29.11.2021 – 12:30
United Wage Tax Aid eV – VLH
Neustadt a. d. W. (ots)
Bought yourself or financed by the employer, monetary benefit or not: whether employees can claim the expenses for their Bahncard for tax purposes depends on various factors – also with regard to Corona. The Lohnsteuerhilfeverein Vereinigte Lohnsteuerhilfe eV (VLH) shows what is important.
Buy the Bahncard yourself and deduct it as advertising expenses
Many employees buy a Bahncard and use it primarily for trips to work or for business trips. If this is the case, the costs can be stated as income-related expenses in the income tax return and deducted for tax purposes. The only requirement: the costs of the Bahncard are offset by the savings made on individual journeys. The purchase of the Bahncard must actually be financially worthwhile. If this requirement is met, employees can also use the Bahncard for private journeys.
However, anyone who spent most of 2020 and 2021 in the home office due to the corona pandemic and states the corresponding home office flat rate in their tax return has hardly or not at all used the Bahncard for months. The following applies to these employees: If they can credibly demonstrate to the tax office that the Bahncard was not used due to the Corona-related home office, the costs remain deductible.
Finance the Bahncard from your employer and deduct it in two ways
Many employers provide their employees with a Bahncard free of charge for business and private use. How or whether the costs can be deducted depends on the answer to the following question: Is the Bahncard valued as a pecuniary benefit – i.e. as wages – or not? If the Bahncard counts as wages, it must be fully taxed.
The highest federal tax authorities agreed on this at the end of 2019 and distinguish between two cases:
1. Full amortization: The Bahncard is completely worthwhile
If an employee has to pay the same amount or more for a single ticket than for a Bahncard due to external activities, business trips or trips to work, then the Bahncard does not constitute wages the official formulation – to finance the employee with a Bahncard. And then the employee does not have to pay tax on the Bahncard provided by the employer. This also applies if the expected so-called full amortization does not occur for unforeseeable reasons, for example because the employee is sick for a long time or mainly works in the home office due to the corona pandemic. Subsequent taxation of the Bahncard is not necessary in such a case
2. Partial amortization: The Bahncard is only partially worthwhile
If the savings are unlikely to reach the cost of the Bahncard, the purchase is not in the employer’s predominantly internal interests. Then the Bahncard is a pecuniary benefit and thus initially a full taxable wage. But: The costs that employees save on business trips with the Bahncard subsequently reduce the taxable wages.
The employer provides a Bahncard 100 worth 4,027 euros (2nd class, as of autumn 2021). The employee is expected to go on business trips with single tickets worth 2,000 euros. The employer calculates that the employee will have ticket costs of 1,500 euros for the journey between their home and their first place of work. In sum: The costs for the Bahncard, namely over 4,000 euros, are higher than the expected ticket costs, namely 3,500 euros.
The use of the Bahncard 100 is tax-free to the amount of 1,500 euros, i.e. for the costs of journeys between home and first place of work. The remaining amount of 2,527 euros is considered to be taxable wages.
Good to know: The employer can reduce the taxable wages, namely in the amount of the cost of the single tickets saved by actually using the Bahncard 100 for business trips – in our example in the amount of 2,000 euros. This can be done on a monthly basis or at the end of the Bahncard’s validity period. And that works by offsetting the employee’s then fixed tax-free travel expense reimbursement claim – in our example, the ticket costs of 527 euros. The Bahncard 100 may then be completely tax-free.
by the way and as most people know: if you buy the Bahncard 25, you pay 25 percent less for train tickets. With the Bahncard 50 you save 50 percent, and with the Bahncard 100 all train connections can be used unlimitedly for a whole year and at no additional cost – regardless of how often and how far you travel in Germany.
The VLH: Germany’s largest wage tax aid association
The Lohnsteuerhilfeverein Vereinigte Lohnsteuerhilfe e. V. (VLH) is Germany’s largest wage tax aid association with more than one million members and around 3,000 advice centers nationwide. Founded in 1972, it also provides most of the DIN 77700 certified consultants.
The VLH prepares the income tax return for its members, applies for all tax reductions, checks the tax assessment and a lot more within the scope of the limited advisory powers according to § 4 No. 11 StBerG.
United wage tax assistance e. V. (VLH)
67433 Neustadt ad Weinstrasse
Tel.: 06321 4901-0
Fax: 06321 4901-49
Original content from: Vereinigte Lohnsteuerhilfe eV – VLH, transmitted by news aktuell