Per diem rates / daily expense allowances - Germany

Company policies and legal requirements

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brokenm
I have a question in regards to per diem rates in Germany or by German companies. My company pas a travel per diem set by the standard by the finanzamt. 6 euro for hours over 8, 12 euros for hours over 14 and a full day at 24 euro. I am from the US and a daily allowance is used by companies so they don't have to account for every penny spent on business trips. Therefore you receive this amount whether or not you use it. If you eat at restaurants that are more expensive, your loss, cheaper places your gain.

Now for my questions,
if you don't eat during the day, does your company still allow you the per diem?

if you go over to a friends house and you eat for free, do you still receive the per diem?

if the client invites you out for dinner, do you still receive the per diem?

If there are any steuer links concerning this I would appreciate it.
eurovol
You get a daily rate (rates may vary based on company and what is available-restaurants versus cafeterias). The only time that it matters where you eat is if you are eating on the expense account of someone else for business purposes.
brokenm
I am just trying to find out if that is due to company policy or if it is written somewhere specifically. For instance, I know that in Germany that if you stay at a hotel that has a breakfast you must subtract 4.50 from the daily allowance or partial allowance.
MonksTown
if you don't eat during the day, does your company still allow you the per diem?
Yes.

if you go over to a friends house and you eat for free, do you still receive the per diem?
Yes.

if the client invites you out for dinner, do you still receive the per diem?
Yes. If it is a completely unrelated firm.
If it is a sister company inviting you then you don't get that % of the per diem that realtes to that meal.

For lunch that is something like 40%, likewise for an evening meal.
Breakfast is 20%, so stay in hotels where breakfast is not included.
Owain Glyndwr
The only time that it matters where you eat is if you are eating on the expense account of someone else for business purposes.
this is certainly true if you are within Germany and are invited to dinner on someone elses expenses. However, I am not sure how, if ever, the finance amt will ever put two and two together. They certainly can't ascertain whether you were entertained by a foreign company.
brokenm
Yes. If it is a completely unrelated firm.
If it is a sister company inviting you then you don't get that % of the per diem that realtes to that meal.
Well my situation is a bit mixed. I work for a company that is more a consultant oriented company. We are hired by outside companies. So if I am working for company A, doing consultancy for company B and while at a conference the manager from company B pays for my meal, then I can not claim back the per diem?
brokenm
this is certainly true if you are within Germany and are invited to dinner on someone elses expenses. However, I am not sure how, if ever, the finance amt will ever put two and two together. They certainly can't ascertain whether you were entertained by a foreign company.
This took place in London and in Athens.
HEM
if you don't eat during the day, does your company still allow you the per diem?
YES - you reduce weight & are Eur 24 (or whatever) richer.

if you go over to a friends house and you eat for free, do you still receive the per diem?
YES

if the client invites you out for dinner, do you still receive the per diem?
Put it this way - if you are invited out & someone from your company pays you have to reduce your daily rate by 40% of the full rate for each meal paid. So if you are travelling on business within Germany and your boss pays for dinner you have to take Eur 14.40 off your allowance. Your allowance cannot go negative so if you arrived during day and would have got 12 Euros and boss pays then your daily rate is ZERO for that day (not negative). Cheating here is dangerous as the boss (or whoever) has to state who is being entertained.
If client invites you out then its very unlikely that your company's finaciers will talk to the client's - but be careful if others from your company are present.

Information can be found in Steuertipps für Angestellte (not online but in many public libraries).
MonksTown
This topic is a minefield and there are 101 stories that could be used for an episode of a nightmare-comedy set in a Slough paper company...
MonksTown
Remember there are MUCH higher rates for trips outside of Germany which can make them (almost) financially lucrative
whereas trips wthin Germany are not prized in my experience because you can end up out of pocket.
HEM
For instance, I know that in Germany that if you stay at a hotel that has a breakfast you must subtract 4.50 from the daily allowance or partial allowance.
IMHO you must deduct 4.60 from the daily hotel bill (slight difference) when staying in Germany; 20% elsewhere.

Breakfast is 20%, so stay in hotels where breakfast is not included.
Show me somewhere where you can eat breakfast for 20% of the daily rate - at least in Germany

This took place in London and in Athens.
The rates for UK & Greece are different than for Germany (you quoted 24/12/6 Euros which is Germany rate).

I just checked our company's internal web:
UK: 42/28/14
London: 60/40/20 - for this you must be STAYING in London...
Athens: 36/24/12

This all assumes that you are working for a Germany-based company...
brokenm
Well to be more specific, I wrote my companies EU human resources head about this issue, she was in the same mind that I was, that I did not need to subtract the dinner if paid by the client. However, if this was included in the cost of the hotel, then I would have to as this is being double expensed. She wasn't certain concerning the question though and forwarded it on to our company's global HR department and they also thought that I could consider it a lucky bonus, but they were not certain and then they forwarded the question back to our local HR, whose opinion I doubted. She then said that I would have to subtract 40% from lunch and 40% from dinner. I would like nly to know if there is a link, or I will call my Lohnsteuerhilfe person tomorrow, if I can't find something specific and then write what I find out.
Owain Glyndwr
our company deducts from the daily allowance a certain amount depending on whether we had one of the following:

1) Breakfast in the hotel (our company insists on booking hotels with breakfast included)
2) meals paid for by an internal department or company
3) any meal eaten in an internal works canteen
4) any meal paid for by a business partner or supplier.

However, I have never known anyone declare meals paid for by third parties when not in Germany.
MonksTown
HEM, I was thinking of foreign travel to stay in hotels where it is not included.
I don't do breakfast as such so getting a sandwich from a shop and a coffee at the meeting is cheaper than giving up 20% of a foreign per diem.

Brokenm, the HR people locally know the rules as they apply to employees in Germany and they are what is basicly listed above by me and other posters.
brokenm
Monktstown, my HR person did not know that our company should deduct a set amount for breakfast from our per diem in Germany and not 20%, until another coworker complained a bit (for thirty cents). The problem know is that everyone in our company has different line managers and no one knows the "correct" rules and therefore processes their employee expenses differently. I would like to know the rules so that I can submit my expenses correctly.

ANd our company uses the standard per diem rates for Ausland trips as well, found here.
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