Travel Management

Business Travel Tax: a Practical Guide

John Iversen
Growth Marketer

Paying tax on business travel can seem complex, but a good understanding of the tax rules can simplify the process. Whether you are a business travel professional, an Office Manager, a Travel Manager, a Human Resources Manager or an Administrative and Financial Director, it is crucial to be aware of the various deduction possibilities and the associated tax obligations. This introduction will guide you through the essential steps for correctly declaring your business travel expenses and optimising your tax situation.

Deductible business travel expenses

Deductible expenses for business travel include several categories of expenses that you can declare to reduce your taxes. Here are the main deductible expenses:

Transport costs

  • Train, plane or bus tickets: The cost of train, plane or bus tickets is deductible.
  • Mileage: If you use your own vehicle, you can deduct mileage costs according to the current tax scale.
  • Car rental: Car rental costs for business travel are also deductible.

Accommodation expenses

  • Hotels : Hotel expenses incurred during a business trip are deductible.
  • Temporary rentals: The cost of renting apartments or houses for short-term stays can also be deducted.

Meal expenses

  • Restaurant meals : Meals taken in restaurants during business trips are deductible.
  • Meals at work: If you have to eat at your temporary workplace, these expenses can also be deducted.

Communication expenses

  • Telephone and internet : Telephone and internet costs incurred for business purposes are deductible.

Other expenses

  • Parking expenses : Parking costs related to business travel are deductible.
  • Toll charges: The cost of motorway tolls can also be deducted.
  • Representation expenses: Expenses incurred for meetings or professional events can be deducted.

It is important to keep all receipts for these expenses, so that you can present them in the event of a tax audit.

How do I declare business travel expenses?

To declare business travel expenses, it's essential to follow certain steps and comply with the tax rules in force. Here's a detailed guide to help you get started:

1. Collect supporting documents

Be sure to keep all receipts for your expenses, such as :

  • Transport tickets (train, plane, bus)
  • Hotel and catering bills
  • Car rental receipts
  • Toll and parking tickets
  • Mileage records if you use your own vehicle

2. Calculate deductible expenses

Add up all your business travel expenses. If you use your own vehicle, calculate mileage expenses using the current tax scale.

3. Completing the tax return

On your tax return, you must indicate business travel expenses in the section dedicated to actual expenses. Here's how to do it:

  • Form 2042: Complete box 1AK for transportation expenses, 1BK for meal expenses, and 1CK for other expenses.
  • Form 2042 RICI: If you have training or dual residence expenses, use this form to declare them.

4. Attach supporting documents

Although you are not obliged to attach supporting documents to your tax return, you must keep them for at least three years in case of a tax audit.

5. Check ceilings and conditions

Make sure your travel expenses comply with the limits and conditions set by the tax authorities. For example, meal expenses are deductible up to a certain amount per day.

6. Consult a chartered accountant

If you have any doubts or specific questions, it may be useful to consult a chartered accountant or tax advisor to ensure that you are declaring your business travel expenses correctly.

By following these steps, you'll be able to declare your business travel expenses accurately and in compliance with tax requirements.

Tax benefits for business travel

Business travel can offer a number of tax advantages, enabling employees and companies to reduce their tax burden. Here are the main tax benefits associated with business travel:

1. Deduction of actual expenses

Employees can choose to deduct their actual travel expenses instead of the flat-rate 10% allowance for business expenses. This option is advantageous if actual expenses exceed the fixed allowance. Deductible expenses include :

  • Transportation costs (train, plane, bus tickets, fuel, etc.)
  • Meal expenses
  • Accommodation costs
  • Communication costs (telephone, internet)

2. Kilometric scale

Employees using their personal vehicles for business travel can deduct mileage expenses using the current tax scale. This scale takes into account the distance traveled and the type of vehicle used, enabling a flat-rate sum per kilometer to be deducted.

3. Travel allowance exemption

Travel allowances paid by employers to cover the cost of transport, meals and accommodation may be exempt from income tax, subject to certain conditions. These allowances must be justified and must not exceed the ceilings set by the tax authorities.

4. Double residence fees

Employees who are obliged to maintain a dual residence for professional reasons can deduct the additional expenses incurred by this situation. This includes accommodation, transport between the two residences and meal expenses.

5. Training tax credit

Travel expenses incurred for professional training may be eligible for a tax credit. This tax credit is designed to encourage continuing education and the development of professional skills.

6. Deductible VAT

Companies can reclaim VAT on business travel expenses, such as transport, accommodation and catering, provided that these expenses are justified and related to the business activity.

7. Reduced payroll taxes

Travel allowances paid by employers may be exempt from social security contributions, provided they comply with the ceilings and conditions set by the tax authorities.

By taking advantage of these tax benefits, employees and companies can optimize their tax returns and reduce the tax burden associated with business travel.

Freelance administration allows consultants to deduct their professional expenses to optimise their income. These professional expenses are divided into two categories: those invoiced to the client (assignment costs) and those linked to the running of the business (operating costs). Mission expenses include travel, accommodation and meals, while operating expenses cover supplies, subscriptions, etc.

Common mistakes to avoid when making declarations

When filing business travel-related taxes, it's crucial to avoid certain common mistakes that could result in tax penalties or reassessments. Here are the main mistakes to avoid:

1. Do not keep receipts

One of the most common mistakes is not keeping receipts for expenses incurred. It is essential to keep all receipts, invoices and other proof of payment for at least three years in case of a tax audit.

2. Deduct ineligible expenses

Make sure that the expenses you deduct are actually eligible. For example, personal or leisure expenses cannot be deducted as business expenses.

3. Forgetting to declare benefits received

If you have received travel allowances from your employer, you must declare them. These allowances may be tax-exempt under certain conditions, but they must be mentioned on your tax return.

4. Do not use the appropriate mileage scale

If you deduct travel expenses using your personal vehicle, make sure you use the appropriate mileage scale. This scale varies according to the tax rating of your vehicle and the distance travelled.

5. Exceeding authorized limits

Certain expenses, such as meals and accommodation, are deductible up to certain limits set by the tax authorities. Make sure you do not exceed these ceilings to avoid a tax reassessment.

6. Do not declare dual residence expenses correctly

If you deduct dual residence expenses, make sure you comply with the eligibility conditions and declare these expenses correctly. Dual residence expenses must be justified for professional reasons and cannot be deducted if the dual residence is chosen for personal reasons.

7. Omit training costs

Travel expenses incurred to attend professional training courses may be deducted or qualify for a tax credit. Don't forget to include them in your tax return if you are entitled to them.

8. Do not consult a chartered accountant

If you have any doubts or specific questions about declaring your travel expenses, we recommend that you consult a chartered accountant or tax consultant. They can help you avoid errors and optimize your declaration.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you'll be able to declare your business travel expenses accurately and in line with tax requirements, reducing the risk of penalties or tax adjustments.

In conclusion, tax returns for business travel require special attention and a thorough knowledge of the tax rules in force. By correctly deducting actual expenses, respecting mileage scales, and taking into account travel allowances and international tax treaties, professionals can optimize their tax situation. It is essential to keep all supporting documents and, if necessary, to consult a chartered accountant to ensure the conformity and accuracy of the declaration. Rigorous, well-informed management of business travel not only ensures compliance with tax obligations, but also enables you to benefit from the tax advantages available.

More reads

See Fairjungle in action.

Take back control of your business travel! Discover the new-generation corporate travel agency.

Merci pour votre inscription !
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.