This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
Fixed travel reimbursement during the Corona crisis. As an employer, you can choose to reimburse your employees 0.19 cents per kilometer that is actually driven. If an employee works from home, and so no kilometers are made, this tax-free allowance does not apply. However, in most cases there has been agreed upon a fixed monthly travel reimbursement.
A fixed reimbursement is based on 214 working days per year. This number has already taken into account incidental working from home, illness, holidays, sabbatical leave and care leave. The condition is that the employee travels to the permanent workplace on at least 128 days per calendar year. This allows the employee who works on 5 days per week to work from home up to 2 days per week, while retaining the fixed tax-free travel allowance. So the margin is 86 days.
If the employee is ill, the tax-free travel allowance may be continued paying for a period of 6 consecutive weeks. These 6 weeks are considered a short-term period.
But what if the employee is ill for a longer period, or when the employee is absent for a long time?
In that case, the employer may still reimburse the ongoing month (the month in which the employee was no longer able to go to work due to the corona measures) and the following month tax-free. But no longer than this. The employer then may reimburse tax-free again starting from the month after the month in which the employee returns to work.
The State Secretary of Finance has now however per letter dated April 14th (2020) – with retroactive effect till March 12th (2020) – indicated that the consequences of the Corona crisis should not affect the tax free fixed travel reimbursement. Hence employers do not have to apply the above rules on long absence and can remain to tax free pay out the agreed fixed travel reimbursements during the course of the crisis.
Please note that the above rules only apply in the field of tax; in principle, for labor law purpose it is decisive what is stated in the employment contract regarding travel allowances.