This company has to pay 120,000 euros to the tax authorities for free healthy lunches for employees

This company has to pay 120,000 euros to the tax authorities for free healthy lunches for employees

He wants to fight it to the Supreme Court, and the appeal has already been lodged. Rob Baan, owner of Koppert Cress, believes the government should encourage people to eat healthy.

So he is not at all comfortable that the judge has sided with the tax authorities in an earlier lawsuit and in the latest appeal to the Court of Appeal.

80% tax

It’s all about free space, a clause in the tax code. Under the work-related cost scheme, the company may annually spend a percentage of the total wage bill on tax-exempt allowances for employees.

This concerns, for example, the birthday package, employee parties and drinks. Businesses so generous that they go above the threshold must pay an 80 percent payroll tax on this portion.

worth 800 EUR

Lunches at Koppert Cress are around €800 per employee, with a full-time contract. Counted on all employees, this means that since 2016, Baan has had to pay about 120 thousand euros in tax after the empty space.

“I want this money back. I objected to it, it was rejected, and then I started the lawsuit. A ton is nothing compared to my total sales, and litigation costs money, but it’s about principle. A healthy lunch shouldn’t be taxed, it’s not a disguised wage.”

Only healthy food

Croquettes are not allowed in the canteen, cheese sandwiches or soft drinks are not allowed. “We only serve water flavored with fresh fruits. We also have all kinds of salads, spreads vegetables, grilled vegetables, fresh soups and bread. The latter is necessary because there are people who do work that requires physical effort, but also often choose salad.”

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Ban says the government wants the Dutch to live a healthy life. “It starts with nutrition. We eat very little fruit and vegetables. We often don’t get more than 130 grams a day. That’s because we don’t have a good lunch culture. At lunchtime, we rarely eat fruit and vegetables. I changed that.”

Except for a few, the staff are happy with it. “They feel healthier, say they have more energy, and get sick less. So I pay for lunch with love.”

Reaching Healthy Retirement

The fact that he (in part) pays an 80 percent tax on this is a problem for Ban. “Safety shoes aren’t taxed either. You wear them to keep your left toe and right toe safe. What I’m doing is keeping your left kidney and right kidney safe.”

The gardener wants to make sure employees arrive at their pension in good health. “Practice what you preach. They already get 200g of vegetables here at lunch, so they have to decide for themselves what to eat in the evening and in the morning.”

Meals are made by a dietitian and comply with the Healthy Diet Guidelines issued by the Health Council and the Nutrition Center’s Five Wheel. During the lawsuit, Baan also provided affidavits from the company’s physician and an occupational medicine physician.

Their view: Lunch, along with an exercise program, fits in with a health and safety policy and can be considered a “health risk reduction facility.”

1964 law

Therefore, the Tax and Customs Administration thinks differently about this, based on the Wage Tax Act which dates back to 1964. It is not part of the working conditions policy and is therefore taxable.

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Ban: “When we talk to the tax authorities or the ministry, they support what we do. But when it comes to payment, we have to pay on the basis of this old law. There is something wrong with the mentality of the tax authorities and in that I think I have a good chance of winning this case in court. and then other companies can also provide a healthy lunch more easily.”

Ban would prefer that the law be amended on this point by the House of Representatives. “This will have a major impact on public health.”

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