Especially with business trips there are expenses that the employee takes on in the current situation. However, he can later claim this in the form of an expense report. As a self-employed person, you can also settle expenses that you first paid privately. We have clearly put together for you how expense reports work and what you have to pay attention to.
What is an expense report?
Business trips always come at a cost. These include, among other things
- Transportation costs
- all catering on site
- Accommodation costs at the destination
- Participation in chargeable events, for example tickets for a trade fair
So that employees and self-employed entrepreneurs do not have to pay these costs privately from their salaries, there is an expense report, short for ER by abbreviationfinder. All costs of this kind are accounted for via this billing.
Create expense report
Why is an expense report important?
There are two important reasons for this on the part of the legislature:
- Without an expense report, the employer does not have to pay this.
- An incorrect expense report is a reason for termination without notice.
It is therefore important to prepare an expense report as a matter of principle. It is also necessary to process these very precisely. Details on the correct expense report can be specified in the respective collective agreement, in the works agreements and in the specific employment contract . So do some good research here before you create a statement.
Which travel expenses can be billed?
In general, you can settle all costs that arise in the course of the business trip and can be clearly assigned to the professional background. It is important that you collect all invoices for documentation purposes . These then form the basis for correct travel expense accounting .
Travel expense report – cost types
The typical costs of a business trip are travel costs, accommodation costs, meals and other costs. In the following, we will now go into more detail about the exact costs you can bill and how the billing can be done.
You can of course settle travel expenses. Unless you drive your company car , you will not incur any expenses.
In general, there are a few things to consider when it comes to travel costs. If you use a rental car or book a flight or train ticket , the costs are fully deductible. The relevant documents must of course be available. The trips to the respective travel destinations and trips home are taken into account here. However, your normal commute from your home to the office is not applicable.
It is a little more complicated when using a private vehicle for a business trip . There are various options for billing the costs:
- Settle actual costs with the logbook : You keep a precise logbook in which you precisely document all professional kilometers. You also need to record the costs involved.
- Vehicle-specific kilometer rate: In this case, you also have to keep a logbook. In this you document all trips in detail. With this approach, the actual, exact costs are billed, whereby the billing always takes place over a period of 12 months and precise evidence is required.
- Mileage flat rate : The kilometer flat rate is a very simple billing method. Here you can charge 30 cents per kilometer. Unless it is a ride on a moped or motorcycle. Then the rate is 20 cents per kilometer. If you cover the distance by bike, there is no reimbursement of costs.
So you can already see that billing involves different amounts of effort. Keeping a logbook takes time, but is manageable. The advantage is that the actual cost of your trips may be higher than the 30 cents per kilometer . In this case, you should think about a variant with a logbook. You can find free logbook templates to download online .
Exact, individual billing is clearly associated with most circumstances. Here you really have to document down to the last detail in order to determine what costs were incurred and when. It is therefore clear that if you simply want to settle your travel expenses, you choose the logbook or the mileage allowance.
In principle, you can deduct accommodation costs in apartments or hotels in full . You can therefore claim the actual amount of the costs. Caution is advised if breakfast is included in the room price. You have to consider these costs separately. If this is not clearly possible, you have to deduct a discount of 20% of the meal allowance from the total amount that includes breakfast . Abroad, the 20% refer to the meal allowance applicable there.
Additional meal expenses
A quick coffee in between, an expensive business dinner in the evening. Which food costs can be billed as expenses for a business trip?
The legislation provides for flat-rate meals for business trips. These meal allowances are staggered as follows:
- Travel up to 8 hours: 0 euros
- Absence from 8 to 24 hours: 12 euros
- Absence of 24 hours: 24 euros
This rate is increased when it comes to trips abroad . The tax office has its own overview table for travel expense reports , where you can look up the permitted expenses for each country. The billing for overnight stays and meals does not only depend on the duration of the trip, but also on the respective location.
There is a little specialty here. If you are not on the road for long, but overnight, you can still claim 12 euros . This is the case, for example, if the business trip doesn’t start until the evening and you end it the next day after a business breakfast. Alternatively, you can of course collect all the receipts again, document which receipt belongs to which business appointment and account for the expenses exactly.
Apart from accommodation costs and meals, various expenses arise in the course of the trip. Be it for internet or parking fees. With all these expenses, you have to collect receipts , keep receipts and document where, when and why the costs were incurred. Here you should always be as precise as possible so that your billing can withstand potential tests.
Expense report and tax return
The transfer of expenses by the employer is of course tax-free. After all, you paid the costs in advance with the income that was already taxed. Accordingly, however, it is also necessary to enclose the expense reports with the tax return in order to enable an audit.
As an alternative to the expense report described above , it is also possible to settle travel expenses directly via the tax return . In this case, the costs are recognized as income-related expenses . Here you can use the lump sums mentioned. Regardless of whether you state expenses as business expenses or prepare the statement for your company, always make sure that you work very precisely, correctly and without errors. Expense reports in particular are often and gladly checked.