Business trips are part of the daily business for more and more employees. The employee does not have to bear the costs of hotel accommodation himself but can settle them via the overnight accommodation allowance.
What are additional per diems for overnight accomodations?
The additional per diems for overnight accommodations may be paid by employers to reimburse employees for accommodation costs incurred on business trips. It does not matter whether the employee stays in a hotel or private accommodation. However, if the employee is not in a hotel but on the go during the night, for example, traveling in an airplane or train, no lump sum for an overnight stay can be applied.
Whether the employer pays an overnight accommodation allowance at all or whether he or she will bear the actual costs incurred will be agreed with the employee in advance. Usually, internal guidelines exist. However, companies are not obliged to reimburse expenses for overnight accommodation.
Amount of the overnight accommodation allowance 2019
The amount of the overnight accommodation allowance is determined annually by the Federal Ministry of Finance. However, the rate hasn’t changed in recent years.
The overnight accommodation allowance in Germany is currently 20 euros (as of September 2019). It may be paid out tax-free to the employee.
Since the overnight accommodation allowance for domestic travel is very low and hardly covers the costs of a room in a youth hostel, it is unfavorable for employees to claim the overnight accommodation costs as a lump sum. It makes sense to reach an agreement with the employer to cover the actual costs.
For overnight stays abroad, the overnight accommodation allowance is usually much higher. In some countries, the rate varies with the city.
Examples for overnight accommodation allowances in European countries:
You will find a complete list of all overnight accommodation allowances for stays abroad on the website of the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Advantages of the overnight accommodation allowance
Flat-rate accommodation costs bring advantages for both employees and the company. For the employer, it simplifies the reimbursement of travel expenses, because the employee does not have to worry about keeping receipts. Employees who travel abroad a lot can look for cheap accommodation and enjoy a tax-free additional income by receiving the lump sum. In expensive cities such as London or Geneva, on the other hand, the lump sum may sometimes not be sufficient.
A further advantage is the prevention of any debates among employees, if accommodation costs are reimbursed at a certain rate and no individual decisions are made regarding hotel costs. Last but not least, the payment of a (higher) per diem for overnight stays in Germany is a benefit that management offers its employees. As mentioned at the beginning, companies are not obliged to reimburse costs.
Procedure for reimbursement of costs - with and without overnight accommodation allowance
Depending on the agreement with their employer, employees can either submit the receipts for their actual accommodation costs together with the other documents for the reimbursement of travel expenses to the accounts department or enter the lump sum in the travel expense statement.
If the company does not contribute to the hotel costs, the employee can deduct the accommodation costs as income-related expenses in the tax return. The overnight accommodation allowance is not relevant here; the actual costs must be proven.
Easy accounting and fast reimbursement
Travel expense accounting is a tiresome topic for many employees. It appears to be complex and difficult. The overnight accommodation allowance may make things easier, but the additional meal allowance and travel expenses remain.
Apps for travel expense accounting, on the other hand, can greatly simplify and speed up both the recording and processing of travel expenses. Circula offers employees an intuitive interface and the possibility to add receipts to a trip directly from a smartphone. The process is completely digital, so there is no risk of losing receipts or errors due to manual entries.
The app is GoBD-compliant and has an interface to DATEV Unternehmen Online. Administrators can be sure that valid flat rates are applied and receive all information pre-validated and pre-assigned. With just a few clicks, all travel expense accounting data can be imported into financial accounting, and the accounting can be carried out within a very short time.
Does that sound interesting? Test Circula for 2 weeks free of charge and get to know the future of travel expense accounting!