If you carry out any volunteer work, such as community or association work, you may be reimbursed for the costs you incur or receive a small fee for your work. Such amounts are not subject to tax, up to a certain limit.
Untaxed volunteer work reimbursement
Any reimbursements you receive as a volunteer are not subject to tax in the following cases:
- You are only reimbursed for the costs you have incurred.
- You have agreed that you will receive a fee in return for your efforts and you are aged 23 years or older. The fee you receive is no more than €4.50 per hour, up to a maximum of €150 per month or €1500 per year. The maximum amounts apply to the total amount of fees you receive for your work and any reimbursements for the costs you actually incur.
- You have agreed that you will receive a fee in return for your efforts and you are younger than 23 years. The fee you receive is no more than €2.50 per hour, up to a maximum of €150 per month or €1500 per year. The maximum amounts apply to the total amount of fees you receive for your work and any reimbursements for the costs you actually incur.
- You have not agreed that you will receive a fee in return for your efforts.
You receive a fee that is so low that it bears no reflection of the type or duration of the work performed. The fee you receive is no more than €150 per month or €1500 per year. The maximum amounts apply to the total amount of fees you receive for your work.
If you only receive these volunteer fees, then they are not subject to tax.
The organization for which you volunteer does not need to inform the tax authorities of these fees. The organization is also not obliged to keep any records of the number of hours worked, even if you receive any other form of remuneration than an hourly fee.
Are you only reimbursed for the costs you actually incur?
Then this is not subject to tax (see above). You may be reimbursed for your travel expenses or for the costs of stationery or postage, for example. Travel expenses include travel by public transport as well as the use of your own vehicle.
Costs of using public transport
If you travel by public transport, it is easy enough to provide evidence. Simply retain your ticket for the train, bus, tram, or taxi to show how much you paid.
Costs of using your own vehicle
If you use your own vehicle to do volunteer work, then you may claim a mileage allowance from the organization to cover the distance travelled. This is based on an average price per kilometre travelled in your vehicle.
The tax-free allowance for employees is set at €0.19, but this does not apply to volunteers. There is also no minimum limit for the number of kilometres volunteers have to travel in order to claim reimbursement.
Volunteers cannot claim for a mileage allowance if travelling by bike or on foot.
Volunteer work reimbursement
As a volunteer, you may receive more than €4.50 per hour (or €2.50 if you are under 23), €150 per month, or €1500 per year. In such case, the fee you receive is considered to reflect the type and/or duration of the work performed. This work is therefore subject to wage and income tax.
Receiving welfare while doing volunteer work
Are you receiving welfare payments on top of any fees for performing volunteer work?
- Volunteers receiving welfare may earn up to €150 per month or €1500 per year in fees and reimbursement for expenses without it affecting their benefits payments (as at 01/04/2017).
- This means the reimbursement for voluntary work is the same for each volunteer, regardless of whether or not they receive certain benefits. It doesn’t matter whether or not the volunteer work is carried out under a scheme aimed at gaining employment.