Employers want to offer modern benefits for their employees in order to keep them in the company. For recruiters, modern benefits are a strong argument to attract employees. Especially in difficult economic times, employees want their employers to provide better financial support, especially for commuting to work and daily mobility.
In this context, companies have several options for an employer mobility allowance, which ideally does not incur any costs for wage tax and social security contributions. In addition to the classic company car, these include a company bicycle, a job ticket or a tax-free travel allowance. However, many employees now want more flexibility with regard to company mobility, and a single means of transport rarely covers the entire mobility needs of employees. The key question is: Can employers offer these benefits at the same time, and if so, which ones?
The most important facts about the mobility allowances from the employer:
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Since 2019, job tickets can be given to employees tax-free and thus make company mobility more climate-friendly. Since then, employees no longer have to pay a monetary benefit. This also means that employers can give out additional financial subsidies to employees under the 50-euro exemption limit.
These travel allowances from the employer for the tickets purchased by the employee are just as tax-free as completely free or reduced-price public transport tickets for the way to work. Since these are usually monthly or annual tickets, employees can also use them for private purposes.
In order for the travel allowance to be tax-free, the allowance must be granted in addition to the salary owed and not in the form of a salary conversion. One disadvantage of the travel allowance: employees must include the job ticket in their income-related expenses, so the employer's tax-free allowance reduces the commuting allowance. Alternatively, employers can provide their employees with a job ticket and pay a flat rate of 25% wage tax on it. In this case, the employees can claim the commuting allowance as income-related expenses.
Since May 2023, employers can also subsidise the Deutschlandticket or 49-Euro-Ticket tax-free or even pay for it completely. Companies have two options for the tax-free Deutschlandticket as a job ticket:
The second option applies in addition to benefits in kind already granted. This means that, for example, a benefit in kind in the form of a mobility budget can be combined with the Deutschlandticket Jobticket and thus spent at the same time, so that a total of almost 100 euros in tax-free benefits can be offered to employees.
Company bike by salary conversion
Company bicycles are usually provided by the employer in the form of a salary conversion. This means that employees waive part of their gross salary and receive the company bicycle in return. In this way, part of the salary is converted into a benefit in kind. First, the leasing rate reduces the gross salary, which reduces the tax burden. Then one per cent of the gross list price of the bicycle is added back to the salary. The non-cash benefit does not apply in the case of salary conversion.
Company bike as a salary extra
The second option for employers to offer their employees a job bike or e-bike for unrestricted professional and private use is to provide a bicycle in addition to the salary owed anyway, for example instead of a salary increase. If the salary remains the same and the company bike is provided in addition, the company bike is tax-free, i.e. neither taxes nor social security contributions are due for the employee. Employers can also claim the entire cost as a business expense.
The use of a company bike has no influence on the commuting allowance. Even with a company bike, employees can claim 30 cents per distance kilometre for commuting by bike for each working day and 38 cents from the 21st kilometre onwards in their tax return. Accordingly, it is also possible to use a company bike and a company car at the same time.
A car that employers leave to their employees without exception for business purposes remains tax- and social security-free. However, if employers allow their employees to drive the car privately, the taxation changes. Employees are then obliged to either pay tax on the private use as a non-cash benefit or the taxable and contributory benefit at 1% of the gross list price or to determine the non-cash benefit with a driver's logbook. If the employees also use the vehicle for commuting to work, an additional 0.03% of the gross list price is charged for each kilometre of distance.
An exception applies to electric cars: here employees only have to pay tax on a quarter of the gross list price at 1 or 0.03% per month as a non-cash benefit.
Leased vehicles as company cars
In principle, the same tax rules apply to leased vehicles as to a company car purchased by the company. In order to apply the 1 per cent rule, in particular also the 0.03 per cent rule, the gross list price at the time of the first registration of the leased vehicle must be determined. For the logbook method, the monthly leasing instalments take the place of depreciation.
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Employers can offer these modern benefits for company mobility to their employees at the same time:
Employers can offer their employees a Germany Ticket as a job ticket and a mobility budget tax-free at the same time. In doing so, companies combine the tax-free 50-euro payment in kind for a mobility budget with the possibility of offering the 49-euro ticket as a tax-free allowance in addition to salary.
As an alternative to a pure company bicycle, employers can also offer a mobility budget. This gives employees flexible freedom of choice and allows them to decide individually on a mobility mix of company bike, job ticket and budget for car sharing and ride-hailing.
Ride your company bike to the station to take the train to the office. This is possible for employees. Employers can support their employees in this by handing over the Deutschlandticket to employees either through the 50-euro benefit in kind or through a reimbursement via payroll deduction and at the same time offer them a company bike lease via salary conversion.
Employers can transfer both company cars and job bikes to employees via salary conversion, provided that the vehicle belongs to the employer and the employer also allows the employee to use it for private purposes. As a rule, a partial or complete assumption of the leasing instalments by the employee is agreed. Due to the effective 1 per cent rule or the driver's logbook, both tax and social security benefits then arise in most cases.
The use of a company bike has no influence on the commuting allowance. Even with a company bike, employees can deduct 30 cents per distance kilometre for each working day and 38 cents from the 21st kilometre onwards for commuting by bike in their tax return. Accordingly, it is also possible to use a company bike and a company car at the same time.
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