14 March 2023

New flat rates for foreign business trips starting 15 February 2023

by Sofie Wauman and Julie Vantomme

On 15 February 2023, the new list of flat-rate subsistence allowances granted by the FPS Foreign Affairs to its staff members for foreign business trips was published in the Belgian Official Gazette. These subsistence allowances are determined by country, exempt from tax and not subject to social security contributions.

These set flat rates cover the following expenses:

  • Lunch and dinner expenses;
  • Beverage and snack expenses;
  • Local transport expenses;
  • Telecommunication expenses;
  • Charges related to other minor expenditures.

Unlike previous years, if the company reimburses minor expenditures or costs related to breakfast, a pro-rata flat-rate reduction is no longer required.

Accommodation and travel expenses to and from overseas destinations are not covered. Accommodation, breakfast and travel expenses should be reimbursed based on actual supporting documents. Under this framework, maximum accommodation expenses are set by country. Subject to adequate justification, it is possible to exceed these limits.

The latter flat rates can also be used within the private sector when it comes to company executives or employees embarking on foreign business trips. The company may reimburse expenses incurred by the executive or employee in connection with this foreign business trip. These will be treated as cost proper to the employer if determined within the flat rates set by the FPS Foreign Affairs.

Allowances listed under category 1 may be applied for business trips lasting up to 30 days. For longer business trips, Category 2 allowances apply.

Please note: to the extent that the movements of the employee or company executive form part of normal daily professional activity, the administration does not consider the flat rates to be applicable.

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