CO2 contribution (1): what's new?

Auteur: Anne Beckers

The national social security office’s (NSSO) 2nd quarter 2014 guidance to employers has clarified some matters relating to the CO2 contribution.

Essentially, they relate to:

  • The private use presumption for general-purpose vehicles;
  • What is meant by “a fixed place of work”;
  • What is meant by "very occasional" private use.

The last two issues will be treated in an upcoming infoflash.


On 1 July 2005, the NSSO introduced a presumption of private use for any vehicle registered in the employer’s name or covered by a rental or leasing agreement or other vehicle use agreement provided to workers. This presumption was inserted into Section 38, § 3, quater of the Social Security (Employed Workers - General Principles) Act of 29 June 1981.

The presumption initially applied to both utility vehicles and general-purpose vehicles, but has now been amended by the NSSO administrative guidance for the second quarter 2014. Note that at present, only the NSSO guidance has been changed.

New definitions

For the presumed private use of a company vehicle, the NSSO now distinguishes between:

  • Utility vehicle: Any vehicle classed as M1 (4-wheel passenger transport) or N1 (3- or 4-wheel carriage of goods) the use of which may incur a liability to calculate and pay the CO2 contribution. Specifically, it is "a vehicle with a windowless rear loading space in which passengers may not (legally) be transported."
  • General-purpose vehicle: All other vehicles classed as M1 and N1 (private car, combined passenger/goods vehicle, minibus, people carrier/urban 4x4). Specifically, it is "a vehicle whose rear seat can be converted into a loading platform."

The situation now

The NSSO’s 2nd quarter 2014 administrative guidance specifies that there will be no presumption of private use for utility vehicles.

Based on this new guidance, therefore, travel between home and the place of work using a utility vehicle should not be treated as travel between home and the place of work for the purposes of calculating and deducting the CO2 contribution..

Three important points:

  • Private use of a utility vehicle for which the CO2 contribution must be calculated and deducted can always be established on the basis of evidence discovered by NSSO inspectors;
  • The private use presumption remains unchanged for general-purpose vehicles;
  • The Act of 29 June 1981 which introduced the private use presumption has not been amended. As things stand, therefore, the distinction between utility vehicles and general-purpose vehicles made by the NSSO administrative guidance has no statutory basis.

Source : Source: Administrative guidelines NSSO 2014/02.

Auteur: Anne Beckers