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Log Book

German tax men eager to boost revenues in the current economic crisis have scrapped a flat rate tax break to cover the cost of toilet breaks for lorry drivers.

Instead they want the country's 1.5 million truck drivers to keep a 'log book' detailing how long and how often they go to the toilet.

Up until now the truckers have been allowed to claim 5 euros per day on the road - but from now on they need to keep a detailed account of their every movement - noting where they stopped and how much they spent ín order to justify a tax rebate.

On German autobahns there is a charge for the use of the toilet, but this is usually paid in exchange for a voucher that can be offset against the cost of a meal - meaning toilet usage is effectively free for anyone who buys a drink or food.

And that means truckers that get 5 euros in tax breaks are getting a rebate on a cost they never had - a loophole the taxman wants to close.

A German tax spokesman said: "The flat rate harks back to a time when there was a collection plate and no chance of a receipt for toilet usage - now the system is automated and there are receipts - and we want truckers to justify their claims. But it won't be needed for the whole year, just three months - and that will be then used as a basis to estimate the rest of the year."

Uwe Rauhoeft from the Neuen Verband der Lohnsteuerhilfevereine – an umbrella group that represents income tax advisors – said the move was too complicated and urged a rethink.

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