In view of rising energy prices, Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has shown himself open to a significant increase in the commuter allowance from next year.
Lindner told the German Press Agency on Tuesday: “Many people have to commute to work every day. They are particularly affected by high energy costs. We should also relieve this working center of society in the future. I am open to significantly increasing the commuter allowance from next year. The increase should take effect from the first kilometer and should not only apply to long-distance commuters.”
The flat rate applies regardless of the chosen means of transport, it sets incentives for cost- and energy-saving behavior. “In this respect, there is no reason why an increase and expansion of the commuter allowance should be rejected,” says Lindner.
Up to the 20th kilometer the flat rate is currently 30 cents per kilometer. In spring, as part of a relief package, the coalition decided on a higher flat rate for long-distance commuters – these are citizens who have to drive 21 or more kilometers to work. Retroactive to January 1, they can count 38 cents per kilometer, three cents more than before. This applies until 2026.
The commuter allowance is part of the income-related expenses in the tax return. At the same time, the coalition had agreed to reorganize the lump sum in this legislative period and to take better account of ecological and social concerns.
SPD parliamentary group leader Achim Post is also open to a higher commuter allowance. When asked by the dpa news agency, Post said: “Basically, in my view, an increase in the commuter allowance from the 1st kilometer can certainly be an instrument to create effective further relief for employees, especially in rural areas.”
Post said studies show that the traffic light coalition’s relief packages so far are starting to have an effect. The increase in the long-distance commuter allowance that has already been decided will also have a noticeable relief effect, especially for commuters in rural areas.
“But it is also true that if energy prices continue to rise, further relief is required,” said the SPD politician. “I welcome the fact that Finance Minister Lindner is also open to further relief measures.” These would then have to be financed in such a way that social benefits and future investments are maintained at a high level. “I still think it is too early to debate further individual relief measures. It is clear, however, that ultimately it must always be about a balanced overall package of possible further relief measures, which must be targeted and socially just in its overall effect.”