THE TAX BENEFITS OF INVESTING IN EMPLOYEE HEALTH

Company health services such as chair massage, yoga classes and employee health programmes fall within the WKR (‘werkkostenregeling’) rule in the Netherlands. This is a method of assessing the taxability of employee benefits.

Generally, the WKR grants employers a tax-free budget of 1.2% of the annual total taxable wage. Benefits remain tax-free within that budget. If the total amount of allowances exceeds the tax-free budget of 1.2%, the excess will be subject to payroll tax of 80% to the employer.

However, because the tax office wishes to encourage employers to invest in the health of their employees, certain benefits are awarded a ‘zero’ rule, meaning that they remain tax-free without limitation (ie. the 1.2% limit does not apply).

Generally, any health services initiated by an employer that form part of the company’s  ‘Arboplan’ are eligible for the ‘zero’ rule.

In the case of chair massage services – in order to be eligible for this ‘zero’ rule, certain conditions need to be met:

  • You have an ‘Arboplan’ for your company which mentions the service as a means of achieving the objective of  improving employee wellbeing.
  • The service takes place during office hours and not during staff breaks
  • The employee does not have to pay a contribution
  • There is a notable private saving for the employee.

If you are unable to comply with the conditions above, health services can still be given without taxation, but will be subject to the 1,2% tax-free allowance limit.

For more specific information we recommend that you refer to the Belastingdienst website

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