Incurred travel expenses – for example for train and boat trips, flights and travel on public transport – can be billed up to the amount of the lowest class of travel. Possible fare reductions (for example, due to taking advantage of budget prices or a rail card) must be taken into account.
The costs for the use of cars and other motorized vehicles that are not covered by the above-mentioned means of transport (e.g., an individual’s personal car) can be billed on the basis of the mileage allowance, which is 0.20 euros (or in special cases 0.30 euros) per kilometer traveled, with a maximum of 130 euros per trip, based on the number of kilometers from the point of departure to the destination.
Additional costs for meals and drinks are usually incurred while traveling. These can be reimbursed based on a fixed amount per day, the so-called per diem. However, the costs that are actually incurred are not billable. The per diem amount is based on the Einkommensteuergesetz (§ 4 Abs. 5 Satz 1 Nr. 5 Satz 2 EStG; English: Income Tax Act) and depends on the duration of the trip (days and hours). The duration of the trip is usually determined by departure from and arrival at one’s home or workplace (§ 2 Abs. 2 BRKG).
The following per diems apply for trips within Germany (since 2014):
a) Absence of more than 24 hours: 28 euros
b) Absence of less than 24 hours but more than 8 hours: 14 euros
Absence here means the absence from both the home and the regular workplace.
Calculation of per diems
The described provisions always must be considered when calculating the per diems for the entire duration of a trip. This can be challenging in case of extensive trips with many participants. Both the arrival day (or travel days of arrival in case the journey takes place overnight or takes several days) and the departure day (or travel days of departure in case the journey takes place overnight or takes several days) should be considered separately. The per diem amounts for the days in between the travel days are always the same – assuming the additional meal allowances are the same for all days, i.e. if breakfast is always included in the hotel costs or if the organizer provides a free lunch every day.
It is advisable to make a table to calculate the daily allowances for the entire trip that clearly lists the daily rates of the arrival and departure days and the daily rate and total amount of the remaining days of the trip. If several artists or creatives are involved, each of them should be listed individually by his/her full name. An example of what such a list might look like can be found here: Example list for calculating per diems (as of 2015; updated list 2020 coming soon)
Examples (2015) will be updated shortly.
A publicly funded performance collective that works in Berlin drives to Cologne to give several performances. The artists leave their homes on Thursday at 1 pm and return on Sunday at 7 pm. The total per diems for each individual artist are calculated as follows: 12 euros (for Thursday, 11 hour absence) + 2 x 24 euros (for Friday and Saturday, 24 hour absence on each of these days) + 12 euros (Sunday, 19 hour absence) = 72 euros.
If the artists stay at a hotel with breakfast included, the per diems must be reduced accordingly and calculated for each artist as follows: 12 euros + 2 x 19.20 euros + 7.20 euros = 57.60 euros.
A fixed rate of 20 euros may be charged for required overnight stays if no costs or costs lower than 20 euros incurred. Necessary overnight stays at higher costs can be reimbursed - by a maximum of 60 euros (64,80 euros breakfast included). The traveler always has to choose a low-cost accommodation.