar day on which the employee is absent from his home and his first place of work for 24 hours,
    • 14 euros each for the day of arrival and departure if the employee spends the night outside his home on this, a subsequent or previous day; a minimum absence period is not required.
  • External activities without an overnight stay
    • 14 euros for the calendar day or night on which the employee is absent from his home and first place of work for more than 8 hours without staying overnight.
  • Overnight stay for professional drivers
    • A flat rate of 8 euros for every night spent by a professional driver away from home

The decisive factor is the length of absence from the home and the “first place of work” (until 2013: regular place of work). If someone goes on several business trips on a calendar day, the absence times on this calendar day can be added together.

In the case of location employment , the employee is not the first work site, so only the period of absence from the apartment shall prevail. A full-time assignment of more than three months at the same location no longer counts as a change of assignment for this period. If an activity is started after 4:00 p.m. and ends before 8:00 a.m. on the following calendar day without an overnight stay, the entire duration of the absence must be added to the calendar day that includes the predominant absence.

From 2014 to 2019, additional meal expenses were set at the following amounts per calendar day:

  • If you are absent for 24 hours, an amount of € 24,
  • For business trips of more than 8 hours, as well as for the day of arrival and departure, an amount of € 12,
  • In the case of professional drivers, only an estimate of € 5 could be claimed.

Until the end of 2013, additional meal expenses were set at the following amounts per calendar day:

Meal allowance for business trips abroad

Flat rates depending on the destination country apply to business trips abroad. For countries that are not listed, the amounts for Luxembourg are to be used, unless they are overseas or external areas (in which case the flat rate applicable for the metropolitan area is decisive). When passing through, the lump sum is determined by the place that the taxpayer last reached before midnight local time. In the case of trips lasting several days, the domestic lump sum is decisive for the day of departure abroad. For one-day trips abroad and for return days from abroad to Germany for trips lasting several days, the lump sum for the last place of work abroad is decisive.

In the public service , the employer reimburses lower flat-rate meals abroad, which are stipulated in the general administrative regulation on the revision of daily and overnight accommodation allowances abroad (ARVVwV). The employees can claim the difference to the tax law lump sums as income- related expenses with the income tax return.

Replacement by the employer

If an employee is reimbursed for their additional meal expenses by the employer , this reimbursement is tax-free up to the amount of the tax-permissible lump sum. If a meal is provided by a third party as part of an external activity, by the employer or at his request and the employee receives this in addition to the meal allowance, the lump sum must be reduced. The reduction is 20% for breakfast received and 40% for lunch or dinner, based on the flat rate applicable for a 24-hour absence.

Example : If a business traveler works within Germany, for example, and receives breakfast from the employer (e.g. in the context of an overnight stay in a hotel with breakfast), the meal allowance must be reduced by 20% (since 2020 € 5.60).

If a meal is not provided by the employer himself but by a foreign parent company or subsidiary, the employee's meal allowance does not have to be reduced.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Law on further tax incentives for electromobility and on changes to other tax regulations. Retrieved December 17, 2019 .
  2. Supplemented BMF letter on the reform of the tax travel expense law from 1.1.2014. (PDF; 0.3 MB) replaces the letter dated September 30, 2013. Federal Ministry of Finance , October 24, 2014, accessed on October 24, 2017 .
  3. General administrative regulation on the redefinition of daily and overnight accommodation allowances from November 22, 2016 (ARVVwV). RdSchr. d. BMI v. 11/24/2016 - D 6 - 30201/10 # 3. (No longer available online.) Federal Ministry of the Interior , November 24, 2016, archived from the original on January 10, 2017 ; accessed on January 10, 2017 .
  4. Federal Ministry of Finance: Supplemented BMF letter on the reform of the tax law on travel expenses from January 1, 2014 of October 24, 2014. Rz. 82 and 83, examples 55 and 56. PDF file (311 KB). Retrieved August 2, 2019.