Article:

Climate Ticket

14 October 2021

Thomas Neumann, Partner |
Claudia Sonnleitner, Director |

With the new so-called "Klimaticket" (referred to as “climate ticket”) it is possible to use all means of public transport in a certain area with a single ticket - regionally, supra-regionally or Austria-wide from October 26th 2021. Employers can provide the climate ticket to their employees tax-free - as it was previously the case with the job ticket or public transport ticket - or reimburse the corresponding costs tax-free.

 

Tax exemption for job tickets

Until 30.6.2021, the tax exemption for job tickets was limited to cases in which employers provided a route ticket to their employees for transport between home and work. The tax exemption also applied to network tickets, if route tickets were not available or the costs of the network ticket does not exceed to the cost of a route ticket. The invoice had to be made out to the employer and in particular had to include the name of the employee. This tax exemption continues to apply.

The employer's reimbursement of costs for the employee's travel tickets between home and work was not covered by the tax exemption. The reimbursement of costs constituted taxable wages.

 

Extension of the tax exemption (“public transport ticket”)

To make the use of public transport more attractive, the tax exemption of the job ticket was significantly extended. From July 1st 2021, the employer can provide public transport tickets to their employees tax-free regardless of the ticket type (1-2-3 ticket, network ticket, route ticket, etc.), provided that the ticket is valid at least at the place of residence or work. This also applies to the climate ticket. The tax exemption for job tickets will thus also be applicable in the future if the range of tickets is not limited to the route home - place of work - home. However, the tax exemption requires that the tickets are valid for journeys within a longer period of time (weekly, monthly or annual tickets). Thus, single tickets and day tickets are not covered! The transferability of such tickets is not detrimental to the benefit. However, if this results in additional costs, only the costs for a non-transferable ticket are tax-free.

In addition, as of July 1st 2021, the full or partial reimbursement of the costs of a weekly, monthly or annual ticket for public transport by the employer is also possibly tax-free, provided that the ticket is valid at least at the place of residence or place of work. Therefore, it is also possible that a weekly, monthly or annual ticket as well as the climate ticket is issued e.g. for the entire federal province, even though the employer only pays part of the costs (e.g. their route home - work) tax-free, provided that the ticket is valid at least either at the place of residence or at the place of work. However, the prerequisite for the tax exemption is that the employee submits the invoice for the purchase of the weekly, monthly or annual travel pass to the employer and that the employer gives the invoice from the transport company or a copy of the card as proof to the payroll account.

ATTENTION: The extended tax exemption is applicable to tickets purchased or extended from July 1st 2021 only. However, reimbursements made by the employer for tickets purchased or renewed before July 1st 2021 are not exempt!

 

What if I bought a public transport ticket in August, but want to buy a climate ticket now?

It has been agreed with all associations or transport companies that existing season tickets can be cancelled at improved conditions for the purchase of the climate ticket (except for discount cards such as the ÖBB Vorteilscard).

 

What should be considered?

The employer's allowance for a weekly, monthly or annual ticket can also be paid tax-free on a monthly basis with the salary payment. However, the job ticket may not be granted instead of the salary previously paid but must always be granted in addition. A deferred payment will not be tax-exempt in the future. If, on the other hand, the employee has already been granted a travel allowance by the employer for public transport between home and work and the cost of a ticket for public transport is assumed in future instead, this does not constitute a tax-damaging conversion of remuneration.

If the employer provides a weekly, monthly or annual travel pass, a lump-sum commuter allowance can only be claimed for the route that is not covered by it. No lump-sum commuter allowance is due for the distance travelled in company transport.

If such weekly, monthly or annual travel passes are also used for business trips, the employer may not pay additional travel expenses for the route covered by the pass.

In the event of termination of the employment relationship during the validity period of the ticket (annual pass), the reimbursement of costs reimbursed by the employer is to be taxed pro rata in accordance with the further validity period as a benefit from the employment relationship in the calendar month of termination.

 

Social security contributions and non-wage labour costs

Since July 1st 2021, not only the reimbursement of costs by the employer for journeys between home and place of work by means of mass transport, but also the reimbursement of the costs of the weekly, monthly or annual travel pass by the employer for its employees is exempt from contributions. The prerequisite for the exemption from contributions, as well as for the tax exemption, is that the card is valid at least at the place of residence or place of work and that it is valid for journeys within a longer period of time.

Since the granting of a preferential weekly, monthly or annual travel pass does not constitute taxable remuneration, neither employer contributions (DB and DZ) nor municipal tax are due.

 

Obligations for employers in the context of payroll accounting

As in the past, the calendar months in which employees are transported in goods traffic are to be taken into account in the payroll accounting. As of July 1st 2021, those calendar months for which the costs of weekly, monthly or annual tickets (1-2-3 ticket) are reimbursed by the employer must now also be entered in the payroll account. In addition, the amount of the costs assumed for a weekly, monthly or annual ticket must also be included in the payroll account. This is to ensure traceability of the payment flows, in particular in the event of an audit.

 

Can the public transport ticket be deducted as a business expense if the requirements are met but the public transport ticket is only used privately?

The job ticket or public transport ticket as well as the climate ticket are considered business expenses on the part of the employer. Such costs are deductible according to the business or professional use (VwGH 27.3.1996, 92/13/0205, EStR Rz 1567).

 

How is the climate ticket to be treated under VAT?

In principle, an input tax deduction would only be possible if at least 10% of the service serves business purposes (§ 12 para. 2 no. 1 UStG). The employer can claim an input tax deduction for the purchase of the job ticket. At the same time, however, he is obliged to pay VAT on the transfer as follows:

a) As "own consumption" when granted free of charge

Example: An employer purchases a monthly ticket of Wiener Linien for EUR 45 (EUR 40.91 plus 10% VAT of EUR 4.09) and provides it to an employee free of charge. Since the employer transfers the right to use a transport service to the employee free of charge (free provision of another service for the needs of the staff), the employer is taxed on own consumption at the reduced rate pursuant to § 3a para. 1a no. 2 UStG 1994. The VAT (EUR 4.09) is calculated according to § 4 para. 8 lit. b UStG 1994 on the basis of the costs (EUR 40.91).


b) As “normal value" if provided for a fee

Example: An employer purchases a monthly ticket for Wiener Linien for EUR 45 (EUR 40.91 plus 10% VAT of EUR 4.09) and provides it to an employee for EUR 30 plus VAT. This is a miscellaneous service at a reduced tax rate. Due to the discounted provision (EUR 30 instead of the normal value of EUR 40.91) and the fact that the employee is not entitled to deduct input tax and the "discounted" provision of the monthly travel pass is justified in the employment relationship, the normal value is to be used as the basis of assessment for VAT. Therefore, the employer must pay the value added tax in the amount of EUR 4.09.