Wednesday, December 1

SPÖ calls for reform of the commuter allowance

The SPÖ criticizes a clear imbalance in the social balance of the commuter allowance and calls for a reform. This should relieve small and medium incomes and strengthen climate protection. “We want a climate bonus instead of an SUV bonus,” said SPÖ vice club boss Jörg Leichtfried today. Industrial workers and the “heroines and heroes of the crisis” in particular cannot work from home. You would therefore hit the high fuel prices particularly hard.

“The current commuter flat rate clearly favors people with higher incomes. Regardless of whether someone travels with a ‘petrol eater’ or takes the train – the higher the income, the greater the tax savings, ”says Leichtfried. This is due to the fact that the commuter flat-rate in Austria is designed as a tax-free allowance – the higher the income, the higher the flat-rate that the commuter gets back from the state. In addition, the flat rate does not take into account whether someone drives by car or – reasonably accessible – public transport.

Leichtfried presented a sample calculation

As an example, Leichtfried named two commuters from Mödling (Lower Austria) to Vienna: an employee with monthly earnings of 8,000 euros and an employee with 1,800 euros gross. He drives by car and receives a tax credit of 408 euros a year from the commuter allowance; she travels by train and only receives a credit of 234 euros. Leichtfried refers to a study by the VCÖ, according to which the top income quarter receives 13 times as much from the commuter allowance as the lower income quarter.

Its counter-model is the “commuter flat rate plus”. The current model has to be converted from a tax-free allowance into a tax credit that is based on the kilometer. “There is a fixed base amount of 200 euros for the first 20 kilometers. From 20 km there is a deduction that is deducted directly from the tax liability and thus goes 1: 1 into the wallet. In addition, everyone who actually uses public transport should receive the new, large commuter flat rate in the future, ”says Leichtfried about the APA.

Explanation: The large lump sum has to be paid if the use of a means of mass transport is unreasonable. Over a million people are currently entitled to the commuter allowance.

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