Do you have to pay taxes and social security contributions on expense reimbursements for artistic services provided for others?

Your expense reimbursement is intended to cover your expenses. In the case of the real expense reimbursement, you have to provide proof of your expenses. The volunteer’s reimbursement and the small reimbursement for artists are fixed. This means expenses do not have to be proven. You do not pay any taxes or social security contributions on expense reimbursements.

Two types of expense reimbursement

  • Real expense reimbursement: your reimbursement is the amount of the expenses you have actually incurred. You must be able to prove these expenses and be able to submit, for example, an invoice, receipt or bus ticket. Some expenses, such as telephone/Internet costs and expenses for travelling by car, may be difficult to prove by means of documentary evidence. These expenses can be estimated at a flat rate. For journeys made by car, you can charge EUR 0.3461 per kilometre (valid from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014).
  • Fixed expense reimbursements:
    • Reimbursement for volunteers: if you satisfy the strict conditions for volunteer work you do not need to prove your expenses. You will receive up to EUR 32.71 a day and EUR 1,308.28 a year. The volunteer’s reimbursement is an all-in expense reimbursement. All costs are included in that amount. However, your client may give you a travel allowance for up to 2,000 kilometres a year and up to EUR 605.20 a year:
      • car: up to EUR 0.3461 per kilometre;
      • bicycle: up to EUR 0.21 per kilometre;
      • public transport: the price of your ticket.
    • Small expense compensation system for artists: this is an all-in expense reimbursement that you may not combined with another expense reimbursement (such as kilometres travelled):
      • up to EUR 122.24 per day per client;
      • not more than 7 consecutive days with the same client;
      • not more than 30 days a year;
      • up to EUR 2,444.74 a year.
        While awaiting the artist’s card, the client is advised to have the artist sign a declaration of honour in which the artist confirms that he/she is still eligible for the small expense compensation system.
    • Combination of both fixed reimbursements: you may not combine both reimbursements for your artistic services. Where applicable, you can turn to the small expense compensation system for your artistic services and the volunteer’s reimbursement for your non-artistic services, but not on the same day.

Do you have to pay taxes and social security contributions?  

  • Taxes: you do not have to pay taxes. Expense reimbursements do not need to be entered on the tax return. Because they are tax-free, your client will not draw up a tax form for the fixed volunteer’s reimbursement and the small expense compensation system. Only in the case of the real expense reimbursement is a tax form sometimes drawn up (tax form 281.50, section ‘expenses incurred for the account of the purchaser’). These expenses do not need to be entered on your tax return.
  • Social security contributions: you do not have to pay social security contributions. In other words, an expense reimbursements does not give any entitlement to unemployment benefit, pension, child benefit, etc.

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