The amount of gift vouchers may double this year

Payment at checkout. Illustrative photo. (JEAN-LUC FLEMAL / BELGA MAG)

Gift certificates are mainly distributed at Christmas. About 70% of them are handed over at the end of the year to by the CSEs, social and economic committees. A huge market of two billion euros. This year, CSEs, small businesses that do not have such a body and local authorities will be able to be more generous. The Ministry of the Economy has just decided to double the tax exemption limit for gift vouchers. It goes from 171 euros to 342.80 euros.

Concretely, this means that your company will not pay social security contributions if it gives you checks for a larger amount. The Ministry of the Economy and Finance had planned to triple the ceiling and raise it to 500 euros. An option ruled out, but 342 euros, it still represents a good sum.

It is obviously a boost for employees, some of whom may have lost income with partial unemployment. But the government’s intention is more precisely to boost small businesses, victims of closures during the two confinements. You know these gift certificates cannot be spent just anywhere. The issuers of gift vouchers, such as Sodexo, Ederend, Up or Natixis, draw up a list of the brands where they can be exchanged. They are most often large brands. They are the ones who benefit the most from this windfall. But this year, the government wants the gift vouchers to benefit small businesses, those who have suffered, and it expressly asks the issuers of gift vouchers to put them in the loop, to expand their partnerships in this direction.

This measure comes a few days after the announcement of the extension of meal vouchers. Still to promote businesses that are suffering, the 2020 meal vouchers, which were to expire in February, remain valid until September. They can be used in particular for “click and withdraw” and for home meal deliveries, if restaurants remain closed. The maximum amount to spend had been raised to 38 euros instead of 19 as of May. This measure also remains valid until September. Meal vouchers can also be used on weekends, but be careful, not in supermarkets.

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