Waterbus: a means of public transport, also for the tax authorities

Author: Author: Peggy Criel

For some years now, Waterbuses, that employees can use for their commuting, have been operating on the Scheldt and on the Senne Canal. Recently, the FPS Finance clarified the fiscal fate of the Waterbus: the boat is to be regarded as a means of public transport.

Waterbus and the reimbursement of transport costs

In its opinion no. 2060, the National Labour Council (NLC) determines that the Waterbus is to be regarded as a means of public transport. Consequently, the general rules for the contribution in public transport as laid down in collective labour agreement (CLA) no. 19 octies apply (see also our Infoflash of 8 December 2017).

The contribution provided for by CLA no. 19 octies is an inter-sectoral minimum. Numerous sectors provide for a more substantial reimbursement for means of public transport other than the train. Please consult our sectoral information for the provisions applicable to your joint committee.

The rules on a tax level

In a recent circular, the FPS Finance clarifies the fiscal fate of the Waterbus. Following the advice of the NLC, the administration accepts that the Waterbus, which is used as a collective means of public transport, also falls under common public transport for tax purposes.

Allowances granted by the employer for the reimbursement or payment of travel expenses from the place of residence to the place of employment for journeys by Waterbus are, for the full amount of the allowance, exempt from tax in the case of the employee, provided that the professional expenses of the employee are determined on a flat-rate basis.

Sources: National Labour Council opinion no. 2060 of 28 November 2017; Circular/C/77 of 15 June 2018 on the Waterbus.

Author: Peggy Criel