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Bicycle allowance will increase in 2024: how much can you count on?  “We have two types of compensation.”  My guide

Bicycle allowance will increase in 2024: how much can you count on? “We have two types of compensation.” My guide

GobatMore and more people ride bicycles to work. This is evidenced by the numbers issued by the human resources services company SD Worx. The sports passenger allowance was also increased at the beginning of this year. What intervention from your employer can you currently rely on? What conditions are there? What if you travel with an e-scooter or other means of transportation on one or two wheels? asked Verle Michels, legal advisor at SD Worx.

Written by Thomas Russell, in collaboration with Gobat

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Up to €2,500 per year is tax-free

The number of Belgians receiving a bicycle allowance has doubled in five years: from 7% in 2017 to 14% in 2022. Research conducted by SD Worx last year showed wage accounts for nearly a million employees in the private sector. Meanwhile, this number has undoubtedly risen, with the mandatory bicycle allowance coming into effect from May 2023.

“Since then we have had two types of bicycle allowances. Since this year, a general threshold of €2,500 per year has been introduced. Bicycle allowances remain free of social security contributions and withholding taxes as long as this threshold is not reached. Once this amount is exceeded, security contributions become Social and withholding tax is due on the surplus,” explains Verle-Michels.

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Option 1: Generalized bicycle allowance

The first bicycle allowance is the so-called generalized bicycle allowance under the Collective Labor Agreement No. 164 of the National Labor Council. “This gives a conditional entitlement to a bicycle allowance of – currently – €0.28 per kilometer cycled for commuting, but limited to 20 km one way. For 2024, this amounts to a maximum of €11.20 (€0.28 x 20 km x 2) Daily by bike. “This concerns employees who work for a company that does not yet grant a specific bicycle allowance, or grants a bicycle allowance on the basis of an individual or company agreement, but not in the context of a collective (sectoral) labor agreement.”

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To be eligible for the generalized bicycle allowance, the employee must regularly commute by bicycle, Michels continues. “For example, consider cycling to work once a week, or cycling during the summer months. This only applies to journeys by (electric) bicycle and/or pedalos (max. 45 km/h). Traveling for example by scooter (Electrician) does not qualify you for the additional bike allowance. An employee may not receive double compensation for the same operation at the same time. An employee who has an annual train subscription is not entitled to the additional bicycle allowance if he uses the bicycle occasionally. Therefore, he will have to The employee must choose the most appropriate (subscription) formula.

Do you have to commute all the way to work to get compensation? This is how the fork is attached to the stem.

Verlie Michels from SD Worx. © Getty Images/SDWorks

Option 2: Instead of a regular bike

In addition, there is also the 'normal' cycling allowance, which the employer may (and therefore should not) grant. “The government has decided to increase the basic non-indexed amount from 2024. “After adjusting the index, the maximum amount that an employer can give away from social security contributions and withholding tax is 0.35 euros per actual kilometer traveled,” explains Michels. “In order to be They are clear: in principle, the employer can or may increase the bicycle allowance to this new maximum. The employer will only have to do this in exceptional cases. This is the case, for example, when the sectoral collective labor agreement on bicycle allowance refers to the maximum amount exempt for social security and tax purposes. It is therefore always advisable to read the sectoral provisions.

Also new this year is that the cycling allowance exemption will now be linked to the use of fixed costs in your personal tax return. “In other words, the employee is no longer allowed to prove their actual professional expenses if they want to continue to benefit from the bike allowance tax credit. This means that the cycling allowance is treated in the same way as other employer contributions to costs associated with commuting.

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Finally: What about e-scooters?

Transportation is becoming increasingly innovative; Just think of a unicycle or e-scooter. Can you also get compensation for this? “The bicycle allowance is linked to the use of the (motorized) bicycle and the express bicycle. According to the Highway Code, the e-scooter does not fall under these headings: it is a so-called automated payment device. The employer cannot therefore grant a bicycle allowance for this purpose which is free of social security contributions And withholding taxes.

“Of course, the employer can grant other compensation for the use of his own transport. However, this must correspond to the actual costs that will be exempt from social security contributions. With regard to taxes, there is only a partial exemption up to an intervention amount of 490 euros.” For income year 2024. An exception has been made for this within the second pillar of the federal mobility budget. Anyone who comes to work on foot or, for example, by electric bicycle, can also receive compensation for this, equal to the bicycle allowance. In the second pillar, every What you choose is free of Social Security contributions and withholding taxes.

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