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Truckers 'should keep a tax toilet log book'
Photo: DPA

Truckers 'should keep a tax toilet log book'

Published: 25 Dec 2012 12:05 GMT+01:00
Updated: 25 Dec 2012 12:05 GMT+01:00

The top tax authority has recommended that truck drivers note down the duration and frequency of their ablutions in order to work out how much of their income should be written off from tax the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said at the weekend.

Up until now, drivers had been allocated a €5 daily tax-free expenses allowance and even in March, the federal financial court agreed that this was an acceptable amount.

But tax authorities have decided this was not accurate enough and said that drivers must now keep receipts from overnight stays in car parks and comfort breaks at motorway rest stops.

Income tax experts voiced annoyance at the decision, with Uwe Rauhöft from the NVL – an umbrella group that represents income tax advisors – calling the note-system “a ridiculous, costly process.”

As parking spots tend to be in short supply along Germany's motorways, truckers often park up in privately-run areas that charge around €10 to €15 per night – and generally includes a meal, the paper said. But because there is no tax consideration for this, tax offices often failed to acknowledge them as expenses.

Truck companies also would not pay these costs back, so costs often fell on the driver.

Tax expert Rauhöft suggested that for the system to work, drivers should file what part of a private-company charge was not used on food. But this would mean drivers keeping a "schnitzel book" alongside their toilet log.

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:27 December 25, 2012 by The-ex-pat
€5 tax free as day to go to the toilet.......................someone is taking the p*ss...............
15:35 December 25, 2012 by Englishted
"Log book" brilliant well done the writer .
15:45 December 25, 2012 by catjones
german confusion.....precision is not perfection.
19:15 December 25, 2012 by FogFimFoo
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
05:38 December 26, 2012 by HHayrider
Actually, here in the US, truck drivers have a "Record of daily hours" which is called a log book. It has a graph chart in it and you fill in the times, in 4 catagories, if you are driving, working-not driving, off duty and sleeping. You have so many hours a week to work. Anyways...

Sometimes, drivers have to pay to park in truckstops in populated areas where parking is a premium. These costs are not reimbursed by the company. Only costs on behalf of the company are reimbursed with reciept, like weigh tickets, toll roads, repairs, etc. However, with the tax system, any un-reimbursed business expense can be written off by the employee, like truck washes, parking, meals, etc.

Its nice to know that parking shortages arent only happening in the US.
15:30 December 26, 2012 by StoutViking
The tax ministry should take note at each time it sh*ts on our heads...
19:26 December 26, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
So how do they log this? Write in the book 'taking a pi$§' ?
06:20 December 27, 2012 by HHayrider
Well, the graph chart is a 24 hour period, split up into 15 minute increments. If he stops, runs in and wets a tire, he can just show a "flag" on the driving section. If he is stopped for more than 15 minutes he is required to change the status in the book, and mark it as lunch, or a nap, etc.

Sadly, over here alot of guys wont stop, but rather pee into a soda bottle or some other container, and throw it out on the side of the road, leaving a state road worker to pick it up. Some states, like Washington and Oregon and a few others, have deemed it a crime. Improper disposal of a bio-hazardous substance. If caught, the fines are like $1500.
12:44 December 27, 2012 by goodhund
Who is behind of it, please think once more and let the truckers do their job, where there is too much bureaucracy already :)

Doctors recommend: One man must go to the toilet 1 time per 1 day I think in the morning or night.

Thus, working as a truck-driver is not so easy and pleasant today anymore and going much harder and harder in every day.
13:44 December 28, 2012 by ErnestPayne
If you have to produce a log book of such "activities" you should save the material and give it to the tax office as proof of your "activity". Then it is their problem to dispose of the "evidence"
03:21 December 29, 2012 by itchyvet
Can't see what all the fuss is about. Though the article is a little confusing, the head line claims toilet breaks, but deeper within it becomes obvious they are talking about overnight rest stops.

I always thought Germans were methodical, therefor there shouldn't be a problem keeping a diary of all such stops and costs, especially when it involves money in your pocket.

Clearly, the drivers need to get a grip on themselves and their job.
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