As working from home will be the new normal for many companies, the Belgian tax authorities released a circular letter including guidelines for the application of a lump sum allowance for home office expenses.
If the home working is done in a structured and recurring manner an amount of up to EUR 129,48 per month (as from 1 april 2020) can be granted free from taxes as costs proper to the employer (kosten eigen aan de werkgever/frais propres à l’employeur). This allowance is a compensation for costs relating to the organisation and use of a workspace in the private home (“home office”), including a.o. electricity, heating, office supplies and office furniture.
How should the compensation be granted?
The compensation should be granted equally to all employees who are working from home on a structural and frequent basis. This means that the same amount of maximum EUR 129,48 should be paid to all employees who are working at least 5 days per month from home.
- No pro-rata is required for part-time work schedules (provided the home working is structured as explained above)
- No differentiation between functions can be made
- No double use is allowed with other reimbursements of expenses for a private workspace or actual business costs
- A pro-rata is applicable in case of a salary split
- The allowance can be paid during holidays but should be prorated during a long absence
- The amount of home office allowance should be mentioned on a fiche 281.10
Ruling for cost proper to the employer
It is noteworthy that the circular letter also refers to the ruling procedure in case the above conditions are not met.
As an example, the circular letter mentions that if an employer should want to differentiate the amount granted between different functions, a ruling can be requested from the Belgian Ruling Office. Other cases when a ruling is still required are when the employer provides certain office supplies such as an office chair or when the employer also wants to grant other costs proper to the employer, such as for example representation allowances.
How can PwC help you?
Your PwC contact, together with the PwC expert matter team is available to discuss the impact and the conditions of this circular letter on your remuneration policy.