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Sports and Culture Cheques

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Learn more about the Belgian phenomenon of "sports and culture cheques"

The Tax Administration has issued new directives concerning sport and culture cheques (Circular of 2 June 2009). The Administration was thereby obviously inspired by the legislation concerning social security (Royal Decree of 30 June 2006).

Sports and culture cheques distributed as from 1 July 2006 are considered as exempted social advantages, when they meet all of the following conditions:

  • the award  has been set out in a collective labour agreement on sectoral level or company level or in a written individual agreement, as far as the cheques are granted to all or a category of the employees;
  • the total amount per employee may no longer exceed 100 EUR per year;
  • the cheques are delivered in the name of the employee (this condition is fulfilled when the granting, the number and the amount of the cheques appear on the individual account of the employee);
  • a statement appears on the cheque that the validity is restricted up to 15 months, in  particular from 1 July of the year of issue up to and including  30 September of the following year;
  • a statement appears on the cheque that it can only be accepted by culture sector operators who are recognized, approved or subsidized by the proper authorities and sports associations connected to a federation which is subsidized or recognized by the Communities, or which belong to one of the four national federations (soccer, boxing, golf and hockey);
  • they can not be exchanged for money (either entirely or partially);
  • they are not granted to replace or convert remunerations, bonuses, advantages in kind or in some other advantage.

These new directives also apply to managers.

When the sports and culture cheques meet the before-mentioned conditions, they constitute a “rejected expenditure” (fiscally not deductible) for the employer/company. Finally, the Tax Authority confirms that it is possible to combine sports and culture cheques with other coupons, even when they are also related to sports and culture (for example, book coupons, film cheques, admission tickets for sport events, etc.).

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