Mobility budget: tax models, means of transport & recommendations Germany


  1. Key Takeaways
  2. What is the mobility budget?
  3. Taxation of the mobility budget 
  • The implementation variants at a glance
  • Non-cash benefit: 50 euros tax-free
  • Reimbursement principle
  • Tax treatment of means of transport
  • 50 Euro benefit in kind + public transport allowance (reimbursement)
  1. Calculation of taxes on the mobility budget
  2. Advantages of taxing the mobility budget
  3. Tips for optimising the taxation of the mobility budget 
  • Frequently asked questions 
  • What are the advantages of the mobility budget for employers and employees?
  • Which providers offer mobility budget solutions?
  • How can the mobility budget be integrated into internal systems?
  • Is there an app for managing the mobility budget?
  • What is NAVIT and how can it help with the implementation of the mobility budget?
  1. Legal basis
  2. More sources

Key Takeaways

  • There is no uniform tax framework for the mobility budget. The tax treatment depends on how and for what it is used.
  • There are different ways to implement the mobility budget. Either via the 50 euro benefit in kind or via the reimbursement principle. The tax regulations depend on the implementation.
  • Employers and employees should consider tips on how to optimise the taxation of the mobility budget to get the most out of these regulations.

What is the mobility budget?

The mobility budget is a monthly financial allowance that employers set and pay out for the mobility of their employees.

The employer can define a range of mobility offers within which the employees can combine their mobility as they wish and design it flexibly. In this way, a mobility budget can be ideally aligned with the individual needs of the employees.

The mobility budget covers all types of transport, including public transport, car sharing, bicycles, taxis and many more, as well as mobility services such as the Deutschlandticket, bike leasing or fuel & charging cards. Employees are free to choose which mobility service they want to use as long as it stays within the budget.

This article deals with the fiscal provisions concerning the mobility budget. You can find out how the mobility budget works and how it can be structured in this detailed explanation of the mobility budget.

The mobility budget concept is an alternative to the traditional company car model. It offers employees more flexibility and freedom in choosing their means of transport while promoting sustainability and climate protection.

Typically, the mobility budget is offered by
companies as part of their range of employee benefits. It can also be used as part of a broader programme to promote sustainability and climate protection.

In principle, these mobility offers can be used with the mobility budget:

  • Public transport
  • Long-distance public transport (long-distance train and bus)
  • Germany ticket
  • Job ticket
  • Rental bikes
  • E-Scooter
  • Car sharing
  • Service bike
  • Bicycle subscription
  • Car subscription
  • Taxi
  • Ride-Hailing
  • Fuelling & Charging

Taxation of the mobility budget

There is no uniform tax regulation for the mobility budget as a form of employee mobility. It can be treated in different ways for tax purposes. On the one hand, the regulations for taxation of employee mobility depend on the purpose of travel (work or private) and the choice of means of transport (e.g. public transport or company car). 

The legislator wants to ensure that part of the social, health and environmental responsibility is transferred to the employers. If an employer fulfils this responsibility, he and his employees should benefit - through savings in non-wage labour costs or taxes. 

For example, sustainable mobility with public transport is tax-free, while company cars with combustion engines are taxed at a higher rate.

Whether and how employees have to pay tax on the mobility budget also depends on how it is handled and settled. In principle, it is worthwhile for employees and employers if they grant the mobility budget in addition to the salary.

A mobility budget in the form of a salary conversion is possible, but not recommended due to the tax burden.

In general, the offer of a mobility budget results in a non-cash benefit. This is subject to tax and social security contributions. However, there are three different solutions to implement a mobility budget, in which employees can receive the mobility budget tax-free.

The implementation variants at a glance

More than 50 euros in non-cash benefits:

  1. As monthly credit via a prepaid card that can be used to pay for mobility services.
  2. As a monthly credit that can be used for integrated mobility services in a mobility budget app.

Reimbursement principle:

  1. As a reimbursement with the salary statement after the mobility services receipts have been submitted. The reimbursement principle counts as a cash benefit, via the public transport subsidy this tax-free. 

Non-cash benefit: 50 euros tax-free

The mobility budget can be treated as a benefit in kind or a cash wage. As a benefit in kind, it is tax-free as long as the value of the benefit does not exceed 50 euros per month. If the value of the benefit in kind exceeds this amount, the entire amount must be taxed as a cash wage at a flat rate.

What is the benefit in kind?

  • A payment in kind or benefit in kind paid in the form of an employee benefit in addition to salary.
  • Various services and products can be offered to employees as a benefit in kind. These include mobility budgets, memberships for gyms or sports clubs, and day-care vouchers.

How does the benefit in kind work?

With the 50 euro benefit in kind, companies can support their employees with a monthly and tax-free salary extra. As a rule, vouchers or prepaid cards from various providers and offers are issued to employees.

For example, virtual prepaid cards are used for the mobility budget, which are provided to employees via the mobility budget app. The prepaid cards are loaded with the agreed credit, which employees can freely use for their mobility by paying the available mobility providers.

What do I have to bear in mind with regard to remuneration in kind?

  • The benefit in kind is paid in addition to the salary. A salary conversion is therefore not possible.
  • The benefit may also not be paid out in cash or reimbursed retrospectively.
  • Up to a value of exactly (!) 50 euros, the benefit in kind is tax-free. If the amount of the benefit exceeds this value, the entire amount becomes taxable.
  • In this case, employers can apply § 37b EStG: Since company benefits in kind are not in the form of money and do not exceed the limit of 10,000 euros per financial year, they can generally be taxed at a flat rate of 30%.
  • The benefit in kind is always shown in the salary statement, regardless of the amount of the benefit in kind.

In principle, a "tax on benefits in kind" means a significantly lower overall taxation for companies. Employees also save wage tax and social security contributions by claiming a benefit in kind compared to a salary payment.

Reimbursement principle

This is how the mobility budget works according to the reimbursement principle:

  1. The employer determines the amount of the mobility budget.
  2. The company can decide whether to offer the mobility budget completely tax-free or flexibly for all means of transport.
  3. The employees submit their receipts for the mobility used digitally via app. The mobility budget provider checks the submitted tickets and receipts and also takes care of tax optimisation for the employer.
  4. Expenses for mobility use are reimbursed directly to employees via the following payroll.
  5. The employer can also determine whether residual budget can be used in the following month or is forfeited.

Tax treatment of means of transport

The tax treatment of the mobility budget also depends on the type of transport used and charged with it. The mobility offers can be divided into three categories:

  2. Long-distance traffic
  3. Individual transport.

Journeys on local public transport are tax-free. It does not matter whether employees use it for their commute to work or in their free time. In the case of long-distance trains and buses, only the journey to work is tax-free. Means of individual transport - e.g. company cars, but also car sharing, for example - are taxed at a higher rate.

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1. public transport

As a rule, the use of public transport is tax-free. In addition to the purchase of simple tickets for public transport, the mobility budget can also be used to purchase job tickets or the Deutschlandticket as a job ticket.

Local public transport (ÖPNV) 

All journeys made by employees on public transport are tax-free. This applies to both commuting and private journeys. The tax exemption also applies to temporary workers and employees without an active employment relationship.

The employer can account for public transport tickets as a benefit in kind or as a cash benefit. In principle, the employer does not have to pay taxes and social security contributions unless he opts for a flat-rate taxation of the public transport tickets at 25% (plus 5.5% solidarity tax and church tax, if applicable). 

In the case of flat-rate taxation, the public transport ticket does not reduce the employee's commuting allowance. These regulations also apply to the Deutschlandticket. However, if public transport tickets are not granted as a salary supplement but as a deferred payment, they are generally taxable.

Long-distance public transport 

Long-distance public passenger transport includes long-distance trains (ICE, IC, EC, TGV) and long-distance buses (e.g. Flixbus). In contrast to public transport, long-distance public transport journeys are only tax-exempt if they relate to the journey to work. In addition, employees must have an active employment relationship. 

For the employer, there is the possibility of accounting for long-distance public transport as well as public transport as a benefit in kind or as a cash wage via the public transport allowance.

Public transport tickets as a salary supplement or salary conversion?

  • As a supplement to salary: If employers grant public transport tickets in addition to salary, they are exempt from social security and income tax. However, the tickets granted in this way reduce the commuting allowance, which can be offset against income tax. Employers can counteract this by taxing the tickets at a flat rate of 25%.
  • As salary conversion: If employers grant the public transport allowance as salary conversion, it is generally taxable. Employers can then tax the ticket either at a flat rate of 15% with credit against the commuting allowance or at 25% without reducing the commuting allowance.

Public transport subsidy

The following public transport can be used tax-free with the public transport allowance:

  • Public transport for private and professional journeys: bus, tram, underground, suburban railway, local train
  • Long-distance public transport for business trips: long-distance train or long-distance bus

Deutschlandticket as a job ticket

If the employer subsidises the Deutschlandticket by at least 25%, the federal and state governments, or the transport associations, give another 5% discount on top. This means that employees save 30% of the costs and pay a maximum of 34.30 euros per month. In return, they can use local and regional public transport throughout Germany.

Employers can deduct the costs they incur for their employees from their taxes as business expenses (§4 Abs. 4, EstG). This also includes the provision of a job ticket or company ticket.

Employees benefit from the cheaper Deutschlandticket and, on balance, companies do not have to invest much at all. Employers who either subsidise the 49-euro ticket for employees or bear the costs completely can deduct these expenses from their taxes as "expenses for the employee".

The Deutschlandticket as a job ticket is not counted towards the tax exemption limit of 50 euros for benefits in kind. Employers can therefore grant their employees the 49-euro ticket in addition to the 50-euro benefit in kind.

2. service bike

Bicycles can also be financed via the mobility budget. Here, too, there are different regulations for the taxation of e-bikes and company bicycles that are provided via a lease.

Either the employer provides the bicycle and the employee can also use
it privately, or the employer gives the employee a subsidy to purchase the bicycle. In the first case, the non-cash benefit is treated as remuneration in kind; in the second case, it is treated as cash remuneration and must be taxed.

Comparable to a company car, the employer can also provide its employees with a company bicycle within the framework of a bicycle lease.

In contrast to a company car, companies can provide the bicycle tax-free, provided this is in addition to the salary. Since the legislator does not consider the commute to work as a pecuniary benefit, employees can still claim the commuting allowance. For commuting by bicycle, this is 30 cents per kilometre. Employees can also use the company bicycle for private purposes.

If employers give the company bicycle to employees in addition to their salary and free of charge or at a reduced price, 25% flat-rate wage tax and any additional taxes (solidarity surcharge, church tax) are due.

Many employers also give their employees company bicycles as part of a salary conversion scheme. If the employees use the bicycle privately, they must pay tax on the non-cash benefit at 0.25%.

These tax benefits require that the leased e-bikes are not motor vehicles, i.e. the bikes must not contain an electric drive that allows them to travel faster than 25 km/h, and they must be classified as a bicycle under traffic law.

However, all variants of the e-bike (even with classification as a motor vehicle) can be charged tax-free at the employer's premises.

3. sharing offers and leasing

The tax regulations for sharing offers - such as car sharing - depend largely on who concludes the leasing contract. If employees rent sharing services such as car sharing themselves, it is not the use of a company vehicle.

With a mobility budget via a credit card, employees can use these sharing offers tax-free up to an amount of currently 50€ per month.

If the mobility budget is issued according to the reimbursement principle, the employees pay in advance and receive the costs as taxable cash wages. If the employer pays wage tax and social security contributions, it is a non-cash benefit. 

If the employer concludes the leasing contract and also provides the leased vehicle to employees for private purposes, the non-cash benefit is taxable according to the gross list prices, whereby social security contributions are also due.

The gross list prices depend on the purpose of use (commuting or private journeys). Further special regulations arise if the vehicle is only occasionally provided. As a rule, a leasing contract via employees is more recommendable from an administrative point of view.

Similar provisions also apply to low-emission sharing services such as e-scooters and e-scooters. They are generally not tax-privileged.

In principle, all means of transport that are not included in public transport must be taxed:

  • Car sharing
  • E-bikes
  • E-Scooter
  • Taxi
  • Uber
  • Ride-Hailing
  • Rental car

50 Euro benefit in kind + public transport allowance (reimbursement)

The public transport allowance via the reimbursement can be combined with the 50 Euro benefit in kind. Thus, mobility budget - for public transport - can be granted and paid out in addition to the mobility budget already granted via the 50 Euro benefit in kind.

Calculation of taxes on the mobility budget

In order to calculate the tax on the mobility budget, various factors must be taken into account. Below are two examples to illustrate the calculation:

Example 1 - Mobility budget and tax-free public transport use

Mobility budget


Total spent by employee:in


Use of public transport (tax-free)


Taxed sum (according to §37b)


Example 2 - Mobility budget compared to a salary increase

Salary increase (gross)

Mobility budget (50-euro allowance in kind)

Employer wage costs



Gross salary



Wage tax (here 25%)



Social security employee contribution (approx. 20%)



Social security Employer's contribution (approx. 20 %)



Employee benefit (net)



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Tips for optimising the taxation of the mobility budget

Taxing the mobility budget can be a challenge for employers and employees. However, there are some tips that can help optimise taxation.

Tip 1: Make clear agreements

Before a mobility budget is introduced, clear agreements should be reached between employer and employees. In particular, the tax implications of the mobility budget should be considered. It is advisable for the company to consult a tax advisor to clarify the tax aspects of the mobility budget.

Choosing the right tax model for introducing a mobility budget also requires close cooperation between the finance department and the HR department, which is responsible for employee benefits such as the mobility budget.

Through clear communication, emphasis on benefits and transparent decision-making, the company can take advantage of the tax benefits that successfully support both the company's goals and the individual needs of its employees.

Tip 2: Collect and keep receipts

To optimise the taxation of the mobility budget, it is important to collect and keep all receipts for the use of mobility means. Here, a digital mobility budget platform can help to manage the employees as well as the budget and thus keep track of them.

Tip 3: Use tax optimisation

There are already mobility budget providers that completely take over the voucher checking and intelligent tax optimisation. Here, the receipts are automatically checked and the tax treatment of the mobility budget is optimised. Employers should inform themselves about such offers and use them if necessary to optimise the taxation of the mobility budget.

Tip 4: Use alternative mobility options

‍In order to reduce the tax burden on the mobility budget, alternative mobility offers such as company bicycle leasing or public transport can be used. These are usually tax-privileged and can thus reduce the tax burden on the mobility budget.

Tip 5: Regular review

It is advisable that employers inform themselves about the current tax regulations and seek advice from a tax office, for example, to ensure that the tax requirements are met. Mobility is a topical issue; the legislator can make adjustments at any time.

Tip 6: Mobility budget pays off more than a classic salary increase

It is best for employers to offer the mobility budget as an employee benefit in addition to salary.

Traditional salary adjustments lead to tax and social security contributions. By using tax-free benefits as a salary extra, the effectiveness of the measure can be significantly increased, which in the end leaves more net for the employee and at the same time results in lower costs for companies. This is made possible by the Non-cash benefitwhich allows companies to give their employees benefits in kind up to an amount of 50 euros tax-free.

Not least for this reason, the mobility budget is an ideal measure for employee retention and recruitment.

Frequently asked questions

What are the advantages of the mobility budget for employers and employees?

The mobility budget offers numerous advantages for both employers and employees. Employers can use it to support their employees in choosing environmentally friendly means of transport such as cycling, public transport or car sharing.

At the same time, they can save costs by foregoing the use of company cars. Employees can benefit from a flexible and individual mobility solution and have the opportunity to make their mobility more sustainable.

Which providers offer mobility budget solutions?

There are various providers that offer mobility budget solutions. These include, for example, MOBIKO, DB Bonvoyo, belmoto and NAVIT. The handling and scope of the mobility services differs from provider to provider, so it is important, to compare the different offers and find the right one for your own company.

How can the mobility budget be integrated into internal systems?

The mobility budget can be easily integrated into internal HR and payroll tools. tools. To do this, the appropriate settings must first be made in the NAVIT platform. This way, HR can manage the mobility budget via the NAVIT dashboard and settle the mobility costs of their employees in a simple and straightforward manner.

Is there an app for managing the mobility budget?

Yes, there is an app that employees can use to manage their mobility budget. In the NAVIT app employees can allocate their mobility budget to the various mobility options, use mobility offers such as the the Germany ticket or bike leasing as well as view their remaining credit and the journeys they have made.

What is NAVIT and how can it help with the implementation of the mobility budget?

NAVIT is a platform that supports companies in implementing the mobility budget. NAVIT offers a comprehensive solution that enables companies to manage the mobility budget in a simple and straightforward way. This includes, among other things, managing the budget, booking tickets and settling costs. If you would like to learn how NAVIT can improve your company's employee mobility, please arrange a personal meeting now with the NAVIT mobility experts.

Legal basis

More sources

JobRad (n.d.). Overview: How the taxation of company bikes works (accessed 19.09.2023).

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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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