As a result of the coronavirus crisis, your staff are working from home where possible. This results in costs, so the question is whether and to what extent you can reimburse these free of tax.
It is generally not possible to grant untaxed allowances for a home workplace. A different situation only applies if the workplace is self-contained, which means it needs to have its own entrance and sanitary facilities and you then have to rent the workplace from the employee. Only in such cases can untaxed allowances be granted, e.g. for energy costs, and can a desk be made available free of tax, for example.
PC, mobile communication equipment and internet
Computer equipment, such as laptops, printers, etc., and mobile communication equipment, such as a smartphone, can be reimbursed or supplied free of tax if, in your opinion, the employee needs it to perform his or her role properly from home. An internet contract also falls under the above.
In the case of a contract covering various services, such as TV, you need to reasonably estimate the costs that can be allocated to the internet connection. Only this portion may be reimbursed free of tax.
For employees who are obliged to work from home there will generally be little argument about whether a laptop, etc. is essential. Non-essential aids are also exempted if 90% or more of their use by the employee is for business purposes.
If not exempted, charge to fixed budget
If you reimburse the cost of or make available a non-essential item, in principle this is taxable for your employee. However, you can also include it under the work-related expenses scheme, which means it will remain untaxed. As an employer, you will only pay a final levy of 80% if you exceed the fixed budget for this year.
The fixed budget this year has been increased to 1.7% of the wage bill up to € 400,000 and 1.2% on the excess amount.
And when the crisis is over?
If your employees no longer need to work from home after the coronavirus crisis, they will have to return to you the PCs, etc. that have been made available or acquire them as their own private property and pay you reasonable compensation for them.