Trade professionals and freelance workers can apply the so-called basic global (“blanket”) accounting both to their operational expenditures and to the input tax deduction. This means that portions of the operational expenditures and input taxes are determined by means of a lump-sum rate. This does not have to be documented. Revenues, on the other hand, must always be recorded exactly.
Alongside the basic global accounting, there are special ordinances in place in terms of the consolidation in lump sums for trade professionals without mandatory accounting as well as for pharmacists, restaurateurs, trade representatives, food retailers and grocers, athletes, artists and writers as well as for small business owners (detailed information on the respective lump sum payments for individual industries can be found in our information sheets “Lump sum for trade professionals without mandatory accounting”, “Lump sum in the hotel and catering industry as of 2013”, “Lump sum for the food and groceries retail trade”, “Lump sum for pharmacists”, “Lump sum for operational expenditures and input tax for trade representatives” and “Lump sum for small business owners”.
Lump sum for operational expenditures
Prerequisites for the basic global (“blanket”) accounting are that
- there is no legal obligation to keep records (as in the case of a limited liability company, for example),
- double bookkeeping is not even voluntarily carried out,
- the company’s revenues in the previous year did not exceed € 220,000, and
- the tax return shows that blanket accounting is used.
A complete statement of revenues and expenditures can be prepared in tandem with this.
If an entrepreneur subject to mandatory accounting introduces blanket accounting for the first time, a transitional profit/loss must be determined.
The lump sum for operational expenditures amounts to 12% of the net turnover, subject to a maximum of €26,400.
For certain professions, the lump sum is 6%, maximum €13,200. This concerns income from asset management, wages and other remunerations from a substantial stake in a joint stock company (e.g. shareholder/managing director with a stake of more than 25%), income from activities as a writer, lecturer, scientist, teacher or educator as well as from commercial or technical consulting (consultant). If the activity goes beyond mere consultancy, the lump sum amounts to 12%. This applies, for instance, to the creation of construction plans, conducting of structural analyses, supervision of building works, hourly accounting and window dressing.
The following in particular are covered by the lump sum for operational expenditures of 12% or 6%, respectively:
depreciation on investments, expenditures for energy procurement, rent, repairs, telephone, interest, tools, consumables, insurance policies, advertising, travel expenses, etc. Costs for tax consultancy can be deducted as special expenses.
The lump sum is basically a net value, so no turnover tax may be deducted from the lump sum for operational expenditures. With regard to sales tax exemption without credit (e.g. as small business owner), which entails the loss of the right to an input tax deduction, however the non-deductible sales tax apportionable to the lump sum operational expenditures is a cost factor under the gross system and thus deductible from the income tax in addition to the lump sum.
As of the 2019 assessment, the simplifying option of reducing profits by the amount of the calculated input tax lump sum for the sales tax attributable to lump sum operational expenditures will no longer apply to entrepreneurs who are not genuinely exempt nor to non-entrepreneurs. Since no other blanket approach is possible either, starting 2019 only sales tax actually spent (=non-deductible input tax) can be deducted from the profits in addition to the lump sum operational expenditures.
Apart from the lump sum, the following expenditures reduce the profit:
- Goods receipt according to the goods receipt book (merchandise, raw materials, semi-finished goods, auxiliary materials and ingredients)
- Wages, salaries and ancillary wage costs (employer contribution to the statutory social insurance, employer contribution to the family assistance fund, municipal taxes, provisions for severance pay)
- Third-party wages insofar as they enter into the deliveries or services
- Contributions of the entrepreneur to compulsory insurance (health, accident, pension) and contributions to unemployment insurance and mandatory contributions to company pension schemes
- Travel and transport expenses, provided that they are offset by a reimbursement of costs in the same amount; these travel and transport expenses reduce the assessment basis for calculating the lump sum for operational expenditures.
Operating revenues (turnover) must at all times be consistently registered and recorded in their actual amount.
Transit items, i.e. amounts received and passed on on behalf of and for the account of another person, are to be recorded neither as revenues nor as expenditures.
Example: € €
Turnover (net) 200,000
Actual travel and transport expenses reimbursement 1,000
Total operating revenues 201,000
Goods purchase (net) - 90,000
Labour costs - 40,000
Ancillary wage costs (municipal tax (KommSt), employer contribution to social insurance (GKK), employer contributions and employer-contribution surcharge (DB and DZ) - 19,200
Third-party wages (net) 2,000
Commercial Social Insurance - 6,000
Actual travel and transport expenses reimbursement - 1,000
12% lump sum for operational expenditures of € 200,000 - 24,000
Total operational expenditures - 182,200
Tax-free profit allowance (13%) - 2,444
Approach in the case of gross accounting
If revenues and expenditures are recorded as gross sums (including sales tax), then the sales tax liability is another operational expenditure and a sales tax credit an operational income.
The actual input tax from the “global” operational expenditures can then be deducted, decreasing the profit, if only the lump sum for operational expenditures has been made use of.
If the input tax is also determined on a blanket basis (globally), the lump-sum input tax and the input tax from asset purchases must be recorded additionally as operational expenditures.
In principle, the entrepreneur has the option of recording revenues and expenditures as gross (gross approach) or as net (net approach). In practice, the net approach has largely prevailed.
If the lump sum for input tax is applied in the sales tax (1.8% of turnover, see below under “Lump sum for input tax”), it is mandatory to prepare the statement of revenues and expenditures according to the gross approach.
Comparison of advantages
In order to be able to decide whether basic global accounting or the recording of all operational expenditures is more advantageous, a comparative calculation with the figures of the previous year should be performed.
This has but little effect on recording obligations: The current revenues, sales tax, input tax, goods purchase and wages must be recorded as before. Only the register of assets no longer has to be maintained because the depreciation of fixed assets is covered by the operational expenditures lump sum. It is advisable to continue the register of assets because you might opt for the preparation of a statement of revenues and expenditures at some time in the future.
Every entrepreneur is free to switch back from basic global accounting to the statement of revenues and expenditures. After that, another switch to basic global accounting is possible at the earliest after the expiration of 5 fiscal years.
The decision whether the operational expenditures lump sum is to be made use of must be taken at the latest upon submission of the tax return. This does not require a separate application, but the tax return must show that blanket accounting is used. This is done in form E1a by placing a checkmark on the first page and by entering the determined lump-sum operational expenditures under item 9259.
Lump sum for input tax
In addition to the lump sum for expenses for income tax purposes, businesses whose turnover in the previous year does not exceed € 220,000 also have the option of a lump sum for input tax of 1.8% of the net turnover (without turnover from auxiliary transactions, e.g. asset sales, maximum of €3,960, and turnover which is tax-free or non-taxable).
Since 2016, the requirements for a lump-sum determination of deductible input tax amounts have been aligned with the requirements for a lump-sum determination of operational expenditures. If there is an obligation to keep records or if records are kept on a voluntary basis, the application of the basic global (“blanket”) accounting for input tax is therefore excluded.
Beside the lump sum, the input tax (acquisition tax, import turnover tax) for the following are taken into account:
- purchase or production of fixed assets that cost more than €1,100 net as well as land without a de minimis limit forming part of the fixed assets,
- goods, raw materials, semi-finished goods, auxiliary materials, ingredients,
- third-party wages.
The use of the lump sum for input tax is declared by an informal notification to the fiscal authorities. To this end, the sum of the lump sum input tax must be entered into Item 084 of the annual sales tax return U1. This can be done until the annual sales tax assessment enters into legal force.
The declaration commits the entrepreneur for at least 2 calendar years. It can be revoked only with effect from the beginning of a calendar year. The revocation must be declared in writing to the fiscal authorities before the assessment enters into legal force. Switching back to lump sum input tax is possible at the earliest after the expiration of five calendar years.
Basic global accounting for income tax and sales tax can be opted for independently of one another (if basic global accounting is used only in relation to input tax, it is mandatory to prepare the revenues and expenditures statement according to the gross approach, as already pointed out.)
Relation to tax-free profit
If the profit is calculated based on average rates or partial or full lump sums, the basic tax-free amount of the profit can be claimed, but not an investment-based tax-free allowance.
If an investment-based, tax-free amount of profit is to be claimed in addition to the basic tax-free allowance (e.g. with regard to investments in specific fixed assets or the purchase of discounted securities), basic global accounting must be waived and all operational expenditures documented. Please refer to the “Tax-free profit allowance” information leaflet.
If the basic lump-sum taxation is used, the separately deductible operational expenditures must be kept for seven years in addition to the business income, and a goods receipt book as well as wage accounts must be kept. In principle, an asset register is not required, as depreciation is covered by the flat-rate operational expenditures allowance. However, due to a possible transition to double-entry bookkeeping or revenues-expenditure accounting later, it is recommended that you (continue to) keep the asset register. Insofar as input tax is calculated as a lump sum, the turnover for the services covered by the lump sum calculation and the input tax attributable thereto or the records for the corresponding acquisitions are exempt from the obligation to keep and retain records. Insofar as the actual input taxes are claimed, there is no change in the record-keeping and storage obligations compared to double-entry bookkeeping or revenues-expenditure accounting.