Telework: The National Social Security Office brings its position into line with the tax authorities

Bart Elias 18 August 2014


In the Practice Note of 16 January 2014, the Belgian tax authorities announced that a monthly tax-free lump-sum of EUR 20 as a compensation for the business use of a privately owned computer and internet connection (i.e. a total of EUR 40 per month) could be granted under certain conditions.

Where for a while a doubt remained as to the social security treatment of theses allowances, the Belgian National Social Security Office recently confirmed that those 2 tax-free lump-sum allowances are also exempt from social security contributions as long as:

  • the costs are really incurred by the employee and supported by the employer
  • the employer does not already reimburse those costs in any other way
  • and the conditions for granting the indemnity for telework or work performed at home on a regular and structural basis are complied with.

More generally, lump-sum allowances may be granted to employees carrying out part of their work at home on a structural and regular basis and who have a workspace at home.  For employees having a workspace at their employer’s premises, lump-sum allowances may only be granted if it can be deducted from their function that they carry out part of their activities regularly at home. Also note that the lump-sum allowances granted to workers subject to the working time legislation will not be exempted from social security if those workers work for the maximum number of hours legally provided almost exclusively at their workplace.

Moreover, please note that for social security purposes, these 2 lump-sum allowances can be granted either separately or on top of the compensation usually granted in case of telework or in case of work carried out at home on a regular and structural basis, to the extent that the reimbursement of the business use of a privately-owned computer and internet connection is not already deemed to be included in such compensation. The authorities also specified that those 2 lump-sum allowances should not be prorated with regard to the number of days of telework.

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