Paying your employees travel allowance

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

You can cover your staff's travel expenses. This is not mandatory, unless stated in the collective labour agreement (CAO) for your industry. Or if it is stated in your own employment contracts or company regulations. Read what you should take into account when paying travel allowances.

How does travel allowance work?

With a travel allowance (reiskostenvergoeding), you help pay for your employee's travel expenses. It does not matter if your employees travel on foot, by bicycle, private car, or public transport. The distance does not matter either. Nor whether it is a commute or business trip, such as a visit to a customer.

Kilometre allowance for self-employed workers

Do you use your private car for your business? Then you may deduct a business allowance of €0.23 per kilometre from your profit. This is allowed if you are an entrepreneur for income tax purposes. You can submit the kilometre allowance with your annual income tax return.

Tax-free travel allowance 2024

In 2024, you may reimburse your employees €0.23 per kilometre tax-free. This amount is not regarded as salary by the Netherlands Tax Administration (Belastingdienst). So, you do not withhold payroll taxes over it. You can also reimburse a higher amount per kilometre. But the Tax Administration regards anything above €0.23 as salary, so it must be taxed.

Minimum travel allowance

You decide how many kilometres you want to reimburse. You can state the minimum number of kilometres in the employment agreement or collective labour agreement (CAO).

Reclaim travel expenses up to 5 years later

Employees may reclaim their travel expenses up to 5 years after the travel date. This means that your employees may still reclaim travel expenses from you for the past 5 years. Your employees must then be able to prove their travel expenses and/or kilometres travelled. For example, by keeping track of the kilometres travelled in a travel registration system. The travel expenses can only be claimed back if you have made agreements about the travel costs.

Own or public transport

If your employee travels by private transport, you may reimburse a maximum of €0.23 per kilometre tax-free. This is also possible if an employee has to detour. For example, to take children to school. In that case, you may not reimburse the kilometres for the detour tax-free, because these are private travel expenses.

Does your employee travel by public transport? Then you can also reimburse €0.23 per kilometre travelled. Or you can reimburse the actual travel costs tax-free. For example, the cost of the (return) train ticket. This is usually done via a declaration form. Your employee then submits the train ticket or an overview of the trips made with a public transport card. This lists the costs incurred.

Other transport

Does your employee travel in a different way than by public or private transport? For example, by boat, airplane, or taxi? Then you reimburse the costs incurred. A receipt proving the costs is required for this. Such as a plane ticket or receipt for the taxi ride.

Carpooling and travel allowance

Do your employees come to work together by car (carpooling)? Then there are 2 options for the travel allowance:

  • You organise the carpool You make an appointment with one employee to drive and pick up other colleagues. You reimburse this employee €0.23 per kilometre, including the kilometres that they have to detour to pick up the others. The passengers do not receive any compensation, because you make this transport possible for them.
  • Your employees organise the carpool themselves They will then all receive €0.23 per kilometre. You do not have to reimburse the kilometres for making a detour to pick up others. These are seen as private travel expenses.

Travel allowance when working from home

Employees who partly work from home can also receive a travel allowance.

You can choose from 2 options:

  • You calculate the actual travel costs based on the kilometres travelled on days that your employee travelled for work.
  • You agree to a fixed fee with your employee. The law provides for the 128/214-day scheme (in Dutch) for this. This scheme means that an employee who travels to a fixed workplace for at least 128 days in a calendar year may receive an allowance as if they travelled on 214 days. For example, does your employee travel to a fixed workplace for 130 days? Then you may give an additional travel allowance for commuting for 84 days (214 -130 = 84).

Does your employee not work full-time?

Then you adjust the 128/214-day scheme to the number of days the employee works (pro rata).

Example 1: For an employee who works 3 days, this involves 77 travel days (3/5 of 128 days) and you reimburse 128.4 days (3/5 of 214 days).

Example 2: For an employee who works 4 days, this involves 102 travel days (4/5 of 128 days) and you reimburse 171.2 days (4/5 of 214 days).

Travel allowance in case of illness

If an employee reports sick and is expected to be absent for less than 6 weeks, you may continue to pay the travel allowance.

In case of long-term absence, you may only continue to pay the travel costs for the first 2 months. After that, this is allowed again in the first month after return.

The reimbursement of €0.23 per kilometre is the limit for the Tax Administration. If you reimburse more, your employee pays tax on that extra amount. If you use the discretionary scope (vrije ruimte) of your work-related costs scheme for this higher reimbursement, this amount will remain untaxed.

Read more about calculating the discretionary scope in chapter 10 of the Payroll Taxes Handbook (PDF, in Dutch).

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK