Meal voucher flat fee – yes or no?
As of 1st January 2021, the new institute of the so-called meal voucher flat fee was added to Czech legislation. In view of the fact that we are often asked by our clients as to its advantages or possible pitfalls, we would like to put forward several arguments which should be taken into account when deciding whether or not to use the meal voucher flat fee.
There is unfortunately no answer as to whether meal vouchers or the meal voucher flat fee is more advantageous. From a purely tax perspective, the advantageousness of the flat fee in comparison to meal vouchers or a meal voucher card depends on the employer’s “meal voucher policy”. Primarily, this is an issue as to the value of the contributions which the employer provides for meals at work. With the meal voucher flat fee, it appears that for a higher contribution on the employer’s part there is a rise in the total taxation in comparison with meal vouchers, although this is exclusively taxation on the employee’s side. It is thus a question whether the employer will, in taking a decision, take into account the tax burden on their employees or not. With meal vouchers it can be said that the lower the value of the employer’s contribution, the better the proportion of total taxation in comparison to the meal voucher flat fee, although the tax advantage is realized only at the employees’ level, whilst the employer incurs a tax disadvantage. As can be seen, the question of tax advantage will yet be the subject of complicated decision-taking among employers, which is supported by the fact that the tax burden in meal vouchers and the meal voucher flat fee is realized differently among employers and employees.
Besides the above-mentioned considerations, other arguments enter into decision-taking. For instance, with home office, it is not entirely clear as to whether a shift according to the Labour Code is at issue or whether the meal voucher flat fee can even be used (it depends on the employer’s internal regulations). The theme of home office, however, is not clearly codified in legislation with meal vouchers either, and legislators should focus on this theme. According to analyses to the present, one can assert that the meal voucher flat fee cannot be used for executives or supervisory board members who do not have shifts in accordance with the Labour Code. Last but not least, it should be mentioned that meal vouchers are subject to enforcement ordered on employees. In financial supplies in the form of the meal voucher fee, the question as to whether this part of remuneration can be subject to enforcement is unclear.
It therefore seems that the only clear beneficiaries of the meal voucher flat fee are small and medium employers who have until now not utilized the institute of meal vouchers due to high administration demands. Where they are concerned, one can say “better something than nothing” and implement the meal voucher flat fee. Some employers will certainly consider transferring from meal vouchers to the meal voucher flat fee due to the reduction of the connected administrative burden. For other employers, we recommend a deeper analysis prior to deciding to transfer to the meal voucher flat fee.
For other information in this area, please contact Jana Vítková, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.