The government recently launched a new package of support measures for individuals and businesses (see our infoflash of 15 February). These include tax measures and, in particular, the temporary increase in the home working allowance.
Homework and reimbursement of expenses
In principle, all allowances received as a result of or in connection with the professional activity are taxable as remuneration. However, an allowance may be regarded as a tax-free reimbursement of expenses specific to the employer when the employer can prove that the allowance is intended to cover expenses which are specific to him and that the allowance has actually been spent on such expenses.
Employers may determine such allowances on a flat-rate basis. It is currently possible to grant a flat-rate office allowance of up to €129.48 per month (in force since 1 April 2020) to workers who telework, provided that certain conditions are met.
New for Spring 2021
Employees will be able to receive a higher tax-free allowance for three months to compensate for the costs of homeworking.
The maximum homework allowance will be increased from April to June 2021. The currently applicable amount of €129.48 will be increased to €144.31 in the second quarter of 2021.
The conditions for granting this temporarily increased allowance have yet to be specified.
What about the NSSO?
Currently, the maximum ceiling of €129.48 per month is accepted by the NSSO.
The position of the NSSO with regard to the temporary increase of this ceiling is not yet known, although it seems likely that the maximum amount provided for in tax terms will also apply in social terms.
Sources: Press release of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Vincent Van Peteghem of 12 February 2021, https://vanpeteghem.belgium.be/fr/le-ministre-van-peteghem-prend-des-mesures-fiscales-de-soutien-aux-familles-et-aux-entrepreneursand Government Agreement of 12 February 2021, https://news.belgium.be/fr/le-gouvernement-federal-prolonge-et-etend-le-train-de-mesures