‘Weed in fringe benefits and lower wage tax’

October 07, 2020


Employers criticize the high tax levies on salaries and holiday pay, question the added value of eco and culture vouchers, and are very dissatisfied with the mobility budget.

This is evident from a survey by the Vlerick Business School among some 300 companies. About 94 percent of employers are dissatisfied with the current wage tax system.

They criticize the high tax and parafiscal taxes on salaries and payments ‘in cash’ such as holiday pay, the end-of-year bonus and bonuses.

Another stumbling block is the multitude of systems around fringe benefits – there are 35 of them – that are often treated differently in direct taxation and social security.

Mobility budget

There is particularly great dissatisfaction with the mobility budget, a fiscally favorable regime for the financial contribution of employers to the costs of commuting – by car, bicycle or public transport – of their employees. The regime is too complex, too inflexible and of little interest to companies that are difficult to reach by public transport.

Employers are generally satisfied with the taxation in connection with supplementary occupational pension insurance.

The most used and most appreciated fringe benefits are the company bicycle, hospitalization insurance, meal vouchers and reimbursement of the internet connection at home.

Catering checks

Not popular are the repayment of contributions for private pension savings, the share-related compensation and the personal PC schemes. Eco vouchers, sports and culture vouchers and now also catering vouchers offer little added value, according to employers.

The employers say they agree to the abolition of the favorable tax regime of many fringe benefits in exchange for a reduction in the tax on the fixed and variable salary. Their wish list does include the option to use part of the variable salary on favorable tax terms as an additional contribution to the employee’s pension plan.

Build the favorable regimes around a number of social priorities such as sustainable mobility, pension and health care and working from home.

Xavier Baeten,

Professor Vlerick Business School

Professor Xavier Baeten, specialized in the field of remuneration, concludes from the study that companies are strongly asking for the simplification of the current wage tax system. He proposes that the remaining fringe benefits should be concentrated around social priorities such as sustainable mobility, pensions and health insurance, and support for working from home.

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