Please be aware that this resource is informational only, and many external factors, unique to your company might apply.
Each company must make their own decisions about how they meet their tax obligations.


Employees in Germany are entitled to per diems as compensation for the increased costs of meals and lodging when on a business trip. Per diems are not considered part of an employee’s pay and are thus tax-free up to a certain allowed amount.

Domestic business trips – per diem rates (2022)

For domestic business trips, the per diem rates are based on the duration of the business trip. The duration of the business trip is equal to the length of absence. It is irrelevant whether the employee starts the business trip from his home, the first place of work or another place of work.

One-day business trip

For business trips that last less than 8 hours, there is no daily allowance covering the expenses of meals. For business trips with a duration between 8 and 24 hours, the reduced meal allowance rate applies.

Rate category Rate
Business trip under 8 hours / (no allowance)
Business trip between 8 and 24 hours €14 per day

 

Multi-day business trip with overnight stay (longer than 24 hours)

For business trips that last longer than 24 hours, the standard meal allowance rate applies for a full day and a reduced meal allowance applies for the day of arrival and departure. The duration of absence of the day of arrival and departure is irrelevant. For multi-day business trip, there is an allowance for overnight stay as well, covering the accommodation expenses. However, in reality the accommodation will often be provided and full covered by the employer. In that case the lump sum for overnight stay cannot be claimed.

Duration Rate (applicable since 2020)
Full day €28 per day
Day of arrival/departure €14 per day
Overnight stay €20

 

Example: Rika goes to a business conference in Düsseldorf. She arrives on Monday Oct. 10th at 6 pm and departs again on Thursday Oct. 13th at 5 pm. Her accommodation and meals are not covered by her employer. Therefore she receives the following allowances (total of €144):

  • Monday (arrival day): €14
  • Tuesday (full day): €28
  • Wednesday (full day): €28
  • Thursday (departure day): €14
  • 3 overnight stays: €60 (= €20 x 3)

Business trips abroad - per diem rates (2022)

When employees embark on an international trip, different rules apply. The per diem allowance varies per destination country.

There are three different rates per destination:

  • The rate for 24-hour absence from home and primary workplace (“Verpflegungsmehraufwand“)
  • The rate for the day of arrival or departure and in case of an absence that lasts for more than 8 hours per calendar day
  • The rate for the cost of an overnight stay (“Übernachtungspauschale“).

      The rates are defined in a regulation based on the German Income Tax Act (EStG).

      For example, this is what a German employee traveling to London can claim:

      • €62 per full 24 hours
      • €41 for the day of arrival and departure
      • €224 per overnight stay

          Deductions

          If the employee gets a meal for free (for example, if a free breakfast is supplied by the hotel), this needs to be deducted from the per diem allowance.

          For 2022:

          • If breakfast is provided, 20% of the per diem needs to be deducted.
          • If lunch is provided, 40% of the per diem needs to be deducted.
          • If dinner is provided, 40% of the per diem needs to be deducted.

              Additional notes on the per diem allowances

              • If the employee goes on multiple business trips during the same calendar day, all hours can be added together;
                • Example: Mark goes on a business trip, starting at 8.30 am and ending at 2.30 pm. Later that day Mark goes on a second business trip, starting at 3.15 pm and ending at 7.15 pm. The duration of the first business trip was 6 hours and for the second business trip 4 hours. Neither of the two business trips would separately qualify for a per diem allowance, however combined (10 hours) an allowance of 14 euros applies.
              • If the employee has a domestic business trip and a business trip abroad on the same day, the employee should get a per diem abroad rate for the entire duration of both business trips, even if the business trip abroad does not last more than 8 hours;
              • When a business trip begins after 4 pm and ends before 8 am the next day (without an overnight stay), the total time can be attributed to one entire calendar day;
                • Example: Erika starts her business trip at 5 pm on Oct. 1st and ends at 1.30 am on Oct. 2nd. The duration of the business trip in total is 8,5 hours, which means a daily allowance of 14 euros applies.
              • Employers can only offer tax-free reimbursement to employees for three months of continuous business travel. This period can be restarted after a four-week break. This is known as the three-month rule. You can find more information on the German three-month rule and how Rydoo can help you be compliant in our help center article;
              • Professional drivers can claim a per diem of 8 euros for every night they spend sleeping in their vehicles on a multi-day trip in Germany;
              • All expense invoices should be addressed to the company’s corporate address. If invoices are over 150 euros they’re required to note the employer’s name, address and VAT amount;
              • All original expense documents, like receipts and invoices, need to be physically or digitally backed up in the EU.

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