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Can a professional deduct his meal expenses?

Verified 24 February 2023 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

The self-employed person subject to income tax (IR) under the Industrial and Commercial Profits (BIC) or Non-Commercial Profits (NTB) regime may deduct extra meal expenses of its outcome, subject to certain conditions. These additional costs are the fraction exceeding the amount of a meal taken at home.

In order to be deductible from income tax payable in the year following the incurrence of the expenses, the expenses must 3 conditions following:

  • To constitute expenditure necessary for the pursuit of the profession (e.g. business trip to a client or business meal), not by personal convenience (spousal or Civil partnership partner expenses are excluded)
  • Be justified by the distance between the place of exercise and the place of residence
  • Be effectively engaged (subject to documentary evidence, including an invoice from a restaurant or caterer)

In order to determine the normal nature of the distance, account shall be taken, on a case-by-case basis, of the density of the agglomeration, the nature of the activity carried out, the location of the clientele or the working hours.

The portion of the expense that would have been incurred by the taxpayer if he had eaten his meal at home is a personal expense. It cannot be taken into account for the determination of taxable profit.

Warning  

The value of the meal taken at home and a prepared meal by the professional himself (bowl) is not deductible.

Only the additional cost of meals may be regarded as necessary for the exercise of the profession.

The deductible expense is the difference between actual meal costs incurred and the flat-rate assessment of the food-in-kind benefit.

However, beyond the exemption limit of allowances for the meal expenses of employees, the expenditure incurred is considered to be excessive and is not deductible.

Tableau - Maximum amount deductible from additional meal expenses (per day) based on the year of expenditure

2021

2022

2023

Flat-rate assessment of the food-in-kind benefit

€4.95

€5.00

€5.20

Exemption Limit

€19.10

€19.40

€20.20

Maximum amount deductible per day

€14.15

€14.40

€15.00

FYI  

Between 1er september 2022 and december 31, 2022, the exemption limit was set at €20.20 and the flat-rate advantage to €5.00. For expenditure incurred during this period, the maximum amount deductible was therefore €15.20 (20,20 - 5).

Examples with the 2023 scale:

  • On an expenditure of €15 Including tax, the trader can deduct the cost of meals up to €15 - €5.20 = €9.80
  • On an expenditure of €35 TTC, deductible expenses are €20.20 - €5.20 = €15.00

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