How was your journey as a freelancer
How do I create a travel expense report as a freelancer?
2. Travel expense accounting as a freelancer: accommodation costs
Accommodation costs can be claimed through the receipts. You only have to pay attention to one little thing: There are flat rates at the tax office that can be claimed for overnight stays abroad (different flat rates apply in different countries). However, these do not apply to the self-employed. In the case of self-employed persons, the general rule is that the actual costs must be proven. Incidentally, seven percent of this is then also directly deductible.
3. Travel expense accounting as a freelancer: additional meal expenses
This part is somewhat more complex and is roughly divided into two things: domestic and international flat rates. The domestic lump sums should start at this point.
For trips lasting several days, you can claim 12 euros each for the day of arrival and departure. For every 24 hours of absence, 24 euros are estimated. For a very short external activity (8 to 24 hours), 12 euros are claimed. However, these flat rates only apply to trips within Germany.
For trips abroad, different flat rates apply - depending on the country and sometimes even depending on the location - which are set anew every now and then. For this you need the corresponding tables, which you can easily find on Google if you use the terms "additional meal expenses" and "tax office". Always make sure to have the latest version on hand.
However, the flat rates have to be reduced again, depending on how well you are fed by the other aspects of your trip. The rule is that breakfast, which is included in the hotel price, costs you 20 percent of your flat rate (at the daily rate of 24 euros, that's 4.80 euros). A full meal (lunch or dinner) is deducted 40 percent from the flat rate. This includes, for example, dinner invitations from your customers, buffets at congresses or private invitations to dinner from your distantly related aunt, who happens to live at your place of work.
4. Travel expense accounting as a freelancer: additional travel expenses
Incidental travel costs include all costs that are not covered by lump sums and still relate to the subject of the external activity. This means, for example, that you can also claim costs for using the Internet (in the hotel), laundry cleaning, other services or a parking meter. If you cannot get a receipt, you have to create it yourself.
The receipt must clearly show the amount (ideally, evidence of the amount is included in some form, for example as a price list), signed by you, contain the reasons, contain the date and contain the invoice amount in all the partial amounts that can be found - i.e. for example in individual prices, with a statement of sales tax and so on. The type of expenditure must urgently be shown in detail, insofar as this could be misleading. A reason why the receipt was written must also be provided. This is required for every freelancer in order to be able to submit their travel expenses.
Such own receipts can be merged even if they are used several times. It is important that the type of expenditure is credible. It can help if you try to keep a cash book for this too. It is perfectly legitimate to use one solely for cash withdrawals when traveling.
Where can you enter all of this? Are there any forms?
There are forms so that you can bring your many and complicated business expenses into a form that the tax authorities can accept. For example, for domestic travel you could use this: Domestic travel form
There is also one for trips abroad: Form for trips abroad
Pressed into forms, the whole thing looks less confusing. This only becomes possible due to the many receipts that you please enclose with the forms.
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