You are here:
28 August 2018 / news

New thresholds for gifts granted to employees

Employers can grant their employees at special occasions gifts in kind, or in cash or in the form of gift vouchers. These gifts do not qualify as salary subject to social security contributions and income taxes. This exemption comes with the condition that the gift cannot exceed a certain threshold. For each special occasion, a different threshold is applied.

New thresholds for gifts granted to employees

With a Royal Decree of 3 July 2018, new thresholds were published for social security purposes only, applicable as of 1 January 2017. It is expected that the same thresholds will become applicable for income tax purposes as well. However, as long as there is no confirmation from the tax authorities in this respect, it is recommended to use the old thresholds.

The social security exemption can be summarised as follows:

Special occasion 31/12/2016 1/1/2017
St. Nicolas / Christmas or New Year 35 EUR per year and per employee (+ 35 EUR per child) 40 EUR per year and per employee (+ 40 EUR per child)
Honourable distinction 105 EUR per year and per employee 120 EUR per year and per employee

Retirement (with the exclusion

of bridging pension)

35 EUR per year of service with a minimum

of 105 EUR and a maximum of 875 EUR

40 EUR per year of service with a minimum

of 120 EUR and a maximum of 1.000 EUR

Marriage, legally cohabiting 200 EUR 245 EUR

Except for the marriage premium, exceeding the threshold will result in a requalification of the whole gift amount into salary.

Besides the threshold, an employer must also treat all employees of the same category equally. So, if one employee receives a gift of 40 EUR for Christmas, all employees of the same employee category must receive the gift as well.   

If the gift is awarded in the form of gift vouchers, the following additional conditions apply:

  • The vouchers can only be exchanged with companies that have concluded an agreement with the issuers of these vouchers; and
  • They are limited in time; and
  • They cannot be exchanged in cash, neither in full or partially.

Attention: there is no obligation to adjust gifts paid between 1 January 2017 and the publication of these new thresholds. 

On the other hand, if gifts were paid for a higher amount than the previous thresholds, the new thresholds may result in the possibility to claim a reimbursement for paid social security contributions (e.g. if a gift was paid to an employee for being married of 300 EUR, social security was due on the difference of 100 EUR, whereas with the new threshold, social security would only be due on 55 EUR).

Class/collective actions in Belgium: overview

Class/collective actions in Belgium: overview

A Q&A guide providing an overview of class actions in Belgium, including the legal framework, current trends and the recent extension to SMEs. read more
The rise of the Code of Companies & Associations

CJEU rules on 'tender shaping' practices in the medical device sector

On 25 October 2018, the CJEU ruled in Case C-413/17 on the margin of discretion of contracting authorities to establish technical specifications in relation... read more
Alcohol at New Year’s reception

Alcohol at New Year’s reception: what risks do you face as an employer?

The period of New Year receptions at work is approaching again. Do you, as an employer, have to take precautions to limit alcohol consumption? Who is liable... read more
Stay informed

Don't miss out. Stay up to date about our latest news and events.