How to Apply for Per Diem: A Guide for Employees

by | May 30, 2024 | Erasmus+ Projects, Guidelines | 0 comments

When traveling for business purposes, it is essential to manage expenses efficiently. To facilitate this process, our company uses Per Diem, a daily allowance for employees to cover expenses incurred during work-related travel. This guide provides a step-by-step approach to how employees can apply for Per Diem, including explanations of German terms for non-German speakers.

What is Per Diem?

An allowance is a fixed daily allowance given to employees to cover travel-related expenses such as meals, accommodation, and incidental costs. It simplifies the reimbursement process by eliminating the need for itemized receipts for each expense.

How to Apply for Per Diem: Steps to Apply for Per Diem

1. Before the Trip: Planning and Documentation

  • Check transportation routes, such as flights and buses, according to your destination. Make sure you plan your trip to arrive in advance of the time you need to arrive in order to find the most economical flights.
  • If accommodation is required, you can use the Info Pack provided by the project partners if you are going to one of the partner countries, or you can choose economical accommodation options according to the partners’ recommendations.
  • Once you have found the most suitable transportation and accommodation options, contact your director for approval to book your transport tickets and hotel.
  • Keep receipts and confirmation documents for all payments made before your trip. These documents should be stored in the relevant subfolders of the project in iCloud; contact the project manager and forward them to him/her.

2. Filling Per Diem (Reisekosten) Form

Use the provided Per Diem claim form (Reisekosten-Formular) to detail your travel. The form typically includes sections for the trip’s start and end dates, travel purpose, destinations, and a breakdown of costs covered under Per Diem. You can download the sample form here.

Sample Per Diem Form

Explanation of German Terms:

  • Name: Name
  • Beginn: Start date
  • Ende: End date
  • Inlandsreise/Auslandsreise: Domestic/foreign travel
  • Anlass: Purpose of travel
  • Reiseziele: Travel destinations
  • Steuerliche Zuordnung: Tax classification – You can use this term for business travel, “Arbeitnehmertätigkeit”
  • Pkw im Betriebsvermögen: Company car
  • Privat-Pkw: Private car
  • Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel: Public transportation
  • Verpflegungsmehraufwand: Additional meal expenses
  • Übernachtungskosten: Accommodation costs
  • Nebenkosten: Incidental expenses

Sections of the Per Diem Claim Form:

  1. Personal Information:
  • Name
  • Travel start and end dates
  • Purpose of travel: Write this section the Project name, activity number and name (e.g. Netyouth-A3.LTTA (Mobility) in Bucharest)
  • Travel destinations

2. Travel Costs:

  • Transportation- Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel: Record details of transportation used and attach relevant receipts.
  • Meals and Incidental Expenses – Verpflegungsmehraufwand: Calculate the total daily Per Diem and multiply by the number of travel days. Daily meal allowances for travel within Germany are indicated under the “Inland” section of the form. For the allowance amounts for foreign travel, it is necessary to check the rates set by the Federal Ministry of Finance on a country-by-country basis. Note the difference in allowance between travel days and full days; travel days count as half days, while a full day is paid more.
  • Lodging Costs – Übernachtungskosten: Note actual lodging expenses if they exceed the Per Diem allowance and attach receipts.

How to Apply for Per Diem: German Tax Law and Per Diem Rates

According to German tax law, the Per Diem rates are established annually and vary depending on the destination and duration of travel. For example, the Federal Ministry of Finance (Bundesministerium der Finanzen) provides updated rates for different countries, which can be found here . These rates include allowances for meals and overnight stays.

Examples of 2024 Per Diem Rates for Overseas Travel:

  • France (Paris):
    • Full day (24 hours): €58
    • Partial day (more than 8 hours): €39
    • Overnight stay: €159
  • Türkiye (Istanbul):
    • Full day (24 hours): €26
    • Partial day (more than 8 hours): €17
    • Overnight stay: €120

3. Submit your Per Diem

Sign the completed form and submit it along with any required receipts to the finance department for approval and processing.

Tips for a Smooth Per Diem Application:

  • Stay Organized: Keep all travel-related documents and receipts in one place to avoid misplacing them.
  • Understand the Policy: Familiarize yourself with the company’s travel policy, including Per Diem rates and eligible expenses, before traveling.
  • Prompt Submission: Submit your Per Diem claim as soon as possible after returning from your trip to ensure timely reimbursement.

Reimbursement of non-employees and external participants

Per Diem is only used to document the expenses of company employees.

In order to be reimbursed for the expenses incurred by persons participating in project activities outside the company, all relevant invoices and receipts must be submitted to L4Y. You should then prepare a letter similar to this sample letter to report these expenditures to accounting.

How to Apply for Per Diem: Conclusion

Applying for an allowance is a simple process designed to make business travel more manageable for employees. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure a smooth experience when claiming your travel expenses.

You can find more guidelines about EU projects here.

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