When carpooling, everyone in the vehicle can deduct travel expenses from their taxes via the commuter allowance – regardless of whether they are driving or simply riding along.
Prices of diesel and gasoline continue to climb. If you do not own an electric vehicle, you must reach deep into your wallet. As a result, many people are thinking quite precisely about cost-cutting measures. Carpooling to work is one alternative. This way is a little more time-consuming and frequently requires minor diversions, but it is financially worthwhile in two ways.
If you can organize a carpool to work, you may save money on petrol while also using the flat commuter rate. Because a carpool allows everyone who rides in the car to deduct the kilometers from home to the first place of work on the flat commuter rate against tax - not just the driver.
In general, commuter allowances are as follows: The tax office will accept just the quickest path from your house to your place of employment, or in tax German, to your "first place of employment." A detour is acceptable if it is more convenient, such as during rush hour or near a large construction site, and saves you time. Then, for the first 20 kilometers of the one-way trip - either the outbound or return voyage - there is a charge of 30 cents per kilometer. It is even 35 cents from the twenty-first kilometer (valid since 2021). However, due to the high cost of petroleum, the federal government is considering an increase. As a result, the 35 cents might become 38 cents retroactively beginning in January.
The same is true for carpooling: the tax office determines which route is the quickest or most cheap for each participant. Detours made to pick up or return passengers do not count. And here, too, the exemption applies: the tax office will tolerate a lengthier route if it saves time. This may be the case, for example, if the carpool takes the freeway rather than the city, adding seven kilometers to the journey but avoiding the time-consuming traffic lights.
Occasionally, one drives in his station wagon and sometimes, the other in her jeep. This way is both equitable to coworkers and beneficial to the tax return. Moreover, because travelers are only permitted to deduct up to 4,500 euros per year in travel expenditures from their taxes, on the other hand, drivers who drive their cars may deduct the commuter allowance without limitation. I.e., there is no maximum limit.
On the other hand, if the same individual drives in a carpool consistently, colleagues can reimburse them with a so-called passenger allowance. However, this is complicated, as the driver must pay tax on this money.
If the carpool swaps drivers and vehicles regularly, it is prudent to document this. Because if it is possible to distinguish who drove their automobile for how many days clearly, the 4,500 euro restriction for longer journeys can be eliminated for everyone.
Spouses and life partners may also deduct their commuter flat-rate travel expenditures separately if they go to work together. Again, this fact is actual even if the same organization employs them.
Employees are often covered against accidents only if they drive directly home from work or vice versa. The accident protection does not cover them if they go past the grocer on their way home or take another private diversion.
Carpooling is different: statutory accident insurance covers the direct route and any detours to pick up or deliver colleagues. So, naturally, there is no accident insurance in place for the trip to the store.