Business trips

What can I expense while travelling for work? How can I cover for food costs during my trips?

Written by Fanny Silheres
Updated over a week ago

As a freelancer or self employed, you might travel as part of your job to meet clients or business partners.

What kind of expenses can I declare?

  1. Transportation - flight, train, taxi, bus, car sharing and private car usage (see details below)

  2. Accommodation - hotel, airbnb, etc..

  3. Food (see details below)

What are the requirements to make a business trip deductible?

  1. The main purpose of the trip must be related to your business.

  2. The trip must have been paid by you personally, and not by your client / business partner. 

What if my business trip involved a non business related part?

If the main purpose of the trip was pleasure, then usually you should not deduct the trip expenses.

If the main purpose of the trip was related to your business, and you have taken some days off, you can still deduct parts of the trip expenses.

How to partially deduct a trip?

You can fully deduct the travelling costs.

You should not deduct the accommodation and food costs during the time you stayed for personal reasons

How should I prove my business trip expenses?

The costs of business trips can accumulate large amounts, which can alert the Finanzamt. Therefore it is important to be able to prove that those trips were relevant to your business.

Try to keep any information that can help you prove the connection of the trip to your business. It can be email conversations with clients, time tracking, travel itineraries, etc... 

Food costs - meal allowance

During your trip you will have to pay to feed yourself.
Unlike other expenses, you cannot deduct those expenses on the basis of receipts, but instead you can deduct a flat rate according to the length of the trip.
The meal allowance can be deducted only if you paid for the meals yourself (and not by your client for example).

Travelling in Germany

For a single day trip longer than 8 hours, you can deduct 14€ (12€ on 2019)
For a multi day trip, you can deduct 28€ (24€ on 2019) for a full day, and additional 14€ (12€ on 2019) for the day of the arrival and departure. 

For example you had a 4 days trip to meet clients in Germany. For the arrival day, you will deduct 14€, then there are two full days so you will deduct 2*28€ and finally you will deduct 14€ for the departure day. So in total, you can deduct 84€ for food costs in that trip.

Travelling outside of Germany

There is a different daily rate for every country in the world. You can see the official table here.

What if meals are included in my hotel accommodation? 

The daily meal allowance should be reduced.
For breakfast, you will have to reduce 20%, for lunch and dinner - 40% should be reduced.
This means that for a full board accommodation (i.e. accommodation that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner), you won't be able to deduct any food costs.

In Sorted

To record the meal allowance in Sorted, just pick the category "Business trip meal allowance". You will have to provide the trip dates and destination and the total deduction amount will be calculated automatically.

Driving with your car to a business trip

If you have a car which is not owned by the business, you can deduct the expenses incurred in travelling as part of the trip.
The deduction amount is based on the distance you drove, and you can calculate it by multiplying the total distance by 0.3€.
For example, if you drove from Berlin to Munich (584 KM), so in total 1168 for both ways, you can deduct 1168 * 0.3 = 350€

Sorted tax guides are provided without liability and do not replace a tax advisor.
To get an accurate answer for your specific case, please consult a tax advisor.
You can always ask one of tax advisors on the Sorted platform.

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