Business trips abroad - New flat rate allowances

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Date:
31 Mar 2015

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, was approved by Ministerial decision of 23 March 2015.

 

These daily allowances cover various costs for meals and other minor expenses for which it is difficult to obtain a receipt. Hotel and transportation costs, namely the return trip, are not covered by these allowances.

Both the tax and social security authorities consider these daily flat rate allowances, if they are granted by an employer in the private sector, to be reimbursements of costs proper to the employer, which are exempted from taxes and social security contributions.

As in the past, the new list, which applies as of 1 April 2015, distinguishes between daily flat rate allowances for "category 1" and (lower) allowances for "category 2".

The system applies, in principle, to "short foreign trips", namely those lasting no longer than 30 calendar days.

However, both the tax authorities (in their Circular of 10 October 2013) and the NOSS (in its "Instructions") accept that the daily allowances can also be considered to be an exempted reimbursement in case of a stay longer than 30 calendar days if:

  • the maximum amount of the allowance is that of "category 2" (the lower amount);
  • the (same) mission lasts longer than 30 successive calendar days with a maximum of 24 months;
  • the grant or payment ends in the event of the permanent establishment abroad of the concerned employee or manager.

Finally, we would like to remind you that the tax authorities, in their Circular of 15 April 2011, specified that the daily flat rate allowances are not applicable to employees or managers for whom travelling abroad is part of "their normal daily professional activity".

 

> Action point

As of 1 April 2015, you can apply the new amount of the flat rate allowances in case of short business trips abroad.