Salary payments by third parties
von Peter Scheller
Sometimes employees receive wage payments by third parties. This happens within company groups or through benefits granted by business partners.
This occurs, for example, in the following cases:
- discounts granted by business partners (for example: discounts on purchase prices by car manufacturers granted to employees of contract distributors)
- granting stock options by the parent company to employees of subsidiaries
- Providing cars for business and private use to employees of other group members (using quantity discounts on purchasing cars from the same manufacturer)
The individual work performance and the benefit by the third party have to be connected. However, it is not required that the employer has to reimburse any amounts to the third party (for example, parent company or business partner).
The employer has to withdraw the withholding wage tax and has to fulfil all other legal requirements if
- the benefit is granted in connection with the employment and
- the employer knows or may suspect that respective benefits are granted.
The employer has the obligation to acquire data necessary to process a correct pay slip. If the employee provides no information or obviously wrong data, the employer is obliged to inform the tax office. If the employer does not inform the tax office he is liable for wage tax and social security payments on these benefits.
Author: Peter Scheller, German Tax Adviser – Master of International Taxation