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New Methodological guideline on employees’ meal allowance and the planned increase in meal allowances

On 22 of February 2022, the Financial Directorate issued a Methodological guideline detailing the various forms of providing meals to its employees. It also mentions the planned increase in meal allowances for business trips, which will also have impact on the amount of the tax-free meal allowance.

According to the preliminary proposal of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic (MPSVaR SR) on increasing the amounts of meal allowances, the amounts of meal allowances for business trips should be increased as follows:

  • from 5,10 to EUR 6 for the time zone 5 to 12 hours,
  • from 7,60 to EUR 9 for the time zone over 12 hours up to 18 hours,
  • from 11,60 to EUR 13,70 for the time zone over 18 hours.

MPSVaR is thus responding to the rising prices of meals and soft drinks in the gastro sector. The review process should be held in February/March 2022, while the increase should come into force on 1 April 2022.

This increase will have impact on all forms of meals and financial contribution for meals provided based on the Labour Code. The maximum amount of tax exemption for an employee, which we have mentioned in this article, will increase from EUR 2,81 to EUR 3,30 with the planned increase in the amount of the meal allowance. The value of the meal voucher will also increase from the current EUR 3,83 to EUR 4,50.

We are monitoring the process and we will keep you informed.

The Methodological guideline goes into details on all types of meals arranged by employers as well as financial contribution and explains a number of situations using concrete examples. It also addresses some of the so far problematic issues, such as applicability of the exemption under § 5 Section 7 lett. o) of the Income Tax Act on meals provided for consumption on the workplace.

Pursuant to § 5 Section 7 lett. o) as of 1 January 2022, non-cash benefits provided to an employee in an aggregate amount up to EUR 500 per tax period from all employers are exempt from tax, unless the Income Tax Act provides otherwise and the employer does not claim it as tax deductible expenses (costs). According to the Methodological guideline, an employee cannot claim this tax exemption for meals, i.e. the difference between the maximum amount contributed by the employer of EUR 2,81 (EUR 3,30 soon) and the value of the meals is the employee's taxable income. As such, the provision is probably not applicable to e.g. snacks at meetings or fruit in the kitchen, when the maximum amount of the exempt meal allowance is already provided for a lunch. This situation and tracking of such snack consumption for employees therefore remains problematic.

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