Travelling within Germany

Travel allowances (§ 4 BRKG)

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. 

Notes:

  • Expenses for air travel can be reimbursed only if they can be justified, for example with regard to scheduling or due to lower travel costs.  
  • First-class train fares can be reimbursed if the travel time exceeds two hours. 
  • Travel costs incurred through the use of rental cars or taxis can be reimbursed if they are justified; for example, if the destination can no longer be reached with other means of transportation at certain times. However, one should inquire with the funding agency already during the planning phase under which circumstances the use of a rental car or taxi is acceptable.   
  • Voided tickets and boarding passes for flights must be kept and submitted for billing. 

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Mileage allowance (§ 5 BRKG)

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.

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Per diem (§ 6 BRKG)

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.  

Notes

  • The daily allowance of 24 euros can be paid only if a person goes on a multi-day trip. No per diem is paid for trips of less than 8 hours. 
  • The following special regulation applies: If a business trip begins after 4 pm and ends before 8 am on the next day without an overnight stay, the total period of absence is determined and attributed to the travel day with the most hours spent away. 
  • A reduced daily rate applies if the traveler receives free meals, for example, from the organizer, or if meals are included in the ticket or hotel costs (§ 6 Abs. 2 BRKG). In such cases, 20% of the full per diem (i.e. 5.60 euros) must be deducted for breakfast, and 40% each (i.e. 11.20 euros) must be deducted for lunch and/or dinner.
  • Any business trip that takes place in the same location for more than 14 days will have its daily allowance reduced by 50% starting from the 15th day (§ 8 BRGK).           

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.  

 

Tip: 

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.

Example:
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.

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Accommodation allowance (§ 7 BRKG)

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.

Notes:

  • Original receipts listing the accommodation costs must be kept for the report on expenditure of funds. This is also the case if only the 20 euros accommodation allowance will be billed.
  • An accommodation allowance of 20 euros is reimbursable according to the BRKG even without proof of actual cost. This allowance however can only be billed for a maximum of 14 days.  
  • An accommodation allowance cannot be granted if the accommodation costs are included in the eligible travel or other expenses (for example, when spending the night on a night train) or when the traveler is provided with accommodation free of charge (for example, by the organizer).  

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