#New foreign travel allowances for international employee assignments

New foreign travel allowances from 01.01.2020: On 15.11.2019, the Federal Ministry of Finance published a new letter on the tax treatment of travel expenses and travel expense reimbursements for business and work-related trips abroad from 01.01.2020.

The BMF letter describes and explains by means of examples how exactly the additional meal expenses are to be determined. It is also pointed out when additional meal expenses must be reduced if meals are provided by the employer or by a third party at the employer’s instigation.

New country overview published by the BMF

The tax authorities have also published an overview. The lump sums for additional meal expenses and accommodation costs for business and company-related business trips abroad applicable from 1.1.2020 are shown here, in which the different lump sums are specified for each country:

  • Additional meal expenses for absences of at least 24 hours per calendar day
  • Additional meal expenses for the day of arrival and departure and for an absence of more than eight hours per calendar day
  • Flat rates for accommodation costs

Federal Ministry of Finance & country overview

You can find the Federal Ministry of Finance country overview article on this external Page.

New meals allowances from 2020 in Germany too

According to the Annual Tax Act that has already been passed, the lump sums for additional meal expenses will also be increased from EUR 24 to EUR 28 for domestic 24-hour absences and from EUR 12 to EUR 14 for absences of more than eight hours and on the day of arrival and departure of absences lasting several days from 2020.

Tax-free reimbursement by the employer or income-related expenses in the income tax return

On the one hand, the values are important for the employer’s payroll accounting staff if they reimburse the employee the corresponding lump sums tax-free via the pay slip.

However, employees who spend time abroad for professional reasons, for example due to their own further training, can also deduct these lump sums as income-related expenses in their personal income tax returns. Of course, this is not possible if the employer has previously reimbursed them.

Statutory flat rates also apply to entrepreneurs, the self-employed and freelancers

Entrepreneurs can also deduct costs for meals on a business trip as business expenses for tax purposes. For income tax purposes, however, it is not the actual catering costs that can be claimed, but only the statutory flat rates.

Are you interested in this topic?
Find out more about this and other exciting articles on the
info blog of PBS Pekala and Partner

You are also welcome to visit the websites of our partner network