How do mileage allowances work?

How do mileage allowances work?

Does your job require frequent travel?

You should know that, regardless of the mode of transport you use, your employer is obliged to reimburse you for the costs of journeys made in the course of your work. Here’s how the travel expenses due to you are calculated and the exact amounts your employer must pay you as mileage allowances.  

1. What is a mileage allowance? 

Whether you use public transport or your own car for work, you are entitled to an allowance for your travel expenses.

Reimbursement for public transport

If you have to use public transport for work purposes, your employer will have to reimburse you for the costs incurred on the basis of the official fares or on presentation of proof of payment. So always ask for an invoice when you buy a train, bus or metro ticket and present it to your employer. If you travel frequently, your boss can pay for a season ticket that will allow you to travel freely on the routes specified in your ticket (for both private and business use).

Reimbursement for professional travel by car 

If you have to travel using your own vehicle (this could be a car, motorbike, scooter or bicycle) to visit clients or carry out fieldwork, you may be entitled to a mileage allowance. This means that the employer is obliged to reimburse you for the costs incurred in financing your journey, including petrol and wear and tear. The amount of the travel allowance is revised every year and can be consulted in the Belgian Official Gazette. You can present your expense account to your superior. You should know that the sums returned to you to compensate for your work-related travel are not taxable and are not taken into account for the calculation of your social security contributions if you choose the fixed expense allowance (no deductions or social security contributions).

2. Travel expenses to and from work 

You should be aware that travel expenses do not only include journeys you make to meetings, appointments with clients and other work-related journeys. The daily journey between your home and your place of work may also be eligible for mileage compensation and tax deduction.   

  • It should be noted that if the employee travels to work by public transport (tram, bus, metro, etc.) and his or her work is more than 5 km from home, the employer is obliged to reimburse all or part of the home-work travel expenses. 
  • On the other hand, there is no obligation to reimburse the home-work journey if the employee uses his own vehicle to get to his place of work, if nothing is mentioned in the collective labour agreements. 

3. Taxation and deduction of travel expenses

Is it possible to deduct personal travel expenses in the context of the home-work journey?

The answer is yes, but it depends on whether you choose to deduct your business expenses :  

  • either on the basis of a fixed amount of expenses deducted by the authorities on the basis of your taxable income.
  • or on the basis of your actual expenses. 

So which formula should you choose? 

In the first case, the flat rate includes all professional expenses. There is therefore nothing to declare if you opt for this option. The allowances granted to you by your employer to reimburse your home-work travel expenses and the expenses that reimburse your business travel are tax-exempt, in part or in full. This amount is not taxable and cannot be taken into account for the calculation of your social security contributions. 

In the case of actual expenses, you will have to complete box 1258 of your tax return. Note that under the actual expenses formula, the reimbursement of your home-work travel expenses is taxed. In this case, you can deduct the cost of your journey between home and work on the basis of €0.15 per kilometre travelled. The price reimbursed by the employer for travel expenses in connection with a business assignment must be deducted from the declared travel expenses. In your declaration, mention :

  • under code 1254: the amount of the allowance received from your employer ;
  • under code 1255: the amount of your total exemption.

If you need support to optimise your travel expenses or to benefit from all these allowances effortlessly, ask for a demo of the Komon solution here 

Contact us to improve your company’s mobility