For many workers, a company car is a welcome support for their work. The employer pays for the purchase, insurance and repairs. This constellation creates an income advantage and private benefit for the employee. According to § 6 Para. 1 No. 4 EStG, the driver is obliged to pay income tax on the monetary benefit. There are two options for taxation: the 1 percent rule vs. Logbook.
The one percent rule:
This rule is a flat-rate calculation of personal benefit. According to the Income Tax Act, private use of a car can be set at one percent of the gross list price for each month. With a list price of the company car of, for example, 40.000 euros, the monetary benefit of 400 euros monthly wage tax, solidarity surcharge, social security contributions and possibly church tax are payable.
To calculate the gross list price of the vehicle, the manufacturer's recommended retail price plus the cost of any special equipment including sales tax is decisive. The subsequent installation of additional equipment, such as. B. for a navigation device, has no influence on the list price.
For the list price, it is irrelevant whether the vehicle is a new or used car.
In addition to the taxation of the flat-rate percentage of the gross list price, the daily distance between home and work is calculated and taxed, insofar as the company car may be used for these trips. The daily trip to work is taken into account with 0,03 percent of the list price for each kilometer of the one-way trip. If, for example, the distance to the workplace is 20 kilometers, while the gross list price remains the same at 40.000 euros, another 240 euros will be taken into account for tax purposes.
The amount of EUR 640 to be taken into account for tax purposes is added to the monthly gross salary. The relevant taxes and social security contributions are calculated from the increased gross income. Finally, the amount to be taken into account for tax purposes, composed of the 1 percent rule plus the 0,03 percent consideration of the kilometer flat rate, is deducted from the net income.
As a special case, the monthly travel frequency to the workplace is regulated on a maximum of 14 days. The kilometer allowance is calculated at 0,002 percent if you can demonstrate that the daily working distance is not realized on more than 14 days per month on average. In the example shown above, the tax amount to be considered would be reduced to EUR 416.
The tax burden for the employee with the 1 percent rule depends largely on the gross list price of the company car and the distance between the place of residence and the place of work.
Basically, you can only use one of the two methods. Using a logbook is very time-consuming because you have to document every single trip in a timely manner. The documentation is subject to specific framework conditions, so that the following information is required for business trips: Date, mileage at the start and end of the trip, destination of the route, reason for the business trip, name of the business partner or customer visited. In the case of detours, the details of the route must be specified.
When traveling between the home address and business address, a short note in the logbook is sufficient.
The mandatory information for private trips are the date and the mileage at the beginning and end of the trip. Specific information on the purpose of the trip or route is not required for private trips.
The logbook must be kept promptly, chronologically and understandably. The taxpayer is liable for incorrect, confusing or incomplete logbooks.
Options for keeping a logbook:
If you keep a logbook, there are two alternatives you can choose between. Maintaining a classic logbook requires written, manual filling. The logbook must be kept in a bound or closed form.
Alternatively, an electronic logbook can be kept. The digital and automated variant is completed more easily and quickly. The maintenance effort is eliminated through the fixed installation of a telematics system in the vehicle. Basic information such as the start of the journey, the end of the journey and mileage are recorded automatically. High-quality technical solutions automatically store additional information in the logbook. The electronic logbook can also be controlled as an app on the mobile phone. For this purpose, plugs are used in the car at different providers and coupled with the app. The result is a logbook.
When implementing an electronic logbook, please note that it is recognized by the tax office. The system or app must e.g. B. exclude subsequent adjustments to the entries.
In comparison, the classic logbook is much cheaper to buy, but it requires a lot of maintenance. The electronic solution is more expensive to purchase, but the manual effort is reduced.
Calculation of the taxable, monetary benefit:
With a daily distance of, for example, 20 kilometers of easy distance to work with 220 working days, there are 8.800 kilometers of distance to work. Assuming that there are an additional 3.200 kilometers of business trips and 3.000 kilometers for private trips, the result is 15.000 kilometers.
The proportion of private trips is therefore 20 percent.
To calculate the monetary benefit when using the logbook, the annual depreciation amount is determined. As a rule, company cars are depreciated over six years. The depreciation amount with a percentage of 16,67 percent in the example shown above, with a gross list price of 40.000 euros for the company car, is 6.668 euros. When calculating the value of the company car, it should be noted that the actual purchase price of the employer is taken into account. In contrast, the 1 percent rule always uses the original gross list price.
To calculate the annual costs, the ongoing operating and fixed costs (e.g. taxes, insurance contributions) are added. At z. B. 2.332 euros per year results in a total cost of 9.000 euros. The private use share is therefore 1.800 euros per year.
The change between logbook and 1 percent rule:
A change between the methods can always be implemented at the beginning of the year. A change during the year is only possible at the time of changing a new company car. As a rule, the employer determines the method at the beginning of the year. With the tax return, the employee can be reimbursed for overpaid amounts with a fully and correctly completed logbook, even if the 1 percent rule has been determined beforehand.
The conclusion - 1 percent rule vs. Logbook:
An important basis for comparing the two variants is the determination of the privately driven kilometer with the company car. The other factors that are decisive in determining the best, personal variant are the depreciation period, the distance between residence and place of work, the personal income tax rate and the total costs for petrol, maintenance and insurance.
In principle, it applies in most constellations that with a higher vehicle value and predominantly for business purposes, the use of a logbook is an advantage. If the company car has a low value and is often used privately, the 1 percent rule of should be preferred.
The decision between 1 percent rule or logbook depends on many different factors, so that a deposit case calculation is always the better method for the individual constellation.