Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but that doesn’t mean we all like sitting down to a full meal in the early hours. While most people have always been pretty flexible about what constitutes an acceptable breakfast, a court in the Germany city of Münster has recently decided that there are certain things that simply cannot be left out.
It all started when a software company began supplying free bread rolls and coffee for its 80 employees, as well as customers and guests. When the tax office heard of the offering, it dubbed the rolls and hot drinks a “free provision of a meal to the employee in the form of a breakfast”.
By applying this terminology, the tax office was able to demand an extra payment of €1.50 to €1.57 per employee per day, for the period covering December 2008 to December 2011. The extra payment would have totalled more than €100,000 (A$151,614, US$115,842).
When the software company objected, a judge accepted that the majority of the food was consumed during “paid working hours”, according to a translation of the judgment.
The offering included “cheese rolls, cheese and pumpkin rolls, raisin rolls, chocolate rolls and rye bread … in baskets on a buffet in the canteen the entire day for the employees and for customers and guests”. And while many of us might think that having a bit of variety with some flavoured bread rolls is enough to get us through the day, the judgment declares that “a simple roll and a drink do not fulfill the requirements of a meal.”
The judgment went on to say that the food provided did not meet with the “concept of breakfast” because “there were only the dry bread products, but not cold cuts” or any other toppings, which meant the software company won out and the tax office had to foot the bill for the court costs.