The latest changes around food vouchers and tax relief

The latest changes around food vouchers and tax relief


Changes to the Corporate Income Tax Act from 1 January 2024.


With the Corporate Income Tax Act changes, from 1 January 2024, employers can provide their employees with electronic meal vouchers. Paper vouchers will continue to be used alongside electronic vouchers until 1 July 2024, and after this transitional period, the tax relief will only apply to electronic vouchers. During the period January-July 2024, employers can choose which of the two types of vouchers to provide - paper or digital, but not both at the same time.

Employers will use the food vouchers to provide monthly meal allowances to individuals working under an employment or management contract, separate from their pay.

Requirements for food vouchers and tax relief

The tax relief 2024 will remain up to BGN 200 per month per employee, with the condition that all employees receive the same amount in the form of food vouchers, as they are a social benefit that should be equally accessible.

The employee's agreed basic monthly remuneration in the month in which the vouchers are awarded must not be less than the average of the employee's agreed basic monthly remuneration for the previous three months. Another important condition remains that employers have no enforceable public debts at the end of the month in which the voucher expenditure is charged. Electronic meal vouchers shall be provided under conditions agreed between the employer and the employees' representatives or the representatives of the nationally-representative trade union organizations in the undertaking.

Where can food vouchers be used?

Digital food vouchers can be used for the purchase of food and groceries in restaurants, fast food outlets, shops, supermarkets, etc. that have a contract with the voucher issuer. Food voucher operators are, as before, obliged to provide employers and voucher users with a list of the outlets where their vouchers can be spent.

Charging and use of electronic vouchers

Digital food vouchers cannot be used for the purchase of alcohol or cigarettes, and cannot be used to withdraw cash or transfer funds to another account. Only employers are allowed to load the food vouchers, employees themselves can only spend the available funds.

Employers will not have access to information about their employees' transactions. They will receive an inventory report from the operator when the vouchers are loaded, which will contain information on the face value loaded on each employee, the quota under which the voucher was provided, and its validity period.

Balance and validity of digital food vouchers

As before, food vouchers will be valid for up to 12 months from the date of issue, and users will only be allowed to use them within that period. Operators must provide a way to check the validity and availability of electronic instruments. There should be no charges of any kind on the cards, whether physical or virtual, for users.

The available balance of a food voucher is reduced by the amount of food or food products purchased, and the amount must be less than and equal to the available balance. When paying by voucher, the vouchers with the shortest expiry date shall be used first. When the amount of food or groceries purchased is less than the available balance, the voucher is partially used and the balance remains available for use.