Austria: bonus miles earned through business trips are subject to income tax

In a recently published judgement, Austrian Admnistrative Court (VwGH) decided that bonus miles of a frequent flyer programme earned by an employee on business trips are a taxable benefit arising from the employer-employee relationship, if used for the employee’s private purposes: even if only individual persons are eligable to participate in frequent flyer programmes while companies are excluded, miles earned on business trips are occasioned in the context of the employer-employee relationship and therefore constitute income from employment if used privately.However, these benefits do neither constitute any wage tax liabilities of the employer nor any obligation of the employer to monitor the use of bonus miles.Income tax therefore must be paid by the employee himself as soon as the bonus miles are redeemed for goods or services. The mere credit of miles doesn’t create any tax obligation.Judgment 2007/15/0293 of April 29, 2010 available in German here>>.

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