In Denmark, employers can pay their employees per diems (i.e. daily allowances) as compensation for expenses incurred while they are on a business trip.
Per diems are not considered part of an employee’s pay and are thus tax-free if:
- Overnight: The employee spends the night away from home;
- At least 24 hours: The employee must be away for at least 24 hours;
- Distance: The employee is not able to travel between the normal place of residence and the temporary workplace which makes it possible for the employee to spend the night at home;
- Business trip: It should be a business trip. This includes situations where the employee is: a) required to be on call and therefore has to stay at or in the vicinity of the temporary place of work during the on-call duty period; b) required to remain at a specific location in the evening because the extracurricular activities taking place in the evening serve a work-related team-building purpose; c) working long or variable hours so that there is a short period between the end of a working day and the start of the next;
- Up to a maximum amount: The allowance is only tax-free up to a maximum amount, which is explained below.
Reimbursements or daily allowances that do not fulfil the requirements are considered taxable income, as well as the amount that exceeds the maximum amount of daily allowances set out above.
Maximum daily allowances
Domestic business trips
These are the maximum tax-free allowances per day for domestic travel:
|Accommodation||DKK 238||DKK 231|
|Food and petty acquisitions||DKK 555||DKK 539|
|Food for tourist drivers when driving in Denmark||DKK 75||DKK 75|
|Food for tourist drivers when driving outside Denmark||DKK 150||DKK 150|
You can find them on the Danish Customs and Tax Administration‘s website.
International business trips
In principle, the maximum tax-free daily allowances for international business trips are the same as for domestic business trips. However, some countries have other rates for the food and petty acquisitions allowance, which you can find at the end of this article.
If you, as an employee, work abroad, your annual deduction for travel expenses including other possible deductions relating to your non-Danish salary may not exceed your non-Danish salary which is taxable in Denmark or exceed DKK 29,600 in 2022 (DKK 30,500 in 2023).
Food and petty acquisitions allowance
The food allowance is paid on a per-day basis. This means that the tax-free food allowance is triggered when the employee has been travelling for 24 hours. Therefore, allowances are payable for each hour of travel.
Example: If, for example, you have travelled for 20 hours, you can’t obtain a tax-free allowance. If, on the other hand, you have travelled for 40 hours, you can get the daily rate plus 16/24 of the daily rate.
If the employer provides the employee’s meals during the business trip or the employee gets meals for free (e.g. included in the hotel), the tax-free allowance should be reduced. Deductions are made according to the following table:
For tourist drivers, rates should not be reduced by the value of free meals while traveling, as in Denmark, tourist drivers get a maximum allowance of DKK 75, and outside Denmark, DKK 150.
The employee can only get a tax-free allowance for food and petty acquisitions at the standard rate during the first 12 months in which the employee is working at a temporary workplace. Holidays, days off, business trips or sick days do not count towards these 12 months.
Switch of workplace
A new 12-month period, therefore, begins if an employee switches to a new temporary workplace, which is located at least 8 km from the former workplace via normal transport routes even though he or she keeps working for the same employer on the same work project.
The 12-month limitations do not apply when the temporary workplaces are moved in line with the performance/completion of the work, such as with motorway, bridge and railway projects. The 12-month limitation also does not apply if the temporary workplace is constantly moving, e.g. in connection with working on board ships. In these cases, the employee can get tax-free per diems after the first 12 months.
Return to previous workplace
If the employee returns to a previous workplace where he or she has worked temporarily, a new 12-month period will start if the employee has worked for a period of at least 40 consecutive working days at the other workplace.
This means that the employee must have worked for a minimum of 40 consecutive working days at the second workplace. Holidays, days off, business trips or sick days are not included in the 40 working days.
The maximum tax-free daily allowance for accommodation is DKK 238 for 2023 (2022: DKK 231).
No accommodation allowance is provided to the following individuals:
- Individuals that receive B-income. B-income is income on which tax and labour market contributions (AM-bidrag) have not been withheld by your employer, for example, if you work freelance or have been paid a fee for giving a concert or a lecture;
- Individuals who transport goods or people;
- Individuals that work on board ships, fishing vessels, aircraft and facilities that are used for the exploration and exploitation of natural resources.
International business trips: list of rates (2023)
|Per diem rate (in DKK)|
You can find the previous rates for 2022 here.