EV charging at home paid by the boss (still) tax-free?
While fuel cards are taxed as a benefit in kind by the Belgian government, electricity charged at home and even the EV charging station installed at the bosses’ expense aren’t. At least for the time being, financial newspaper De Tijd dug out.
With company cars being more and more electric, often, a specific EV charging station is installed at the employee’s home too. The latter is an investment of 2.000 euros on average. But unlike the fuel card that simply can be revoked by the employer, this ‘benefit’ isn’t something that is removed that easy when the employee leaves the company.
Ask for the ruling
So how is the ‘taxman’ dealing with this? According to rulings of the service dealing with introductory decisions (Dienst Voorafgaande Beslissingen) of the Belgian tax authorities, the charging station isn’t a benefit in kind, just like the electricity itself, when the boss pays for it.
Veerle Michiels, advisor at hr-service company SDWorx warns however that in order to play safe, the company has to ask for such a ruling itself. And what happens with the charging station once the leasing period ends? Normally the writing-off of such a charging station at home is done over the same period as the lease, typically 48 months at some 40 euros per month.
Transfer of property
Afterward, depending on the car policy, a so-called ‘transfer of property‘ – free or paid for – will follow between employer and employee. But the rulings don’t see that as an extra benefit of a kind for the employee. It estimated the actual value negligible. After 48 months, the EV charging station could be outdated already, as technology evolves fast.
Clear and simple were it not for the National Office for Social Security (RSZ) to think differently. They estimate that an EV charging station left at the employee’s home after the leasing period should be counted as a benefit in kind. In that case, the residual value has to be defined.
“One should determine as good as possible what someone should pay on the second-hand market for an EV charging station like this,” Veerle Michiels says. “The price-setting has to be fair. It isn’t a symbolic euro”. On the other hand, there isn’t a benefit of a kind when the transfer of property is handled by the leasing company and the employee directly without the company interfering,
What if you leave halfway?
What if you decide to leave the company that paid for your EV charger before the leasing ends? An employer can’t force the employee to take over the EV charger at his expense. That would conflict with the law on the employment contracts, Michiels says. “Such a rule in the policy would hinder someone from looking for another job.”
In practice, the EV charging station is as often removed as it is left at the employee’s home, says Bart Massin of Stroohm, a service company for fleet owners of EVs. If the employee leaves the company halfway his contract, it remains attractive for the company to recuperate the charging station for another employee. “But it can be beneficial for the employee to voluntary take over the charger at 1.000 euros, for instance.”