On December 16, 2021, tax regulations regarding Christmas vouchers instead of a Christmas party, meal vouchers as well as the Corona bonus were either decided or extended. The following overview is intended to provide a brief summary of these issues.
If the Christmas party in 2020 was cancelled due to corona, employers had the option of granting their employees vouchers of up to € 365 instead, with tax relief. However, this only applied if the benefit from participation in company events, such as a summer party, could not be used or could not be used in full due to the Covid pandemic.
Essentially, this tax benefit was only valid for the year 2020, but was recently extended for the year 2021 by resolution of the National Council. Due to the fourth Corona wave and the subsequent lockdown, many company Christmas parties had to be canceled this year as well, so companies once again have the option of converting this tax allowance into a voucher campaign (cf. § 124b Z 382 Austrian Income Tax Act (AITA)).
The vouchers can be issued retroactively from November 1, 2021 to January 31, 2022. The purpose of the vouchers is to support the domestic economy, so they must be redeemable in trade, gastronomy or other service providers of the economy. The pro rata costs of any company event held nevertheless (summer party, company outing, etc.) must be deducted from the maximum amount of the voucher for each participant. In addition, it is still possible to give employees gifts or vouchers up to a value of € 186,- tax-free as part of a "company event". As is well known, the issuance of vouchers itself is be considered as a company event.
Changes will also be made regarding meal vouchers provided by the employer (cf. § 3 (1) Z 17 AITA). From 2022 onwards, the tax exemption for vouchers in the amount of € 8,- per day shall also apply to those meals of the employees that are prepared or delivered by a restaurant or a delivery service and consumed at the employees' home. Meals prepared by supermarkets and delivered by a delivery service on the other hand are not covered by this exemption. Also covered by the exemption is the pick-up of meals from a business (take-away).
It was also decided that bonuses and allowances for employees in connection with the Covid crisis will continue to be exempt from tax and social security contributions up to an amount of € 3,000 this year, provided that this benefit was not already paid before the pandemic (cf. § 124b Z 350 lit a AITA). There is no restriction on the tax exemption to certain industries or professions. The payment of the premium can also be made in the form of vouchers as well as on a one-off basis or in partial amounts. It should be noted that this regulation only applies if the payment is made by February 2022.
MMag. Bernhard Geiger, Steuerberater und Prokurist, ist seit 2008 bei Deloitte beschäftigt. Als Referatsleiter von BPS Payroll übernimmt er neben seinen Tätigkeitsschwerpunkten, der Beratung von arbeits-, lohnsteuer- und SV-rechtlichen Fragestellungen, auch das Outsourcing der Lohnabrechnung von nationalen und internationalen Mandanten. Er ist Autor zahlreicher Fachbeiträge und Redaktionsmitglied bei einer führenden österreichischen Verlagsgruppe.
Lena Prucher leitet gemeinsam mit ihrem Kollegen Bernhard Geiger das Payroll Outsourcing bei Deloitte. Sie ist seit 2007 beim Unternehmen, Steuerberaterin, und spezialisert auf Arbeits-, Lohnsteuer- und Sozialversicherungsrecht.