further clarification of expanded reporting obligation for reimbursed costs

Tax & Legal
09 August 2022

by Sander De Landtsheer and Els Van Eenhooge

Further clarification of expanded reporting obligation for reimbursed costs

Our previous article described the legislative changes resulting from the expanded reporting obligation for expanded reporting obligation for employer or company-specific costs. These legislative changes apply to all reimbursements of employer-specific costs paid from 1 January 2022. Based on a recent parliamentary question and circular, we provide more information on the interpretation of this reporting obligation below.

Further clarification of expanded reporting obligation for reimbursed costs

“Fixed” or “flat rate” reimbursement

Such reimbursements are not paid based on the actual costs incurred, but estimated based on a flat rate. For certain types of costs, the tax authorities have specified their own flat rate (“serious standards”), for example for the reimbursement of business trips within Belgium and mileage allowances for work-related travel by private transportation (car, motorcycle, bicycle). Employers can choose to reimburse other costs according to a flat rate as well. Examples include teleworking expenses and representation costs.

From the 2022 tax year onwards, all reimbursed costs must now be noted on the tax form with the corresponding amounts, including flat rate reimbursements with amounts based on “serious and consistent standards”. If a reimbursement is not reported or not reported correctly, as a penalty, the cost in question can no longer be deducted and this may even lead to an additional, separate tax liability.

“Variable” reimbursements

These are reimbursements of actual costs incurred based on supporting documents. An example would be the reimbursement of office supplies originally paid for by an employee or manager, but with an invoice made out to the company.

From the 2022 tax year onwards, the reporting obligation applies to these costs as well. However, based on the answer to a recent parliamentary question, a straightforward reimbursement of advanced costs need not be noted on the form. In such cases, the employee or manager has limited themselves to advancing a payment.

If, on the other hand, it is not clear from the start that the reimbursed cost was incurred in name of and on behalf of the employer or company (if the invoice is not in the employer or company’s name, for example), these variable reimbursements also fall under the reporting obligation. If the reporting obligation is not met, the tax authorities may impose an administrative fine.

A recently issued circular confirms the minister’s opinion. It must be clear from the start that the purchase is on behalf of the company or employer, and the associated supporting document must clearly state the company or employer’s identity. An anonymous receipt will not suffice to escape the reporting obligation for such reimbursements. 

Are you in need of more information on this subject? Please don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts.