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Private sector employers may refer to the subsistence allowances granted to federal government staff members for the reimbursement of subsistence expenses made by employees on the occasion of business travels in Belgium. The amounts of the subsistence allowance changed on 1 December 2022.
The flat-rate allowances granted by an employer as a reimbursement of the subsistence expenses of an employee during business journeys in Belgium are not taxed, provided that their amount does not exceed the corresponding allowances granted by the federal government to its staff members. These allowances are considered as ‘serious standards’.
An overview of the subsistence expenses that can be granted in this context can be found below.
An employee is entitled to a daily flat-rate allowance for subsistence expenses (meals) only when the next conditions are met:
When meal vouchers are granted to compensate for meal expenses during domestic business travels, the employer contribution in the meal vouchers must be deducted from the flat-rate allowance.
When the employee’s job implies regular journeys outside the company (in general itinerant staff members), the monthly flat-rate allowance can be granted.
The monthly flat-rate allowance is equal to a multiple of the daily allowance. The number is identical for employees carrying out the same job and is determined on the basis of the average of the full-time regime worked by the employees in the course of the preceding year. However, the monthly flat-rate allowance must be at least 16 times the daily flat-rate allowance in the case of a full-time employment.
For the granting of this monthly flat-rate allowance the conditions with regard to the duration do not apply (minimum 6 hours). The meal expenses on the occasion of the journey cannot be taken charge of by the employer or a third party, neither can the journey give rise to any other benefit covering the meal expenses.
A supplementary daily flat-rate allowance for subsistence expenses also serves as a cover for housing costs. This allowance is granted to employees who stay overnight at another location in Belgium during the performance of their job.
The allowance is granted when the next conditions are met:
By applying the indexation mechanisms, the following amounts will be applicable as from 1 December 2022 :
Daily flat-rate allowance (meal expenses)
Monthly flat-rate allowance
Supplementary daily allowance for housing costs.
Max. 16 x EUR 19.60/month (for a full-time employment)
Source: Circular 2022/C/112 on the allowances for business travels in Belgium.
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