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Business trips abroad: new flat rate allowances

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With the ministerial decision of 28 April the new list of flat rate daily allowances, which the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs grants to its employees who undertake “short business trips” abroad, is approved.

In this regard, short business trips are those not lasting longer than 30 calendar days.

These daily allowances cover costs for meals and other small expenses for which it is not always possible for the employee or for the manager who is on a business trip abroad to obtain receipts.

The costs for staying overnight and the travel costs to and from abroad do not fall within the scope of the allowances.

The NOSS as well as the tax authorities accept these flat rate daily allowances as being professional expenses.

Just like last year, the new list distinguishes flat rate allowances for "category" 1 and a (lower) flat rate allowance for "category" 2. In their Circular of 15 April 2011 the tax authorities confirmed that companies in the private sector can apply the flat rate daily allowances of category 1 in the event of a short business trip abroad.

The amounts themselves are almost the same as last year, except for Norway (increased from 68 EUR to 95 EUR) and for Germany (reduced from 100 EUR to 93 EUR).

The new list applies since 1 April 2011.

Finally, we also want to mention that the tax authorities have defined in their circular of 15 April 2011 that the flat rate day allowances do not apply to employees or managers for whom the travelling is part of "their normal daily professional activity". What specific rules do apply in that event is not defined by the authority.