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Am I still entitled to my travel allowance if I work from home?

There is no legal stipulation about travel allowance. In many collective labor agreements, employment contracts and company regulations, agreements have been made about this. This often concerns reimbursement for the costs you incur for commuting and business trips. Are you also entitled to this if you work from home because of corona? Our experts explain which forms of travel allowance are common, and what consequences the corona crisis has on this.

But first: what exactly is travel allowance?

With a travel allowance, your employer can compensate you for costs you have to incur in order to come to work or travel for work. From the tax authorities your employer may pay you € 0,19 per kilometer tax-free: everything above that counts as wages, and you therefore pay tax on it. There are roughly two forms of travel allowance: a fixed and a variable. Which form applies to you? This is stated in your company regulations, collective labor agreement or contract.

1. Fixed travel allowance

Do you travel to the same workplace for at least 36 weeks a year? Then your employer can give you a fixed travel allowance. The payroll tax handbook contains a formula to determine how high this allowance may be tax-free. They assume an average number of working days per year of 214. For the fixed allowance, multiply the number of working days, the number of kilometers and the allowance of € 0,19 per kilometer.

Two examples:

Example 1

Evelien travels to the office 5 days a week. That is 42 kilometers there and back.

214 x 42 x € 0,19 = € 1.707,72 fixed tax-free travel allowance per year.

Example 2

Rachid travels to work 4 days one week, 3 days the other week. He always travels 42 kilometers there and back. His maximum fixed travel allowance is therefore the same as that of Evelien. But because Rachid travels fewer days, he also receives less compensation.

(1/2 x 4/5 x € 1.707,72) + (1/2 x 3/5 x € 1.707,72) = € 1.195,41 fixed tax-free travel allowance per year.

2. Variable travel allowance

Are your working days not that fixed or do you always have to be somewhere else? Then your employer can also opt for a variable travel allowance. You incur travel expenses, which you declare to your employer. The maximum untaxed amount of € 0,19 per kilometer applies to this. Do you travel by public transport? Then your employer may also reimburse the costs you actually incurred. Check your collective labor agreement or company regulations for the scheme that applies to you.

Your travel allowance and corona

Fixed travel allowance and corona
Your employer no longer needs to pay you compensation, but it is allowed. From a fiscal point of view, your employer may continue to pay your allowance untaxed for six weeks. This scheme prevents your reimbursement from suddenly ending if you are sick or absent for a long time, but also applies if you suddenly work from home more. Due to corona, the Ministry of Finance has indicated that employers may continue to pay the travel allowance untaxed after these six weeks.

In any case until 1 February 2021, the existing fixed travel allowances can still be reimbursed untaxed by the employer. Even if these travel costs are no longer (fully) incurred as a result of working from home. The condition is that it concerns fixed allowances that were already awarded by the employer before 13 March 2020.

In January 2021, the government will return to how it wants to deal with the untaxed fixed travel allowances after 1 February 2021.

The same applies here: your employer may do this, but it is not necessary. So you cannot enforce this.

Variable travel allowance and corona
This form of reimbursement will stop if you now work from home due to corona, because: if you work from home, you will not incur any travel costs and you cannot declare anything. You are therefore not entitled to a travel allowance.

More information

Questions about your travel allowance, this article or do you want to more information about your work and corona? De Unie is there for you. We are available every working day from 8.00 a.m. to 18.00 p.m. Feel free to contact us: sc@unie.nl or 0345 851 963.