From Monday, April 3, 2023, the advance sale for the 49 euro ticket begins. From May 1, this entitles the holder to use public transportation throughout Germany. ICE, IC and EC will be excluded from use. What this means for you as an employer and how your employees can benefit from it is explained below.
Tax free wages
Subsidies paid by the employer in addition to the wages owed in any case towards the employee’s expenses for travel by public transport on scheduled routes between home and the first place of work as well as for travel on local public transport are tax-exempt (Section 3 No. 15 EStG). This usually relates to subsidies for monthly tickets with the relevant transport associations.
Analogy to the 9 Euro ticket?
Already in the case of the 9 Euro ticket, the question arose as to whether § 3 No. 15 EStG was applicable. In order to clarify questions of doubt, the BMF issued the following letter dated May 30, 2022 clarified that reimbursements by the employer for the 9 euro ticket are exempt, but should be limited to the employee’s actual expenses – i.e. 9 euros per month. This seemed conclusive and allowed employers to cover their employees’ expenses in a net-wage-optimized manner.
Transfer to the 49 Euro ticket
According to the BMF, no separate BMF letter is currently being planned in response to a question from the DIHK. Rather, the explanations of the aforementioned BMF letter were transferable, since the ticket was comparable in content and limited to the same area of application – public transport.
Reimbursement as a benefit for employees
Accordingly, employers will probably also be able to reimburse their employees for the future 49 euro ticket tax-free in accordance with Section 3 No. 15 of the German Income Tax Act (EStG). For questions regarding the implementation and the resulting recording obligations, please contact us!