Everything About Fuel Vouchers: How Do They Work and Which Alternatives Are More Beneficial for Employers?

Fuel vouchers have long been a popular employee benefit or gift voucher in many companies. Particularly in non-urban areas where many employees commute by car, fuel vouchers provide significant tax-free benefits. However, traditional fuel vouchers are often limited to specific providers. Nowadays, digital solutions offer better benefits for both companies and employees.

How Exactly Do Fuel Vouchers Work and What Alternatives Do Companies Have to Offer Better Benefits to Their Employees?

What Are Fuel Vouchers and How Do They Work?

Fuel vouchers offer companies a practical way to provide tax-free benefits to their employees. These vouchers allow employees to pay for fuel conveniently and without additional costs at gas stations. For employers, this not only means happier employees but also a tax advantage. Fuel vouchers are tax-free up to an amount of 50 euros per month and do not have to be declared as taxable income. However, caution is needed: If the total value of all non-cash benefits exceeds the tax-free limit, the excess amount becomes taxable and subject to a flat rate tax. Fuel vouchers are typically provided to employees either in paper form or as digital vouchers.

Advantages of Fuel Vouchers for Employers and Employees

Fuel vouchers offer various benefits for both employers and employees. For companies, they are an attractive way to provide tax-free benefits to their employees. By offering fuel vouchers as non-cash benefits, employees can reduce their fuel costs while perceiving the company as generous and caring. This enhances employee satisfaction and strengthens their loyalty to the company. From the employees' perspective, fuel vouchers are highly advantageous as they remain tax-free up to a limit of 50 euros per month.

However, traditional fuel vouchers come with a significant administrative burden. Employers need to distribute the vouchers manually each month and purchase them from the respective gas stations. Additionally, fuel vouchers are usually limited to one provider and are issued only by them. Therefore, traditional fuel vouchers are particularly suitable for small businesses.

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How Much Can a Fuel Voucher for Employees Be Worth?

In principle, employers can give their employees fuel vouchers of any value. However, to take advantage of tax benefits, employers should observe certain tax-free limits.

  • As a Non-Cash Benefit of 50 Euros: If employers issue fuel vouchers monthly as a non-cash benefit, the tax-free limit of 50 euros per month per employee should not be exceeded.
  • As a Gift: Employers can give their employees gifts up to three times a year, worth up to 60 euros on personal occasions such as birthdays or anniversaries, tax-free.
  • As a Non-Cash Benefit Under Section 37b of the German Income Tax Act (EStG): If the value of the fuel voucher exceeds the tax-free limits of 50 euros or 60 euros, employers can treat the voucher as a non-cash benefit under Section 37b EStG. The voucher can then be taxed at a flat rate, but must remain under the annual tax-free limit of 10,000 euros.

Where Can Employers Get Fuel Vouchers for Employees?

Employers can purchase fuel vouchers directly from gas stations or fuel card providers and then distribute them to employees as vouchers or gifts. It is important to note that not all gas stations or fuel card providers offer special deals for companies and their employees, so it is advisable to contact potential providers directly to obtain information about their corporate customer options. Ultimately, it is up to the company how and where they source fuel vouchers for their employees.

At Which Gas Stations Are Fuel Vouchers Available?

Fuel vouchers are generally available at many gas stations. Major gas station chains such as Aral, Shell, Esso, and Total often offer fuel vouchers. Employers can purchase these either directly at the gas station or online from their respective websites. Additionally, supermarkets and discount stores also offer fuel vouchers as part of their customer loyalty programs. It is therefore worthwhile to regularly look out for special promotions and offers to get affordable fuel vouchers.

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Alternative Options for Employers: Digital Fuel Cards Instead of Fuel Vouchers

Instead of paper fuel vouchers, companies can also opt for digital fuel cards to provide their employees with tax-free fuel benefits up to 50 euros. Fuel cards from employers are the most flexible and modern way to offer a fuel benefit. Some benefit providers, such as NAVIT, offer digital fuel cards for employees, which can also be used as hybrid cards for charging electric cars. The major advantage of digital fuel cards is that they are not limited to a single gas station operator but include multiple providers, giving access to an entire network of gas stations.

Digital fuel cards can be used both via an app and through an analog prepaid card. This provides employees with maximum flexibility and reduces administrative burden for companies, as the benefit providers manage most of the administrative tasks related to the tax-free vouchers. Furthermore, these providers ensure tax-compliant billing.

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Stefan Wendering
Stefan is a freelance author and editor at NAVIT. Previously, he worked for startups and in the mobility sphere. He is an expert in urban and sustainable mobility, employee benefits, and New Work. In addition to creating blog content, he also produces marketing materials, taglines, and website content, as well as case studies.
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