The mobility budget evolves: on the road to success?

Author: Laurence Philippe (Legal Expert)
Date:

Thanks to the mobility budget created by the law of 17 March 2019, employers who wish to do so can offer an alternative to their employees who have a company car. A bill proposing a series of adjustments that should win over employers has been adopted by the Chamber.

Recap: mobility budget?

A mobility budget can be implemented by employers who provide their employees with a company car.

An employee who has a company car or is entitled to a company car can exchange this car or his entitlement to a car for a mobility budget. This budget can be spent on 3 pillars:

  1. An environmentally friendly car;
  2. Sustainable means of transport;
  3. The balance paid out in cash.

These 3 pillars are subject to an advantageous social security and tax treatment. For pillar 1 (the car) the same tax and social security treatment applies as for other company cars. Pillar 2 is fully exempt, both on tax level as on social security level. Finally, the special contribution of 38.07% is levied only on the balance at the end of the year.

Amendments to the mobility budget

The bill aims to amend the mobility budget to make it more attractive and facilitate its implementation by companies. The broad principles of this amendment are:

  • Simplification;
  • Relaxation;
  • Extension of sustainable means of transport;
  • Legal certainty (given the current FAQ).

Unless otherwise stipulated, the amendments below are effective from 1 January 2022.

Employees concerned

To be eligible for a mobility budget, the employee who disposes of a company car or who is eligible for this, must have disposed of that company car for at least 12 months during the 36 months preceding his application and during 3 months at the time of the application. This anti-abuse provision will be eliminated for all employees. So there is no longer a distinction between new employees, old employees and employees who get a promotion.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

The calculation of the TCO can be laid down in a Royal Decree that will provide for two formulas: one based on the actual costs, the other based on flat-rate values. When this Royal Decree is published, discussions on this subject will be avoided.

According to the recommendation of the social partners, the amount of the mobility budget must lie between EUR 3,000 and EUR 16,000 and may not exceed 20% of the total gross salary.

For employees who use the company car for professional purposes, it becomes possible to deduct the costs resulting from the use of the car for professional purposes from the mobility budget. This will only be possible if the professional costs are reimbursed on top of the mobility budget. The mobility budget will therefore be reduced, which will make true budget neutrality possible.

Car (pillar 1)

As for the determination of the amount of the mobility budget, a Royal Decree can provide a fixed formula to determine the amount of pillar 1 to be deducted from the mobility budget. This prevents recalculations during the year.

From 2022 onwards, outgoing models can no longer deviate from the emissions standards for air pollutants.

From 1 January 2026, the car in pillar 1 will no longer be allowed to emit CO2 (currently it can emit a maximum of 95g CO2/km). Besides, the employee who is awarded a mobility budget shall no longer be entitled to the tax reduction for the purchase of an electric vehicle or the installation of a charging station.

Sustainable means of transport (pillar 2)

The employer must at least offer one choice from the range of sustainable means of transport.

Motorised means of transport

Motorised means of transport that can be used in pillar 2 may no longer emit CO2 from 1 January 2026. These are the following means of transport:

  • Soft mobility (bicycle, moped, etc.);
  • Carpooling and car-sharing solutions;
  • Car rental services with driver.

Taxis and cars without driver that are rented for a maximum of 30 calendar days per year can therefore still be CO² emitting vehicles.

Bicycle

From now on it is possible to finance the purchase of a bicycle with the mobility budget.

Pillar 2 can also be used to purchase accessories to protect the driver and his passengers, as well as accessories to increase their visibility. By this we mean, for example, a helmet or a reflective vest, although these items are not compulsory when cycling.

A parking facility for the bicycle or scooter or electric motorcycle can also be paid for with pillar 2. These include bicycle boxes on the street or at the train station.

Electric tricycles and quadricycles

These propulsion devices, which are currently not widely used, can also be purchased under pillar 2.

Public transport

The law on the mobility budget restricts the purchase of a season ticket for public transport to the employee himself. For his family, currently only single tickets can be purchased. The bill provides for the possibility of also purchasing season tickets for family members living under the same roof.

A parking subscription associated with the use of means of public transport can also be paid for with pillar 2.

Pedestrians and propulsion devices

The pedestrian allowance does not exist outside the mobility budget, but the employer will be able to grant it under pillar 2. The amount of this allowance may not exceed the amount of the bicycle allowance (currently 0.24 Euro/km).

This allowance can be awarded to pedestrians and to employees who use a propulsion device (scooter, hoverboard, etc.) to travel between their place of residence and their place of work.

Housing costs

Under pillar 2, an employee who lives 5 km from his work can currently finance the interest on his mortgage credit or rent. The bill increases this distance to 10 km.

Moreover, the capital of a mortgage credit can also be paid with pillar 2 (and no longer only the interest).

Mobility account

The bill stipulates that the mobility account must not only show pillar 2 and 3 made available to the employee after deducting pillar 1 (car), but also the total amount of the budget (pillar 1+ 2 + 3) to increase the transparency of the account.

We are following this closely

All the amendments described above have been included in a bill that has been submitted to the Chamber and adopted by it. This law must still be published in the Belgian Official Gazette.

Sources:

Bill on the greening of mobility (doc. 55 2170/008).

Recommendation No 2239 of 28 September 2021 on the bill on the greening of mobility

 

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