The public transport ticket reimbursement and mobility budget benefits explained

Key points:

  • The main points.
    Employees can use their mobility budget to buy tickets for public transport. This works with NAVIT in three different ways.
    a. Book and pay with the NAVIT mobility budget card in the apps of the public transport companies.
    b. Book and pay for a job ticket in the NAVIT app.
    c. Buy the ticket at the counter or ticket machine and get reimbursed via the NAVIT app.
  • Which tickets are eligible for reimbursement?
    All tickets that can be allocated to public transport, i.e. tickets for public urban and regional transport, such as single tickets, day tickets, monthly tickets, job tickets, and subsidies for tickets (pro rata or in full), both for journeys to the office and for private journeys.

  • Reimbursement process with NAVIT.
    1. Buy a ticket from a ticket machine.
    2. Scan the ticket and upload it to the NAVIT app.
    3. Wait, NAVIT checks and approves the reimbursement.
    4. The reimbursement amount is deducted directly from the monthly balance.

  • Tax benefits.
    If you provide the benefit in addition to the agreed salary, the reimbursements can be made tax-free via payroll.

    Alternatively, you can grant the tickets and reimbursements instead of salary. This benefit is then subject to a 25% flat-rate payroll tax.

How can employees use the mobility budget for public transport journeys?

The mobility budget is most often used for the purchase of bus and train tickets.

Employees can use the NAVIT mobility budget to access tickets for all public transport companies and railways in Germany as well as worldwide and buy single tickets, short-distance tickets, and weekly or monthly tickets.

If you know exactly that you will be traveling regularly by bus and train over the next 12 months, you can also conveniently take out a monthly or annual subscription (e.g. job ticket) with the public transport company.

If employees receive a mobility budget as a travel allowance from their company, they have three options with NAVIT to book and pay for public transport tickets with their credit.

  1. NAVIT Mobility Budget Card. Book and pay with the NAVIT Mobility Budget Card in the apps of public transport companies.

  2. Apply for a Job ticket. Book and pay for a job ticket in the NAVIT app.

  3. Public transport reimbursement feature. Buy a ticket at the ticket office or ticket machine and get reimbursed via the NAVIT app.
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How do public transport refunds work with NAVIT?

NAVIT offers you and your employees the possibility to refund tickets that were not paid for digitally with the Mobility Budget Card but were purchased at the ticket counter or ticket vending machine.

The process for reimbursement is very simple and straightforward.

Employees can use all or part of the credit they set aside each month for public transport reimbursements. The budget can be individually divided in the NAVIT app between the NAVIT modules you offer.

The employees can upload their tickets for public transport on a monthly basis and claim the amount back up to their allocated budget. 

You as a company will receive the information your payroll department needs to reimburse your employees in your monthly mobility report.

Your employees buy the tickets, scan the ticket and upload it to the NAVIT app. Your employees use it to document their travel costs and you reimburse them via the mobility budget.

What are the tax benefits for the company?

The legislator has recognized the importance of environmentally friendly means of transport.

The travel costs of environmentally friendly means of transport, such as bus and rail, are subsidized by the state. Journeys by public transport are thus generally exempt from tax.

If you grant the mobility benefit as a travel allowance in addition to the agreed salary, the reimbursements can be made tax-free via payroll accounting. Alternatively, you can also grant the tickets and reimbursements instead of salary. This benefit is then settled with 25% flat-rate wage tax.

For companies, this is not only cheaper than a company car, but also encourages employees to travel to work in a more climate-friendly and healthier way. This pays off for companies in many ways. They can offer their employees additional benefits and promote sustainable mobility at the same time.

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How do employees track the cost of their public transport tickets in the NAVIT app?

Your employees buy the tickets at the counter or the ticket machine, scan the ticket and upload it to the NAVIT app.

NAVIT checks the provider of the ticket, the ticket price, as well as the date, time, and validity period of the ticket.

As far as the tickets can be assigned under public transport, the tickets are approved and saved by NAVIT.

Your employees use them to document their travel costs and you reimburse them directly via the mobility budget. Your employees can then view their new credit balance in the NAVIT app.

Read the tax details for payroll accounting here:

  1. Tax-free subsidies for public transport between home and work if job tickets are provided: § 3 No. 15 EStG (Income Tax Act)
  2. Flat-rate wage tax in special cases at 25% (without offsetting against the commuting allowance): § 40, paragraph 2, sentence 2, number 2 EStG
  3. BMF letter of 15 August 2019 on employer benefits for journeys on local and long-distance public transport

Information and content disclaimer

NAVIT hereby states that the information provided about benefits on our website is only for informational purposes only and does not represent any tax or legal advice.

The content is not intended to replace any individual, binding tax and legal advice that addresses your specific tax  or legal situation. We, therefore, declare that information provided is without guarantee of correctness and completeness. 

We continue to provide updated information and research insights. We as a provider of this information cannot assume any liability for the accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of the information provided.

In particular, the information is of a general nature and does not constitute tax or legal advice in individual cases. For questions about taxes and legal topics, please consult a certified tax advisor or lawyer.

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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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