New data sheet filing obligation for costs proper to the employer

Reimbursement of costs proper to the employer is becoming increasingly more strict. At the beginning of 2021, the tax authorities described in detail the limits of the tax exemption for all kinds of allowances. From 1 January 2022, you as an employer must also inform the tax authorities how much you pay out to a staff member.

Costs proper to the employer or the employee

The costs proper to the employer are expenses incurred by the employee that should actually be borne by the employer. For example, the staff member works from home and uses the internet, electricity, … : these are costs that should actually be borne by the employer.

Attention, employees sometimes also have to incur costs related to their own professional activity, such as transport costs to get to the office. These are costs proper to the employee.

The difference between the two is of key importance: if you as an employer pay a work-from-home allowance, this is not considered taxable income for the employee (after all, you only reimburse an expense that you had to bear). However, if you repay an expense that was proper to the employee (for example, a compensation for the rent of a house near the office), this is in principle a taxable salary.

Evidence or lump sum

In principle, the reimbursement must be made on the basis of concrete supporting documents. For example, if your employee has to advance an expense for the company, you will have to repay that employee based on the ticket that the employee presents.

But things get more complicated if that employee had to drive to a customer for you in his private car. How will you calculate the cost to be reimbursed?

The tax authorities therefore allow certain costs to be reimbursed on a lump-sum basis.

For the journey to the customer with your own car, for example, you can use the expense allowance that is also paid to civil servants, today 0,3707 euros/km.

You may grant a lump sum office allowance of a maximum of 129,48 euros per month for the costs that an employee bears to work at home for a substantial part of the working time on a regular basis. Note that for the months of April, May and June 2021, this maximum was increased to 144,31 euros per month. This increase was extended by 3 months (July, August and September 2021) at the beginning of July.

On the ‘data sheet’

As an employer, you must prepare tax forms every year. You must state numerous information on this sheet that must enable the employee to submit a personal income tax return. It concerns the amount of the salary, the withholding tax withheld, any arrears, etc. These data also go to the tax authorities.

According to a tax law of 27 June 2021, in the case of a refund based on supporting documents, you must notify the tax authorities of the amount of the compensation. After all, the tax authorities want to know whether, in addition to the fixed reimbursement of certain expenses, you also repay the actual expenses based on the receipts that the employee submits.

But the law is rather limited in its definition.

It seems that if you only pay lump sum benefits, the amount does not need to be disclosed. But what if you pay lump sum reimbursements, but exceptionally pay back an actual cost? Do you have to state everything on the data sheet, or only that exceptional cost?

And how will the tax authorities achieve its objective (avoiding double repayment) if you do not have to give a description of the expenditure? Or is it the intention that you will soon set up an entire administration for the reimbursement of the costs proper to the employer?

If you do not comply with this obligation, an administrative fine is foreseen, but more clarity is also required. To be continued.

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