The issue of meal voucher lump sum has been filling newspaper pages since January of this year, under many guises. Before you start implementing changes in your company though, you should find out below about the most beneficial treatment available.
What is meal voucher lump sum
If, as a company, you provide meal-related contributions to your employees as part of their benefit packages, as of 1 January 2021, you will also have an option to provide, apart from meal vouchers, a contribution in cash which has been widely referred to as meal voucher lump sum.
Until the end of 2020, employers contributed to employees’ meals through traditional meal vouchers or meal cards, which they paid for up to 55% of their respective value. However, as of 2021, a new possibility arose to contribute cash directly.
The maximum daily amount of cash contribution to one employee, which is not subject to social security or health insurance, is CZK 75.60. Such amount can be provided by an employer to an employee in net amount for every shift worked and the amount can also be treated as tax-deductible.
Benefits of meal voucher lump sum
You probably noticed that cash contributions have the following main practical benefits over traditional meal vouches:
- Greater freedom of choice for an employee – an employee can use the cash contribution to buy meals in facilities that do not accept traditional meal vouchers.
- Lesser administrative burden for employers – no need to order meal vouchers, count them and issue them to employees.
- Cost savings for employers – no payment of commission to issuers of meal vouchers.
Do traditional meal vouchers have any benefits?
Benefits of meal vouchers kick in if you are generous as an employer and contribute an amount to an employee that is greater than CZK 75.60 for one shift. Meal vouchers are not subject to taxation or social security / health insurance regardless of their total amount.
However, if a higher amount is paid by the employer through a cash contribution, an amount exceeding the stated sum will represent taxable income for the employee. The income will also be subject to social security and health insurance, for employee as well as employer.
What is the treatment for the employer?
For the employer the cash contribution is fully tax-deductible, even in cases where they pay more than the amount of CZK 75.60.
In contrast, as regards meal vouchers, an employer can claim as tax-deductible only 55% of the meal voucher amount, capped at CZK 75.60.
The following table provides a comparison of costs when you, as employer, contribute CZK 150 to an employee in the form of a meal voucher vs. as cash contribution.
|Meal voucher||Cash contribution|
|Value of meal voucher or cash contribution in CZK||150,00||150,00|
|Tax-deductible cost for the employer||75,60||150,00|
|Tax non-deductible cost||74,40||0,00|
|Social security and health insurance – employer||0,00||25,15|
|Personal income tax* – employee||0,00||11,16|
|Social security and health insurance – employee||0,00||8,09|
|Additional tax and insurance – employer||14,14||25,15|
|Additional tax and insurance – employee||0,00||19,25|
|*) For the purpose of the calculation we assume personal income tax rate of 15% for the employee|
In case of providing a meal voucher of daily nominal amount of CZK 150 fully (without any contribution from an employee), the employer pays an extra of CZK 14 on tax. However, if a cash contribution of the same amount is provided, the additional tax is almost three times higher (CZK 44).
For generous employers who contribute to meals of employees with an amount exceeding CZK 75.60 per day as well as for their employees, it is financially more beneficial to further use meal vouchers.
You will also probably continue to use meal vouchers in cases where workers in your company work 12-hour shifts, if you have employees on one-off job contracts (“DPP” or “DPČ“ in Czech) etc. Not all employees will likely be entitled to enjoy meal voucher lump sums.
Find your own way
As an employer you determine the manner of contributing to meals of your employees. If circumstances so allow, some employees can receive a contribution through a meal voucher lump sum and others through meal vouchers or through a possibility to use own company canteen. However, in every period, every employee can only use one of the two options.
If you are still not sure which form of contribution is optimal for your company and employees, feel free to contact us for a consultation. We will be happy to find the optimal solution for you.