Increase indemnity for office costs

The National Social Security Office (NSSO) has published in its administrative instructions a new amount, adjusted to the cost of living, for the reimbursement of office costs. This indemnity amounted to maximum €126,94 per month and will, as from April 1, be increased to maximum €129,48 per month.

Office costs and the NSSO

Employees working from home on a structural and regular basis can be granted an allowance by the employer for that homework. Given the fact that costs related to homework are relatively small and difficult to prove, the NSSO accepts to estimate these costs on a lump sum basis. For some costs, amongst which the indemnity for homework, the NSSO itself has determined acceptable lump sum amounts as well as the conditions that apply to grant these amounts.

The lump sum indemnity for office costs applied by the NSSO covers the costs for heating, electricity, small office equipment, insurances, …
The indemnity can be granted to employees who do not have a workspace at the company’s premises or, if they do have one, when it appears from the the employee’s function that he/she works from home on a regular basis.

To employees who did not use to work from home but are obliged to do so given the Covid-19 measures, the employer can grant this indemnity without the need to conclude a formal teleworking agreement. The indemnity can also be granted to employees working partially from home and being partially unemployed.

On top of the maximum office costs reimbursement of €129,48, the employer can also reimburse the following costs on a lump sum basis:

  • €20 per month if the employee uses his/her own computer for professional purposes;
  • ​€20 per month if the employee uses his/her private internet connection for professional purposes.

It goes without saying that these lump sum amounts can only be granted to the employee if the office and internet costs are not yet reimbursed by other means.

Please be informed that apart from the indemnity for office costs, the NSSO applies other ways of reimbursement of costs related to telework and homework that are not discussed in the present newsletter.

The tax authorities

The indemnity of €129,48 for office costs can be granted free from social security contributions if the conditions linked to the application are fulfilled. The tax authorities do not have a similar officially accepted lump sum amount for the reimbursement of office costs, but often tend to follow the point of view of the NSSO on the matter.

If you want to have certainty on a tax level whether a lump sum reimbursement will be accepted, a ruling will need to be applied for. The tax authorities’ Ruling Committee provides a simplified procedure to get a ruling specifically for telework during the current coronavirus pandemic.

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