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COVID-19 | Tax support measures for teleworking

New FAST TRACK procedure available

Are there alternatives to the traditional workplace? Yes, telework (working from home) is a good alternative you can implement immediately taken into account the measures from the federal government to counter the Covid-19 virus (Corana virus).

Telework means “any form of organization and/or execution of work, that in a similar way could be performed on the employer’s work floor, but that is performed on a regular or incidental basis outside that work floor by using information technology”. It is important to notice that the telework measures are applicable to both employees and directors.

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Telework offers many benefits to employees by giving them the flexibility to perform certain work-related tasks from home. These benefits include better productivity (e.g. higher concentration, less background noises, less disturbances), better work-life balance, less burden of mobility when travelling to the office,…

As a result, there are also benefits for the employer, namely higher productivity, less absentism,… Moreover, offering the possibility of telework is seen as an important plus in the “war for talent”.

Support by the government

The alternative of Telework does not only offer flexibility for employees. The government also supports it through fiscal support measures.

1.Providing IT material and internet by the employer :

As an employer, you can provide IT material and internet to the employee. In this case, the employee does not own the PC and internet subscription. If employees are also allowed to make personal/private use of this free provision, a flat-rate benefit in kind will be charged. This benefit in kind will be subjected to social security and taxation. This benefit amounts to 72 euros per year for the PC and 60 euros per year for the internet

2.Reimbursement of the private PC and private internet by the employer:

If, as an employer, you do not provide IT material and internet to the employees, you can reimburse part of the costs that the employees bear themselves for the purchase of a PC and internet that they use on a structural and regular basis for telework. The reimbursement must correspond to the professional use of this PC and the internet and can be granted tax-free and free of social security as a cost proper to the employer.

If the amount reimbursed to the employee does not exceed EUR 20 of the effective cost of professional use of the PC and EUR 20 of the effective cost of professional use of the Internet, no additional proof is required.

If more than EUR 20 is reimbursed per use, a double proof will be required for a tax-free refund:

  • the reimbursement is intended to cover costs proper to the employer;
  • the reimbursement was actually spent on such costs.

3.Work at home allowance:

In addition, the employer can also grant a work at home allowance to the employees to compensate for costs other than the internet. This includes costs for electricity, heating, purchase of office equipment,…

If working from home is done on a structural basis and is stated in the employment contract or work agreements, up to a maximum of EUR 126,94 per month can be granted free of social security and tax as a cost proper to the employer.

If no structural basis for work at home is provided, a maximum of EUR 40 per month can be granted free of social security and tax as a cost proper to the employer.

To grant this compensation, a prior agreement must be concluded with the Ruling Commission.

Fast track procedure

After discussions with the Ruling Commission, it was agreed to install a so-called FAST TRACK procedure, whereby the aforementioned approval can be obtained immediately under minimum conditions (formal but shortened application, temporary nature, no double use,…). In this way, the Ruling Commission would like to respond to the questions that arise in this respect.

How to implement?

It is clear that telework offers many benefits and it can also be implemented immediately by creating the right policies.

Due to the digitization and digital workplaces where the use of video/teleconferences is becoming more and more practise and cloud-based accessibility of the required documents, telework can certainly be seen as an opportunity and a fully-fledged alternative for working in the office.

The trust between employer and employee is an important factor here. The employer provides the employee with the opportunity to work from home and the employee must in turn make sure that effective work will be performed.

If you have more questions about the implementation of a telework policy or a larger exercise of digitization, do not hesitate to contact us.

If you wish to use the so-called FAST TRACK procedure, do not hesitate to contact us.

How does COVID-19 affect your startup? Share your questions and we give you free advice.