The impact of the coronavirus is strongly felt in tax matters. The Ruling Commission has set up an accelerated procedure for the ruling requests concerning the lump sum expense allowances with regard to telework.
When an employee works from home, the employer may grant the employee a lump sum expense allowance to cover his or her home office costs, such as electricity, central heating, office supplies, print costs, insurance, etc.
When all relevant conditions are fulfilled, these lump sum expense allowances are exempt from taxes and social security contributions in the hands of the employee, and are (partly or fully) tax deductible in the hands of the employer.
In order to obtain certainty about the tax treatment of these allowances, the taxpayer may apply for an advance tax ruling with the Belgian Ruling Commission.
Due to the substantial increase in telework because of the spread of the coronavirus, the Ruling Commission has installed a swift procedure for the ruling requests concerning the lump sum expense allowances for home office costs. Since considerably more employees are currently working remotely due to the corona-measures issued by the federal government, more employers will grant the (maximum) home office allowance to their employees. The Ruling Commission acknowledges the reality of the current business needs and anticipated the increasing number of ruling requests with regard to the home office allowances. As such, an 'express Corona home working ruling' can be obtained through a swift procedure, allowing a lump sum expense allowance of 126,94 EUR per month per homeworking employee (without the need to categorize the employees). This swift ruling procedure may therefore be of interest to enterprises wishing to obtain legal certainty as to the tax-advantageous home office allowances they grant or may grant in the near future. Enterprises that already dispose of a ruling with regard to the lump sum expense allowances can also apply for a new ruling in order to raise the allowance to 126,94 EUR per month for all categories of currently homeworking employees. However, it should be noted that the lump sum expense allowance approved by such a ruling may be granted as long as the coronavirus measures of the National Security Council are in force. The ruling would therefore be valid for as long as the coronavirus measures are in force (as opposed to the usual validity of 5 years).
For more information on how to cope with the impact and consequences of the coronavirus relating to your company, please contact one of our specialists.
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