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Stop Press – for all German lorry drivers: The German Finance Ministry has just issued a 2 page instruction to all regional tax officials requiring that for tax purposes a mere estimate of how often lorry drivers need to make use of lavatorial facilities when on the road is no longer adequate.
Until now lorry drivers were able to claim for expenditure incurred when going to the toilet or using the showers at motorway service stations using a simple estimate of the typical frequency of their daily dusch and fecal relief visits.
This approach, however, will not be adequate going forward. Drivers will need to keep a toilet and shower dairy and keep note of every detailed expenditure incurred (with appropriate receipts). It would appear that the fiscal authorities have not had a great deal of confidence in the accuracy of the estimates used by drivers in their tax returns to date. Presumably some unscrupulous lorry drivers have been claiming for fecal relief visits when they simply have not been to the toilet. At this point in time I cannot confirm the exact level of detail that will be required. For example I am not sure if the drivers will also need to keep a record of the number of squares of toilet paper they use during each visit (I had picked up an ugly rumour that the tax authorities would only allow fiscal relief on the cost of up to 20 standard squares per visit. This could help to minimise the impact on the environment of using too much toilet paper: However I am rather cautious about the validity of this source as it was apparently written on the wall of a motorway service cubicle).
For any worried German lorry drivers reading this article I would point them to the original German language source of this news in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung (the link can be found here).
Clearly in times of austerity it is refreshing to hear that the German Fiscal Authorities have once again demonstrated a flair for innovation by closing a potential loop-hole in the toilet relief area. Perhaps we should all follow the lead of the lorry drivers and pay closer attention to the frequency and expenditure of our bathroom visits. I for one think it would be an excellent idea if toilet paper manufacturers start numbering the squares on toilet rolls – this might help to bring those people in the office under control who use copious amounts of paper when quite frankly just a few squares would suffice. Trust is fine but control is always better – especially behind closed doors (and don’t ask me to mention the Scottish gentleman in my office who always leaves the toilet on a Friday afternoon with his rucksack looking decidedly fuller than when he entered!).