man and woman sitting at restaurant table, paying with card

Is payment compulsory? What is the difference between a card and a paycheck? Is there a limit on the amount subject to tax? Clarify your doubts here.

First of all, the food allowance is a daily benefit that is directly related to the actual work performed, and it is not part of the allowances and is not paid in the case of justified absences with loss of pay, DECO Proteste points out.

“This benefit is not compulsory and may, in certain cases, be replaced by the provision of food by the employer (for example, in educational establishments or companies that have their own canteen),” says the consumer protection organization.

DECO Proteste has put together four questions about the food allowance, which will help clear up some doubts. Find out more:

1. What is the difference between receiving the allowance by card and by salary?

“Employers can pay the allowance in cash or by card. If they pay it in cash, it is subject to taxation if it exceeds the current value of 6 euros (in force since April 18, 2023). This amount is set for civil service workers and used as a criterion for private sector workers.

If paid by card, the amount rises to 9.60 euros and is exempt from taxation if it does not exceed this limit.

The food allowance paid by card cannot be exchanged for cash and can only be used in restaurants, supermarkets and other participating establishments.”

2. Is there a limit on the amount subject to tax?

“If it is paid in cash, it is exempt from IRS if it does not exceed 6 euros. It is also exempt from IRS if it is paid by card and does not exceed 9.60 euros.”

3. Is there a minimum amount to pay?

“Although not fixed, the minimum reference value adopted may be (since April 2023) 6 euros.”

4. Are companies obliged to update the amount this year?

“There is no legal obligation to update – except for civil service workers – although practice shows that most private employers use the reference for the public sector and update accordingly.”

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