This article provides answers to frequently asked questions. The article lists possible questions from employees as well as questions from employers.

Employee

How do I submit receipts?

Receipts can be submitted via the Circula mobile app. The "Benefits" tab is used for this purpose. Click on the blue plus button, scan your receipt and submit it.

By when must my receipts be submitted?

Receipts to be subsidized for a month must always be submitted within the month of issuance or by the third day of the following month in order to be effective in the calculation of the subsidy. This means that all receipts from July must be submitted to Circula no later than August 3.

Can the submitted receipts be viewed?

The submitted receipts can be viewed at any time in the "Benefits" tab. Each submission is also provided with a review status.

On how many days can I submit receipts?

You can submit receipts on as many days of the month as you wish, but you may claim a maximum of 15 days per month. So at the end of the month we will select the 15 most advantageous days for you.

How do I submit multiple receipts in one day?

Receipts from multiple points of purchase may be submitted daily if they are combined into one meal. The receipts can be collected and submitted together (up to 3 receipts can be added to a submission).

If a receipt is added later, it can also be submitted separately (Circula adds the receipts of a day together at the end of the month and calculates the daily reimbursement amount).

Can I also submit beverages?

Beverages may also be submitted if they are usually consumed in connection with a meal. Drinks containing alcohol are excluded from this.

In order for us to be able to verify that a beverage was consumed in connection with a meal, beverages should always be submitted together with other foodstuffs. The items can, of course, be on more than one receipt.

Why are meal benefits not available on every day?

The number of days the employee can receive a benefit is limited to the number of days the employee is not sick or on a business trip. This information must be provided by the employer. To avoid having to provide this information, the number of days per month may be limited to 15 days (R 8.1 (7) 4.2). However, submissions can be made on more days, we will select the 15 most advantageous for you at the end of the month.

Do I have to keep the receipts?

Circula stores receipts in an audit-proof manner. Unless your company expresses other requirements, receipts do not need to be stored. However, we advise you to keep the receipts until the controlling is done in Circula.

Can I use Circula Benefits when I am in the home office?

Yes! In the home office, the use of Circula Benefits is possible under the same conditions.

Can I use Circula Benefits during short-time work?

Yes! The allowance is only omitted in the case of "short-time work 0" (100% loss of working hours).

Can I use Circula Benefits when I am on a business trip?

No! On a business trip, per diems can be paid out, the subsidy through meal vouchers is therefore not possible here.

Can I use Circula Benefits on days with short away days?

If the employee performed both an outside activity and work at his/her normal place of work on one day, he/she can use Circula Benefits on that day if he/she did not claim a tax-free per diem meal allowance and the outside activity lasted less than 8 hours.

Can I submit receipts from abroad?

The submitting employee's first place of work must be in Germany, and the employee must be subject to tax and social security contributions in Germany. In addition, the employee must not be on a business trip. If these requirements are met, the employee can submit receipts from abroad.

Note: At the moment currency conversion cannot be offered, so we cannot accept receipts with foreign currencies.

How do I receive the reimbursement from the employer?

The reimbursement is made in the following month together with your salary. You therefore receive the allowance conveniently directly into your account.

Can I buy in advance for more than one meal?

No. For each working day and each subsidized meal, only one subsidy can be recognized at the official non-cash remuneration value. If the employee purchases additional meals for other days in stock on the same day, subsidies granted for this must be recorded as cash wages.

Are there any costs for me as an employee?

No. The costs of using Circula are borne by your employer. For you as an employee the net salary simply increases.

Will the data be saved when I change my smartphone?

Yes, your data will be saved in the Circula app. You can log in with your new smartphone.

Can I opt out of this contract at a later date?

If you decide not to use Circula Benefits in the future, simply contact your company's HR department and have your gross salary reset to the original amount.

Will my data be kept confidential?

Yes. Circula ensures that your data is secure. You can find all information about data protection at Circula here.

Salary conversion: Why is there talk of a waiver? And why is the subsidy voluntary?

Our goal is to provide you with a tax-free allowance. The tax office requires that part of the allowance be taxed in return. Your employer pays these taxes for you. The prerequisite is that the subsidy granted is not a so-called salary component (i.e. a fixed, regular component of your normal salary).

This follows from Section 40, Paragraph 2, No. 1 of the German Income Tax Act (EStG).

For this reason, it is necessary that you first contractually waive the amount, which you will receive again as a tax-free credit in the second step. The allowance itself is then both voluntary and in addition to the existing salary.

This results in accordance with R 8.1 para. 7 no. 4 lit. c) LStR.

Salary conversion: Why do I get less salary in the first month?

Since the reimbursement of the submitted receipts always takes place in the following month, you will only receive the reduced gross salary in the first month of use! In all subsequent months, the reduced gross salary is then offset again by the allowance. In the last month of use or the employment contract, the difference from the first month is then made up again.

Employers

What effort does Circula Benefits mean for my company?

Circula Benefits consists of far less effort than traditional paper meal vouchers. By processing and controlling the submitted vouchers through Circula, you as an employer only have to import an export file into his payroll system at the end of the month.

How are the meal allowance and flat-rate taxes calculated?

In its decision of August 20, 1997 (BStBl. II p. 667), the Federal Fiscal Court (BFH) ruled that employers and employees may, by mutual agreement, replace cash wages with a benefit in kind without further ado.

Meal allowances that do not exceed the threshold amount can be valued as a meal taken by the respective employee at the official non-cash remuneration value and taxed at a flat rate of 25%. In the case of lump-sum taxation, the non-cash benefit is exempt from social insurance § 1 para. 1 SvEV. The amount in excess of (a maximum of) EUR 3.10 represents a tax-free allowance from the employer. Additional payments made by the employee for the meal are to be offset against the lump-sum taxable non-cash benefit.

Can Circula Benefits be used by employees who work in a home office?

Yes! In the home office, the use of Circula Benefits is possible under the same conditions.

Can Circula Benefits be used by employees on short-time work?

Yes! The subsidy does not apply only in the case of "short-time work 0" (100% work loss).

Can Circula Benefits be used by employees who have been sick for half a day?

Since the employer can eliminate the need to monitor days of absence by awarding a fixed number of meal vouchers each month (15 meal vouchers for full-time employees, etc.), half days of illness do not affect the awarding of meal vouchers.

Can Circula Benefits be used on business trips or away from home?

No. Since the employee is entitled to a per diem allowance when traveling, benefits cannot be used on travel days.

Since when are digital meal vouchers allowed?

Since 02.02.2016, digital meal vouchers are possible in addition to physical meal vouchers (BStBl 2016 I p. 238).

How does Circula ensure data protection?

All information on data protection at Circula can be found here.

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