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Flight Crews Can Deduct Driving Expenses in Full - Tax Law

The driving expenses of flight crews between their home and their assigned airport can be deducted in full.


Cologne, NRW -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/10/2013 -- GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Dusseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and London conclude: The Fiscal Court [FG] of Münster is said to have ruled as follows in a recent decision (File No. 11 K 4527/11 E): The plaintiff, who works as a purser for an airline, asked that the actual kilometres she travelled be taken into account. She based her request on the most recent judgments by the Federal Fiscal Court (BHF) and noted that she has no regular place of work. According to the current BHF case law, the term “regular place of work” only includes the fixed long-term locality at the centre of employment. The evaluation should mainly be based on where the primary centre of the employee’s activity is located.

The Fiscal Court agreed with the plaintiff and noted that only trips between the place of residence and the regular place of work are affected by the flat-rate distance limitation pertaining to the deduction for income-related expenses. The court ruled that in the present case, the primary centre of employment is the aircraft and not the home-base airport. Since the aircraft – as a non-fixed place of work – is not a regular place of employment, flight crews are performing external work activities. For that reason, the flat-rate distance limitation does not apply, and the cost of driving to the airport can be deducted in full.

The FG court also ruled with regard to an office at the place of residence. Rooms made available by the employer equipped only with normal seating and small portable tables are not an adequate place of work, in which case the cost of an office at the place of residence is also deductible.

The complex and very extensive subject matter of German tax laws makes it very difficult for outsiders to understand the issues. Often decisions and tax assessments by revenue offices are simply accepted and regarded as accurate. Yet it can certainly happen that they do not hold up under thorough scrutiny. Those affected should consult a lawyer with experience in tax law who will explain the legal possibilities after an exact review. Such a lawyer can also initiate the court action to enforce claims if they have a chance of success.

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