The few days that remain of the year still leave room to negotiate with the company the collection of remuneration in kind that is not taxed and that therefore contributes to reducing the amount of work income that will have to be paid in personal income tax. These payments in kind are the transport check, the restaurant check or the medical insurance paid by the company and all of them are tax-free. In the case of the food check, also if you work from home.
The pandemic imposed teleworking whenever possible in the spring of 2020 and remote work persists in many cases, although to a lesser extent, once a certain normality has been restored. The food voucher and its tax-free status of remuneration in kind has therefore survived for those who continue to work from home and can thus use it to order food at home or to the place from which they are doing remote work. As explained from the Registry of Fiscal Advisory Economists (REAF), it is accepted that the food check is not used only in a restaurant but in food delivery establishments
The pandemic even forced a modification of the Personal Income Tax Law last year in which to include the new situations in which to use the restaurant check, to include the request for food at home, according to María Antonia del Río, Director at the KPMG Lawyers Department of Taxation of Individuals. “It was made clear that it could also be used in that case with the same requirements in force up to now, for an amount of 11 euros per day, on business days, not cumulative and on days when no allowances were received,” he explains.
The recognition of the restaurant check in teleworking presents in any case a varied casuistry that has also reached the courts. A judgment of the National Court, of April of this year, recognizes that the food check cannot be suppressed for being teleworking. And another from last September also from the National Court notes, however, that the food check can be withdrawn from the employee in a teleworking situation when there is a split shift.
Eduardo Martínez, lawyer from the Legal area of Labor Legal at KPMG Abogados, explains that so far there is no unified criterion by the Supreme Court on the matter. In any case, he adds that it is very important to take into account that the aforementioned judgments respond to the hard times of the pandemic, when telework regulations did not exist, and “to the concrete and specific casuistry presented by each of the defendant companies, being especially relevant for these purposes the regulation that existed in the different collective agreements that were applicable to them ”.
Thus, the specific regulations that regulate teleworking, according to the law approved in July 2021, do not contain any provision for which personnel who are teleworking must enjoy a restaurant ticket, adds Francisco Artacho, lawyer in the Labor Legal area of KPMG Lawyers. The expert recalls that voluntariness is one of the essential principles of teleworking, and although worker compensation has to be established for the expenses that he has to assume when working from home, such as electricity or internet, nothing is foreseen in the rule on food checks. “In our professional practice, we have not found any assumption in which, in a teleworking agreement, the company and the worker have included restaurant tickets as part of the content of the teleworking agreement,” explains Artacho, although it could well be possible if the company and the worker so agreed.