2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 05:39
In 2007, drivers will have to be prepared for a significant additional burden. After the changes in the commuter allowance, almost 15 million commuters are likely to go away empty-handed.
By Monika Hillemacher
In the coming year, the state will dig deeper into the pockets of the citizens. The commuter allowance, for example, is falling victim to the red pen: in future, drivers will only be able to use it if the distance between their home and their work is 21 kilometers or longer. Currently, the option to deduct is granted from the first kilometer. According to the Association of Tax Payers (BdSt) in Berlin, almost 15 million of the 25 million or so commuters will either go away empty-handed or have to pay more taxes.
Another 30 cents per kilometer
The first will probably be shocked in October of this year - when they want to enter the tax exemption for 2007 as usual. "The tax offices will no longer do that for simple distances of up to 20 kilometers," says Stefan Walter, a consultant for tax law and tax policy at the BdSt. Without an exemption, on the other hand, the reduced commuter allowance will only take effect in 2008 when the tax return for 2007 is submitted. And the flat rate itself remains unchanged at 30 cents per kilometer.
The bottom line is that the result is the same - drivers pay more. Because they can claim less for tax purposes, the taxable income increases and thus the tax due on it. This is shown by several calculation examples by the experts: Commuters who previously used one kilometer for a one-way trip will not receive anything from the commuter flat rate in the future. From 2007 you have at least 17 euros less in your wallet.
And even those who previously deducted 660 euros for ten kilometers can no longer sell anything. According to the BdSt, this burdens a family with a low income with 165 euros per year. “And for 25 kilometers, instead of 1650 euros, only 330 euros can be claimed because only the difference between the 21st and 25th kilometer is taken into account,” continues Stefan Walter.
In order to make up for the additional burdens as much as possible, the Federal Chamber of Tax Advisors in Berlin recommends taking advantage of all tax-saving opportunities. The head of the tax department, Bettina Bethge, points out that each member of a car pool can claim a flat rate of up to 4500 euros from the tax authorities. The prerequisite is that they are “long-distance commuters” whose journey exceeds the legal 20-kilometer limit. "If a spouse drives to work together in a car, both are entitled to the full flat-rate allowance from the 21st kilometer," explains Bethge.
The calculation of the distance between home and workplaces should therefore be increasingly considered by drivers. “For the tax office, the shortest road connection counts. However, it accepts a longer route if it noticeably reduces travel time,”says Bethge. Taking the autobahn instead of the main road could be a way out. In view of the cuts, it is also worth thinking about the choice of means of transport: around half of all journeys made by car are short distances of up to six kilometers. "Other solutions can be found here," says Daniel Kluge from the Verkehrsclub Deutschland (VCD) in Berlin. For example, Kluge suggests changing to bike, train and bus.
Because buses and trains not only protect the environment. At least in the city and in the so-called bacon belt, they can also be a financially attractive alternative to the car. “A car costs at least 4,000 euros a year. You can easily get an annual ticket in transport associations,”calculates Kluge. The upper limit for tax-deductible tickets is 4500 euros per year.
With the job tickets, the tax consultants have another option. The tickets offered by many companies remain tax-free as long as they do not cost more than 44 euros per month and are provided monthly, among other criteria, it is said. It is worth negotiating with the employer about a subsidy for travel expenses instead of a pay rise.
For city dwellers, switching to local public transport should be easy to manage, according to VCD spokesman Kluge. In the countryside, on the other hand, there are combinations: “On foot or by bike to the train station or just a part of the way by car - and then get on public transport,” suggests the expert. (dpa)
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