Tax-exempt allowances in 2013 for business travel

Date of issue
12/18/2012
Record no.
A144/200/2012
Validity
In force until further notice

Decision of the Tax Administration on tax-exempt allowances for travel expenses in 2013

Under § 73 and § 75.2 of Income Tax Act (TVL) of 30 Dec 1992 (1535/1992), including the amendments by Act no 504/2010 and by Act no 788/2012, the Finnish Tax Administration has set out the following:

§ 1

The criteria for and amounts of allowances for travel expenses, to be considered exempt from tax in the 2013 taxation, shall be as prescribed in this decision below.

§ 2

Travel expenses are the costs arising from a taxpayer's business travel in the territory of Finland or other countries.

§ 3

Business trips mean any short-term trips by an employee in performing his duties to a place where he temporarily performs working tasks or conducts business, distinct from his regular place of work. If, because of the nature of his work, the employee has no regular place of work, any short trip by employee from home to a temporary place of employment is a business trip

Furthermore, trips under the following circumstances are also regarded as business trips:

  1. Location of the workplace is elsewhere than inside the facilities or establishments that belong to the employer or to a closely related corporate entity within the employer’s sphere of interest;
  2. Work falls into the definition of temporary work under § 72a, Income Tax Act (TVL)
  3. Location is at a distance exceeding 100 kilometres from the taxpayer’s home;
  4. Taxpayer has stayed overnight, due to the trip to the workplace, in temporary quarters, which are necessary because of the distant location of the workplace.

Nevertheless, travelling or commuting between home and regular place of work is not considered a 'business trip' or 'travelling in business'. This also concerns weekend travel or other similar travel between home and a temporary place of employment, during a longer work assignment spanning several work weeks.

If it is typical for the line of work that the location of employment changes frequently because of the short-term nature of work in the particular sector, daily travel from home to a temporary 2 location will only make the employee eligible to receive allowances for 'travel expenses proper' referred to in §7, §8 and §9 below, if the employee has no main or regular place of work. The employee shall, however, also be entitled to meal money (§14) if he has no opportunity to benefit from meal services arranged by his employer on the temporary location or in its immediate vicinity.

§ 4

Travel made otherwise than as referred to in section 3, paragraphs 1 and 2, by an employee to his secondary workplace, only makes the employee eligible to receive allowance for 'travel expenses proper' (see §7, §8 and §9), and to receive allowance for accommodation (see §16). Secondary workplace means such ordinary establishment of the employer, or another corporation within the same sphere of interests with the employer, which is situated in another area, or another state, than the employee’s primary, main or regular place of work.

Travelling to and from an employee’s separate accommodation and his secondary workplace does not entitle the employee to receive allowance for 'travel expenses proper' when the separate accommodation is necessary because of the location of the secondary workplace.

§ 5

The main or regular place of work is the employee’s permanent place of employment. If, owing to the itinerant nature of his work, the employee has no permanent place of employment, the main or regular place of work is considered the place where he receives his assignments and keeps the clothes, tools or materials that he uses in his work, or any other location with a similar function in respect of the performance of his duties.

§ 6

A day of travel means a period of no more than 24 hours beginning from the time that the employee sets out on a business trip from his workplace or home. A day of travel ends when the employee returns from a business trip to his workplace or home.

§ 7

Allowance for travel expenses proper to be paid for business travel means reimbursement for tickets for travel, seats or sleeping car berths and other comparable expenses directly related to travel.

Allowance for travel expenses proper also includes costs for the transport of tools and other such
equipment that the employee must take with him.

§ 8

The maximum allowance for travel expenses, payable for the business travel of the employee using transport other than a motor vehicle owned or held by him is the amount spent on travel expenses proper, demonstrated with tickets provided by the transport company or other reliable proof.

§ 9

The maximum allowance for an employee’s business travel using a means of transport owned or held by him shall be:

Vehicle (means of transport) Maximum allowance amounts per Km
Passenger car 45 cents, raised by:
- 7 cents for towing a trailer.
- 11 cents, if performance of the duties-at-hand requires towing a caravan attached to the car.
- 21 cents, if performance of duties requires towing a mobile canteen or other comparable heavy load attached to the car.
- 3 cents for transporting machinery or other items in the car; weighing over 80 kilograms, or of large size.
- 3 cents, if performance of duties requires the employee to transport a dog in the car
- 9 cents for actual kilometers driven on forest roads or road construction sites closed to other traffic if performance of duties so requires.
Motorboat, up to 50 hp 77 cents
Motorboat, more than 50 hp 112 cents
Snowmobile 105 cents
All-terrain quadbike 99 cents
Motorcycle 33 cents
Moped 17 cents
Other means of transport 10 cents.

If other persons, for whose transport the employer is responsible, travel in a vehicle owned or held by the employee, the maximum allowance referred to in paragraph 1 is raised by 3 cents per Km and passenger.

If an employee, enjoying the company car benefit known as the limited benefit (käyttöetu; förmån att använda bil), referred to in the official decision of the Tax Administration on benefits-in-kind, uses the company car for business travel and pays the fuel he is entitled to a kilometer allowance of no more than 13 cents per Km.

§ 10

Per diem, i.e. daily allowance means coverage for a reasonable increase in meal expenses and other living expenses incurred by the employee during business travel. Thus, per diem does not include allowance for travel expenses proper or accommodation expenses.

§ 11

Per diem is payable only for such a day when the temporary place of employment is located more than 15 Kms away from either the employee’s main or regular workplace or his home, depending on where the travel begins. Moreover, the temporary place of employment should be more than 5 Kms away both from the main or regular workplace and from home.

§ 12

Depending on the duration of a business trip, the maximum per diem amounts are the following

Duration of trip Maximum per diem
More than 6 hours (partial amount) €17.00
More than 10 hours (full amount) €38.00
and, if travel time exceeds the last full day of travel:
- by at least 2 hours
€17.00
- by more than 6 hours €38.00

For any day of travel, when the employee receives free meals, or meals included with the travel ticket, the maximum per diem is half the amount specified in paragraph 1. Free meals comprise two free meals in the case of full per diem, and one free meal in the case of partial per diem.

§ 13

The maximum per diems payable for business travel outside Finland are as follows:

Country or region Maximun per diem €
Afghanistan 56.00
Albania 50.00
Algeria 69.00
Andorra 58.00
Angola 87.00
Antiqua and Barbuda 74.00
Argentina 53.00
Armenia 46.00
Aruba 49.00
Australia 68.00
Austria 62.00
Azerbaidzhan 69.00
Azores 59.00
Bahamas 69.00
Bahrain 67.00
Bangladesh 45.00
Barbados 60.00
Belarus 50.00
Belgium 61.00
Belize 41.00
Benin 44.00
Bermuda 67.00
Bhutan 34.00
Bolivia 29.00
Bosnia and Hercegovina 49.00
Botswana 41.00
Brazil 68.00
Brunei 41.00
Bulgaria 50.00
Burkina Faso 38.00
Burundi 37.00
Cambodia 50.00
Cameroon 47.00
Canada 70.00
Canary Islands 60.00
Cape Verde 41.00
Central African Republic 39.00
Chad 46.00
Chile 56.00
China 64.00
-Hong Kong 67.00
-Macao 63.00
Colombia 60.00
Comoros 44.00
Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) 47.00
Congo, Democratic Republic of
(Congo-Kinshasa)
68.00
Cook Islands 64.00
Costa Rica 48.00
Côte d’Ivoire, Ivory Coast 69.00
Croatia 58.00
Cuba 53.00
Curaçao 42.00
Cyprus 61.00
Czech Republic 57.00
Denmark 68.00
Djibouti 54.00
Dominica 49.00
Dominican Republic 53.00
East Timor 46.00
Ecuador 49.00
Egypt 54.00
El Salvador 46.00
Eritrea 35.00
Estonia 51.00
Ethiopia 36.00
Faroe Islands 53.00
Fiji 46.00
France 66.00
Gabon 73.00
Gambia 36.00
Georgia 50.00
Germany, including Berlin 61.00
Ghana 46.00
Greece 60.00
Greenland 53.00
Grenada 58.00
Guadeloupe 50.00
Guatemala 45.00
Guinea 46.00
Guinea-Bissau 35.00
Guyana 36.00
Haiti 48.00
Honduras 43.00
Hungary 56.00
Iceland 65.00
India 45.00
Indonesia 48.00
Iran 49.00
Iraq 58.00
Ireland 66.00
Israel 67.00
Italy 64.00
Ivory Coast, Côte d’Ivoire 69.00
Jamaica 52.00
Japan 80.00
Jordania 69.00
Kazakhstan 63.00
Kenya 52.00
Korea, Democratic People's
Republic (North Korea)
66.00
Korea,
Republic of (South Korea)
78.00
Kosovo 44.00
Kuwait 64.00
Kyrgystan 47.00
Laos 41.00
Latvia 51.00
Lebanon 66.00
Lesotho 35.00
Liberia 45.00
Libya 53.00
Liechtenstein 69.00
Lithuania 49.00
Luxembourg 63.00
Macedonia 49.00
Madagascar 38.00
Madeira 58.00
Malawi 50.00
Malaysia 55.00
Maldives 51.00
Mali 41.00
Malta 61.00
Marshall Islands 46.00
Martinique 51.00
Mauritania 49.00
Mauritius 48.00
Mexico 58.00
Micronesia 46.00
Moldova 48.00
Monaco 67.00
Mongolia 49.00
Montenegro 52.00
Morocco 61.00
Mozambique 49.00
Myanmar (formerly Burma) 55.00
Namibia 39.00
Nepal 37.00
Netherlands 63.00
New Zealand 63.00
Nicaragua 40.00
Niger 43.00
Nigeria 70.00
Norway 71.00
Oman 60.00
Pakistan 35.00
Palau 56.00
Palestine 56.00
Panama 48.00
Papua New Guinea 64.00
Paraguay 31.00
Peru 58.00
Philippines 53.00
Poland 55.00
Portugal 60.00
Puerto Rico 50.00
Qatar 62.00
Romania 52.00
Russian Federation 57.00
-Moscow 71.00
-St. Petersburg 65.00
Rwanda 40.00
Saint Kitts and Nevis 61.00
Saint Lucia 76.00
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 72.00
Samoa 51.00
San Marino 55.00
Sao Tome and Principe 49.00
Saudi Arabia 63.00
Senegal 48.00
Serbia 53.00
Seychelles 69.00
Sierra Leone 41.00
Singapore 70.00
Slovakia 56.00
Slovenia 56.00
Solomon Islands 47.00
Somalia 40.00
South Africa 52.00
South Sudan 54.00
Spain 62.00
Sri Lanka 40.00
Sudan 54.00
Suriname 40.00
Swaziland 40.00
Sweden 66.00
Switzerland 74.00
Syria 58.00
Tadzhikistan 47.00
Taiwan 57.00
Tanzania 41.00
Thailand 56.00
Togo 47.00
Tonga 47.00
Trinidad and Tobago 70.00
Tunisia 56.00
Turkey 58.00
-Istanbul 60.00
Turkmenistan 59.00
Uganda 37.00
Ukraine 57.00
United Arab Emirates 67.00
United Kingdom 69.00
-London and Edinburgh 74.00
United States 65.00
-New York, Los Angeles, Washington 71.00
Uruguay 50.00
Uzbekistan 50.00
Vanuatu 57.00
Venezuela 61.00
Viet Nam 50.00
Virgin Islands (USA) 41.00
Yemen 50.00
Zimbabwe 45.00
Zambia 50.00
Any other country, not specified above 42.00

The per diem allowance concerns one day of travel i.e. 24 hours from the beginning of a business trip or 24 hours from the end of the preceding day of travel.

The maximum amount of per diem is defined on the basis of the country or region where the day of foreign travel ends. If the day of travel ends on a ship or airplane, the amount should be based on the country from where the ship or airplane last departed or, if leaving Finland, where it will first arrive.

Upon returning to Finland, the employee is entitled to half of the per diem for foreign travel paid for the last completed day of travel if the length of the business trip exceeds, by more than two hours, the last full day of travel that ended in foreign territory or in a ship or airplane departing from such territory.

If the length of a business trip exceeds, by more than ten hours, the last full day of travel, which ended in foreign territory or in a ship or airplane departing from such a territory, the employee is entitled to a per diem for foreign travel for the last full day of travel. The maximum amount payable for a day of travel or part thereof beginning after the employee returns to Finland must be determined as prescribed above in § 12.

For any business trip in foreign countries lasting a minimum of 10 hours, the employee is entitled to the confirmed amount for the relevant country. If the total duration of the trip is shorter than 10 hours the amount should be paid in accordance with the provisions and amounts applicable to domestic travel.

If the employee receives free meals or meals included in the price of a ticket or a hotel room the per diem must be reduced by 50 percent. For the purposes of calculation of per diems for foreign travel, two free meals constitute ‘free meals’.

If a business trip outside Finnish territory is made, the work being done under exceptional circumstances at the request of an employer located in Finland, and if the employee returns to Finnish territory for the night, and no per diem is being paid under § 12 above, the maximum allowance for business travel, by derogation from subparagraph 1 above is €18.00.

§ 14

Meal money can only be paid if no per diem is being paid, and the work assignment prevents the employee from having a meal at his normal eating-place during his meal break. The maximum amount is confirmed as €9.50.

If the employee has to have two meals at a place other than his normal eating-place during a business trip and no per diem is being paid the maximum meal money equals €19.00.

§ 15

The maximum allowance for accommodation payable over and above the per diem is the amount shown on a receipt or other reliable written proof provided by the accommodation establishment.

§ 16

The maximum allowance for accommodation payable, over and above the allowance for travel to the secondary workplace, is the amount shown on a receipt provided by the accommodation establishment, or a reasonable amount shown on other reliable written proof.

§ 17

An allowance for night travel is payable only if at least 4 hours (during a day of travel for which the employee is entitled to a per diem) are between the hours of 09:00 PM and 07:00 AM and if the employer does not arrange any free accommodation for the employee or pay him allowance for accommodation or for a sleeping car berth. The maximum allowance for night travel is €12.00.

§ 18

Seafarers: The foregoing provisions on allowances for travel expenses are applicable to the tax-exempt allowances under the law, payable to taxpayers earning seafarer’s income.

§ 19

This decision comes into force on January 1, 2013 and is applicable to business travel or part thereof taking place in 2013.

Helsinki, December 18, 2012.

Further explanation of the list of foreign territories where per diem allowances are paid (pdf)