Allowances for short-term foreign missions: new amounts as of 15 February 2023

Author: Peggy Criel (Legal Expert)
Read time: 5min
Publication date: 27/02/2023 - 13:21
Latest update: 27/02/2023 - 13:24

The costs incurred by an employee during a short-term professional stay abroad may be reimbursed as a daily flat-rate allowance. The amounts of these daily flat-rate allowances applicable as of 15 February 2023 have been published recently.

The daily flat-rate allowances applicable for long-term foreign missions are covered in a following Infoflash.


When a worker goes on a foreign mission, he/she may be entitled to a flat-rate allowance for meals and minor expenses.

In Circulars no. Ci.RH.241/534.514 (AOIF 17/2006) dating from 11 May 2006 and no. Ci.RH.241/598.417 (AAFisc 23/2011) dating from 15 April 2011, the tax administration has set out a number of guidelines.

The flat-rate allowances for foreign missions granted by the employer are considered as costs proper to the employer and they are not taxable if they do not exceed 37.18€ per day. Therefore they can be granted without supporting documents.

If the daily flat-rate allowances exceed 37.18€, they are still accepted as a reimbursement of costs proper to the employer provided they are justified by circumstances specific to the country where the mission is carried out.

In addition, the FPS Finance accepts that the flat-rate allowances paid for foreign missions are considered as a non-taxable reimbursement of costs proper to the employer provided they do not exceed the 'daily flat-rate subsistence allowances' determined per country (the so-called 'list of countries') for civil servants belonging to Category 1 of the 'carrière de l'Administration centrale' of the FPS Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

Therefore, the FPS Finance accepts the above 'daily flat-rate subsistence allowances' without supporting documents, taking into account that the flat-rate amount of 37.18€ can still be applied.

Nature of the subsistence allowance

The daily allowances are deemed to cover expenses during a foreign mission incurred for meals and minor expenses.

The daily flat-rate allowance covers the following expenses:

  • lunch and dinner expenses;
  • beverage and snack expenses;
  • local travel expenses;
  • telephone communication expenses;
  • costs associated with other cash expenses.

The allowances cover neither housing costs nor travel costs to reach the destination, and back.

If meal expenses are borne directly by the employer or company, the daily flat-rate allowance is reduced by 35% for lunch and by 45% for dinner.

We note that it is currently unclear whether the deduction of 15% for breakfast or 5% for minor expenses, respectively, still applies when the employer directly bears these expenses. The FPS Finance will need to specify this further.

Workers concerned

The guidelines in the Circular apply to taxpayers who receive remunerations as workers or company managers and for whom travelling to/from abroad are not part of their normal daily activity.

The daily flat-rate subsistence allowances cannot serve as a standard for self-employed persons who must justify by supporting documents the authenticity and the amount of the expenses incurred during foreign missions.


Foreign mission is understood to mean a short-term assignment abroad on active service or on instruction of the employer or the company where the worker or the company manager is employed. Short-term is understood to mean a mission of maximum 30 calendar days.

Daily allowances

The subsistence allowances stated in the 'list of countries' are daily flat-rate allowances.

The full amount can be taken into account for each full day of absence, this is a day between 2 overnight stays during a mission.

For the days of departure and return, only half of the flat-rate allowance can be taken into account as costs proper to the employer.

The full amount may also be granted for missions with a departure and return within the same twenty-four hours' period with an absence of at least 10 hours. To ascertain whether this is the case, the absence of the worker or the company manager from his/her fixed place of work (work location) until the hour of return to that place must be taken into account.

If the absence is less than 10 hours, only the reimbursement on the basis of the expenses that are justified by presenting supporting documents are taken into consideration for costs proper to the employer. We may assume that the amount of the granted daily allowance is not taxable if the amount does not exceed the similar allowances which the State grants to its staff members (the so-called missions in Belgium).

List of countries

The Belgian Official Gazette of 15 February 2023 has published the list with the flat-rate allowances (Category 1) per country, that are applicable since 15 February 2023.

The list can be accessed through this link.

Source: Ministerial Decree of 10 January 2023 establishing subsistence allowances granted to staff members and delegates of the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation assigned to missions abroad or serving on international committees, Belgian Official Gazette 15 February 2023. 

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