Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Finance/banking/taxation  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 17.03.2011, 10:57
Soapybubbles's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Fällanden, ZH
Posts: 69
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 32 Times in 13 Posts
Soapybubbles has earned some respectSoapybubbles has earned some respect
Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

Hi All
I've recently been told by my employers in Zürich that when we are travelling on company business, we will be reimbursed up to the following (non-cumulative) limits for:
Breakfast CHF 15.-
Lunch CHF 35.-
Dinner CHF 40.-
when we are dining alone or with our own colleagues (i.e. not a "business dinner" - no clients are invited). Any amounts above these limits will not be reimbursed "for tax reasons". Therefore, a dinner alone in your hotel restaurant or via room service which costs CHF 60.- (easily done in London, Paris, You-name-it-capital-city etc) will only be reimbursed for CHF 40.- (even if you skipped breakfast) because otherwise, apparently according the Zürich Cantonal powers that be, the extra CHF 20.- would have to be declared as part of your taxable salary and taxed as such, which is clearly a headache the general accounts department would prefer to avoid.
This all seems pretty clear to me however my question is has anyone out there ever heard of this?
In our industry, we are in contact with many people from companies similar to our own; competitors, clients and otherwise, all based in Zürich and not one person we have spoken to is or has ever been subject to a similar régime in their company or has even heard of such a "tax reason".
I'm not complaining as such, business expenses are forever being squeezed and we just have to get on with it but I'm intrigued by this explanation we have been given.
Can anyone throw any light on it, please?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 17.03.2011, 11:06
möpp's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Zurich
Posts: 1,201
Groaned at 2 Times in 2 Posts
Thanked 1,079 Times in 547 Posts
möpp has a reputation beyond reputemöpp has a reputation beyond reputemöpp has a reputation beyond reputemöpp has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

Hmmmm, not sure about corporate rates but my husband is a teacher at a Secondary School ("Gymnasium") here in Zurich and, as such, is an employee of the Canton. Whenever he's out and about on school business (regardless of whether in Switzerland or abroad) they have similar limits on meal expenses, so it's nothing really out of the ordinary.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 17.03.2011, 11:07
st2lemans's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Lugano
Posts: 32,516
Groaned at 2,578 Times in 1,840 Posts
Thanked 39,650 Times in 18,688 Posts
st2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

No, I haven't heard of this.

When I'm in Norway, I typically spend about CHF 100 on dinner in a normal restaurant.

Hell, even here dinner typically is around CHF 60.

How do they figure CHF 40, average price at McDonalds?

Tom
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank st2lemans for this useful post:
  #4  
Old 17.03.2011, 11:09
Soapybubbles's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Fällanden, ZH
Posts: 69
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 32 Times in 13 Posts
Soapybubbles has earned some respectSoapybubbles has earned some respect
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

Well, we're in the private (reinsurance) sector, if that's any help and so are all the people my colleagues and I have spoken to who have never heard of it
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 17.03.2011, 11:13
grumpygit's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: geneva
Posts: 1,476
Groaned at 29 Times in 16 Posts
Thanked 1,508 Times in 695 Posts
grumpygit has a reputation beyond reputegrumpygit has a reputation beyond reputegrumpygit has a reputation beyond reputegrumpygit has a reputation beyond reputegrumpygit has a reputation beyond reputegrumpygit has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

Its true. As far as the authorities are concerned, anything above those rates is taxable benefit (clearly some companies have been taking the pi$$ for a while now. They are actually clamping down quite hard on general expenses for entertaining etc

Last edited by grumpygit; 17.03.2011 at 11:18. Reason: typo
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 17.03.2011, 11:16
möpp's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Zurich
Posts: 1,201
Groaned at 2 Times in 2 Posts
Thanked 1,079 Times in 547 Posts
möpp has a reputation beyond reputemöpp has a reputation beyond reputemöpp has a reputation beyond reputemöpp has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

http://www.offizz.de/geschaeftsreise...gr_spesen.html

http://www.outdoor-public.de/reiseko...len-010110.php

Not applicable to Switzerland, but I found these for Germany. Especially the second link gives an overview of what is "allowed" for Germans travelling to the countries (you have to scroll down a bit).
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 17.03.2011, 11:26
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

It's quite common with German companies, even to the extent there is a "base amount" calculated for Germany and a percentage increase/decrease depending where your travelling.

All very efficiant, German style.

The amounts you mention are about right for normal meals outside, no alcohol of course. Chf 90.--/Dayx should be ewnough to live on providing you don't want fillet steak 3 times a day.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 17.03.2011, 11:58
Tilia's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: ZH
Posts: 2,745
Groaned at 75 Times in 42 Posts
Thanked 2,649 Times in 1,194 Posts
Tilia has a reputation beyond reputeTilia has a reputation beyond reputeTilia has a reputation beyond reputeTilia has a reputation beyond reputeTilia has a reputation beyond reputeTilia has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

Seems your company is trying a fast one on you by mixing apples with oranges.

If you get a lumpsum - "Pauschalspesen" - then it can not be higher than the amounts your state without risking being taxable.

If you however get all your expenses reimbursed against receipt and no lumpsums, so called "Effektivspesen" then it will not be taxable (unless you make them suspicious by very, very high amounts).
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Tilia for this useful post:
  #9  
Old 17.03.2011, 12:23
Soapybubbles's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Fällanden, ZH
Posts: 69
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 32 Times in 13 Posts
Soapybubbles has earned some respectSoapybubbles has earned some respect
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

Quote:
View Post
Seems your company is trying a fast one on you by mixing apples with oranges.

If you get a lumpsum - "Pauschalspesen" - then it can not be higher than the amounts your state without risking being taxable.

If you however get all your expenses reimbursed against receipt and no lumpsums, so called "Effektivspesen" then it will not be taxable (unless you make them suspicious by very, very high amounts).
Thanks Tilia, that's interesting (albeit conflicting with some of the earlier posts).

For the record, it's a Swiss company (not German @möpp and Today Only) and our expenses have always been reimbursed against receipts - no lump sums.
The company was in Geneva previously and we never had any issues on this subject. We're told it's specifically a Zürich-thing.

The plot thickens....
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 17.03.2011, 12:33
Tilia's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: ZH
Posts: 2,745
Groaned at 75 Times in 42 Posts
Thanked 2,649 Times in 1,194 Posts
Tilia has a reputation beyond reputeTilia has a reputation beyond reputeTilia has a reputation beyond reputeTilia has a reputation beyond reputeTilia has a reputation beyond reputeTilia has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

Has the Spesenreglement been approved by the Canton? If that is the case, there is some ambigouity regarding the limits that should be applied for food. The statement is that they "should not superseed 35 CHF". If they state that in the Spesenreglement and it is approved, then the HR doesn't have to put your expenses into your Lohnausweis. But it says "should" (sollten) and not "may not" (dürfen) which makes a difference.

If you regularly travel abroad and you can prove with receipt that your expenses are higher, it is very unlikely that the tax-authorities would tax you on any surplus amount. But then of course these amounts would have to be on the Lohnausweis and maybe your company don't want to do that.

So from a tax perspective, there is really should be no problem if you once in a while gets reimbursed more than 35 CHF as long as it is done against receipt and as long as it doesn't happen every day.

Quote:
View Post
Thanks Tilia, that's interesting (albeit conflicting with some of the earlier posts).

For the record, it's a Swiss company (not German @möpp and Today Only) and our expenses have always been reimbursed against receipts - no lump sums.
The company was in Geneva previously and we never had any issues on this subject. We're told it's specifically a Zürich-thing.

The plot thickens....
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 17.03.2011, 13:26
Treverus's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Work in ZH, live in SZ
Posts: 12,354
Groaned at 363 Times in 293 Posts
Thanked 23,687 Times in 8,573 Posts
Treverus has a reputation beyond reputeTreverus has a reputation beyond reputeTreverus has a reputation beyond reputeTreverus has a reputation beyond reputeTreverus has a reputation beyond reputeTreverus has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

Every company I have worked for had similar rules. That would be three different companies in Switzerland in the telecom sector.

The reason is quite simple: In all three companies was it apparently introduced to prevent the employees from ordering the big steaks on company expenses... and if we are honest can one very well survive on 90 CHF a day. Yes, even in London.

At my employer they had one exception: If the breakfast buffet at the hotel they booked me was over 15CHF and included on the room bill, they did pay it without any issue.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank Treverus for this useful post:
  #12  
Old 17.03.2011, 14:08
st2lemans's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Lugano
Posts: 32,516
Groaned at 2,578 Times in 1,840 Posts
Thanked 39,650 Times in 18,688 Posts
st2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

Quote:
The amounts you mention are about right for normal meals outside, no alcohol of course.
How, no alcohol?

It's not dinner (or even lunch) without wine!

Tom
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank st2lemans for this useful post:
  #13  
Old 17.03.2011, 14:19
Treverus's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Work in ZH, live in SZ
Posts: 12,354
Groaned at 363 Times in 293 Posts
Thanked 23,687 Times in 8,573 Posts
Treverus has a reputation beyond reputeTreverus has a reputation beyond reputeTreverus has a reputation beyond reputeTreverus has a reputation beyond reputeTreverus has a reputation beyond reputeTreverus has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

Again: I managed to live comfortably on 90 CHFs a day and that did include a beer or two (or three)... even in expensive places like Stockholm or Moscow. And if you really positively need to buy a bottle of red, you can use something called "salary" to pay it - it comes typically from the same employer.

The only thing that is wrong here is the "tax reason" explanation - it is complete rubbish and I cannot understand why a company HR cannot openly say: "We give you a budget to keep the costs under control" ... that's what you do in all other parts of a business as well.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Treverus for this useful post:
  #14  
Old 17.03.2011, 15:37
st2lemans's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Lugano
Posts: 32,516
Groaned at 2,578 Times in 1,840 Posts
Thanked 39,650 Times in 18,688 Posts
st2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

Quote:
View Post
Again: I managed to live comfortably on 90 CHFs a day and that did include a beer or two (or three)... even in expensive places like Stockholm or Moscow. And if you really positively need to buy a bottle of red, you can use something called "salary" to pay it - it comes typically from the same employer.
Well, I guess that things are different here in Ticino.

Wine with a meal is a necessity that my employer understands.

Now, trying to expense a bus ticket is another matter (but a Taxi is no problem).

Tom
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 17.03.2011, 16:03
Brianb_ie's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Zurich
Posts: 515
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 125 Times in 88 Posts
Brianb_ie has earned the respect of manyBrianb_ie has earned the respect of manyBrianb_ie has earned the respect of many
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

I had originally received a company mobile and later changed to a company blackberry.
Initially there was no problem using these for personal use until about 2 years ago (in March I think) we were asked to reimburse anything above 30chf that was not business related on the previous three months phone bills. I refused the back dated payments and there was quite a fuss about it but it eventually blew over.
Anyways since then the rule has been implemented and each month you get an itemised Bill where you have to pay the difference above 30chf.
I don't think this exists in many companies but apparently it is following the rules.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 17.03.2011, 16:17
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

Weird, I have never heard of this. We have a limit on the costs of hotels but meals not really. As long as one is sensible of course, but I remember paying 120 USD for a dinner at a conference I just went to, nobody said anything!
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 18.03.2011, 10:57
Paulus Camillus's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Posts: 60
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 44 Times in 25 Posts
Paulus Camillus is considered knowledgeablePaulus Camillus is considered knowledgeablePaulus Camillus is considered knowledgeable
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

Quote:
View Post
the extra CHF 20.- would have to be declared as part of your taxable salary and taxed as such, which is clearly a headache the general accounts department would prefer to avoid.
This all seems pretty clear to me however my question is has anyone out there ever heard of this?
I heard of this painfully in Finland.

For 5 years, my company (a subcontractor of a big Finnish firm) was refunding me the commuting cost from the headquarter-office (Helsinki) to the working-office of the client (not so far, but it required a regional monthly ticket, costing 100€ per month). My work agreement as sub-contractor worker was renewed every 6 months, with very little "gaps" between 2 agreements..

And then one day, the tax office points out that if one works at least 2 years pretty continuously at one location, then it is "de facto" considered as his/her working place, and there can not be refunding of the travel cost by the company.

So, the Finnish tax office declared that during 3 years, I earned an extra 3600 euros undeclared, and they taxed me for that, they rose a bit my tax percentage for those 3 years, and I had to pay something like 1500 euros unexpectedly I still wonder if my company knew the rules and hid it under the carpet, or if they sincerely made a mistake that I had to pay from my pocket.

I think it's good your company knows the rules, and that they are clear with the rules and with you. You have to pay by your own pocket, and if you think it's too much, you have to ask a salary raise... or look for some other job.

/Paul

Last edited by Paulus Camillus; 18.03.2011 at 11:15.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 20.03.2011, 14:42
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Zürich
Posts: 158
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 26 Times in 18 Posts
Flutterby has no particular reputation at present
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

Quote:
It's quite common with German companies, even to the extent there is a "base amount" calculated for Germany and a percentage increase/decrease depending where your travelling.

All very efficiant, German style.

The amounts you mention are about right for normal meals outside, no alcohol of course. Chf 90.--/Dayx should be ewnough to live on providing you don't want fillet steak 3 times a day.
To my knowledge this lump sum reimbursement is a German thing (driven by tax authorities) but it has different amounts for expensive countries like UK (London). They even give you the money if you do not spend anything, which is a different concept.

The original post here talks about acurately split 15 CHF for Breakfast, 35 for Lunch and 40 for Dinner (including beer and wine): And if you do not have breakfast, you cannot spend the "left over" CHF 15 for Dinner. Not really fair in my view.

There is one interesting post further down saying that these limits (15/35/40) are recommendations from the tax authorities in CH, not absolute "must not exceed" limits. Either this company has misunderstood this fine difference .... or they kind of mis-use it for cost cutting. It would be surprising if such rules are only applied in one company in canton Zurich.

Btw. CHF 90 in London, Paris or Scandinavia are not really generous for 3 meals, even if you do not eat a Filet-Steak for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. In Oslo a beer is already around EUR 10.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 20.03.2011, 15:07
olygirl's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: d' Innerschwiiz
Posts: 7,756
Groaned at 419 Times in 282 Posts
Thanked 18,265 Times in 5,656 Posts
olygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

All Swiss companies I have worked for have similar maximum expenses.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 20.03.2011, 16:41
NotAllThere's Avatar
Modulo 2
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Baselland
Posts: 15,046
Groaned at 307 Times in 263 Posts
Thanked 23,225 Times in 9,432 Posts
NotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Limit on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner expenses "for tax reasons"

I've only worked for one Swiss employer (other than myself), but expenses were not an issue. (And never were for any UK employer for that matter, though I heard similar stories to the above - I guess I got lucky). You put the claim in, your boss gives it the once over, signs it, you get the money. OK, when I took my Parisian colleagues to the Buddha Bar (Kobe beef, rather than steak) for dinner one time, I did call him first to ok the extra expense. After all, any expenses come out of his budget - it's up to him to control it, not some HR drone or bean counter. I suppose other companies may have different set ups.

I'd suspect HR are being blurry with the truth. For my part, working for my own company, I often expense meals. I don't know the details, but it does appear that only portion of the cost is tax deductable. The fact that tax can't be claimed back above a certain amount is irrelevant to whether it's an expense!
__________________
Down with racism. Long live miscegenation!
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank NotAllThere for this useful post:
Reply




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Apt rental fee + "additional expenses" on Homegate? Switzerland2009 Housing in general 3 16.11.2009 23:23
Allowable expenses for "specialist workers" RobFish3 Finance/banking/taxation 5 09.06.2009 19:30
3 Serious Reasons to not do the "Deadhead" Run from Schilthorn sandiegan Sports / Fitness / Beauty / Wellness 18 22.03.2009 21:28
"The Great British Breakfast Buffet" Ian Nicol Commercial events 0 11.09.2007 15:34


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 12:09.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0