2022 Road and Meal Allowance Exceptions

Besides the wage, the most common additional benefits provided to employees are meals and road assistance. How will the income tax and SSI exemptions be applied to road and meal allowances, according to the payroll parameters of 2022?

Income Tax and SSI Exemptions for Meal Aids

When the employer wants to cover the employee’s meal, there are a few options:

  • Providing its own dining hall service,
  • Engaging a company to provide meals within the company,
  • Engaging a food caterer outside the company
  • Issuing meal allowance to employees in cash on the payroll
  • The employee may be given a meal card or a meal voucher to eat at restaurants.

For each of the above-mentioned methods, certain exemptions have been defined on the insurance and income tax.

With the announcement of the minimum wage amount for 2022, the exemption figure on the insurance was determined. With the Income Tax General Communiqué/Serial No: 317 published in the Official Gazette on December 21, 2021, the food and road aid exemption amounts on the income tax were determined as follows:

SSI Exceptions 
Cash Meal Money SSI Exception 10.01
Cash Road Money SSI Exception None
Card/Coupon Food Aid SSI ExceptionAll Exempted
Card/Ticket Road Aid SSI ExceptionAll Exempted
  
Income Tax Exceptions 
Cash Food Money Income Tax Exception None
Cash Road Money Income Tax ExceptionNone
Card/Coupon Food Aid Income Tax Exception34
Card/Coupon Food Aid Income Tax Exception (with 8% VAT)36.72
Card/Ticket Road Aid Income Tax Exception17

How is Meal Exemption Applied?

Cash Meal Allowance: Meal allowance paid to the employee in cash on his/her payroll is subject to income tax. In terms of SSI, 6% of the daily minimum wage is exempted from the PEK base on a working day basis, SSI premium is not calculated over it.

Cafeteria Service and Meal Service in an Organization Outside the Company: Since the meal service provided to the worker as a meal in person is an aid in kind, SSI premium is not calculated over this aid. The cost of this assistance, which is also determined as an exception in terms of income tax, is accounted for without being added to the payroll. However, in calculations of severance pay, it is essential that the meal cost is added to the employee’s wage.

Meal Card/Meal Coupon: Benefits that are not paid to the employee in cash, loaded on the meal card or given as meal coupons are considered as aid in kind by the SSI since it is a vehicle that can only be purchased for food service, and the SSI premium is not calculated over the premium, regardless of the amount. On the income tax side, daily tax exemption is applied on a working day basis, based on the figures that are determined every year. This amount has been determined as 34 TRY for 2022.

How Are Road Assistance Exceptions Applied?

It is possible to provide road assistance to the worker in 3 ways.

Cash Travel Allowance: Travel allowance paid to the employee in cash on his payroll is subject to both income tax and SSI. No exceptions apply.

Service: Since the provision of a vehicle to take the worker to and from work without paying travel allowance is a kind of assistance, SSI premium is not calculated over this assistance. The cost of this assistance, which is also determined as an exception in terms of income tax, is accounted for without being added to the payroll. However, in calculations of severance pay, it is essential that the service fee is added to the employee’s dressed wage.

Public Transportation Card/Ticket: Aid that has not been paid to the employee in cash, loaded on a road card (Akbil, Kentkart, etc.) or given as a ticket, is considered as aid-in-kind and regardless of the amount, SSI premium is not calculated and is not included in the earnings that form the basis of the premium. 

With the new regulation, effective as of 2020, regarding the issuance of roadside assistance as a card or ticket, it has become possible to apply an income tax exemption on a working day basis. This amount was determined as 17 TRY for 2022.

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