In the tax package for year 2021 we can find novelty – so called “meal allowance”. The law passed the third lecture in the Chamber of Deputies and according to surveys, employees and employers also support it. If the Senate votes in favour of this law and in this case is presumable, we will have a new tool which will be advantageous to employers and employees.
The obligation for employer to enable to take meals on all shifts is in Labour Code in Section 236 paragraph 1. The employer chooses the method how he fulfils his duty. He can reserve a room where employees can eat, he can open a canteen, or he can give employees electronic or paper meal vouchers. The financial side we can find in tax law, specifically in Law on Income Tax.
Like a first, we describe issue of tax from employer's point of view. In case of fulfilling of specified requirements the employer can apply meal vouchers as tax-deductible expenses. For employees, meal vouchers are income from employment, which is exempt from tax, if meal is provide in non-monetary form.
So, what should change because of meal allowance? In Law on Income Tax in parts about meal in Section for employer and for employee will be added one new term “meal allowance for employee which is given to him by employer per one shift” or also shortly “meal allowance”. Besides meal vouchers, the employers will be able to give employees tax-free money.
What will change in practice? We describe it from both point of views. For employers the biggest benefit, in case of implementation of meal allowance, is less administrative. The new system will allow the employer to skip the step, in which he has to pay to meal voucher issuing companies, which just issue meal vouchers and employer then has to give vouchers to the employee. Employer won't have to distribute paper meal vouchers and he won't have to distribute finances over meal cards, which are used in case of electronic meal vouchers. The employer could give money directly to the employee.
The employee won't have to check the expiration date on meal voucher or if meal vouchers are accepted in shop or restaurant. Employees don't have to be worry that meal allowance would be executed because it is separated extra benefit. Meal allowance should be equated with meal vouchers, which are not the subject of execution, because they are extra benefit which can be given to the employee by employer.
No one, employer or employee has to document that they spend money on food. Legislators think that people will spend money on food because they need it and the sum is already limited by law. So, according to legislators, there is no reason to document that employee is using money on food.
The profit from this change should have also restaurants and shops. The ones where you already can use meal vouchers should get more money because they wouldn’t' have to pay commission to meal voucher issuing companies. The ones which haven't accepted meal vouchers for administrative reasons, they won't be disadvantaged anymore.
Law allowance for employers doesn't mean a new duty but it is a new possibility how employers can fulfil their obligation which is assigned them by Labour Code.
Author: David Fabián
 ŽUROVEC, Michal. PŘEHLEDNĚ: Co přináší stravenkový paušál [online]. 10.9.2020 [cit. 2020-11-22]. Dostupné z: https://www.mfcr.cz/cs/aktualne/tiskove-zpravy/2020/prehledne-co-prinasi-stravenkovy-pausal-39391
 Conditions are in Section 24 paragraph of Income Tax Law: meal allowance which are provided by another subject up to 55 % of price of one meal per one shift, the maximum is 70 % of meal if the employee has mission from 5 to 12 hours. Meal allowance can be deducted from taxes if employee is at work for more than 3 hours. The employer can expense one more meal if employee works over 11 hours including break. Allowence can't be expense if employee has right on meal because of special law.
Section 6 paragraph 9 of Act No. 586/1992 Coll., Law on Income Tax