The gasoline bonus, also known as the fuel bonus, is a benefit put in place by the government for private sector workers as support to cope with the energy crisis.
The bonus consists of tax-free vouchers worth up to 200 euros given by private employers to their employees for refueling (including electric vehicle refills).
In 2023, the facilities on gasoline bonuses given to employees by private employers were re-proposed through Article 1 of Decree Law No. 5 of 2023, which specifies that the value of gasoline vouchers does not contribute to the formation of the employee’s income if it does not exceed 200 euros.
In summarizing the regulatory framework, it is recalled how the bonus consists of a tax benefit in favor of employees who receive one or more gasoline vouchers from their employer; a benefit introduced in the 2022 tax period by Art. 2 of DL 21/2022, and then re-proposed also for the 2023 tax period by Art. 1 paragraph 1 of DL 5/2023.
The latter provision stipulates in particular that, without prejudice to Article 51 paragraph 3 third of the TUIR, the value of gasoline vouchers or similar securities for the purchase of fuel given by private employers to employees, in the period from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023, does not contribute to the formation of the employee’s income, if the amount does not exceed 200 euros per employee.
News for 2023
Last March 8, the Senate finally approved the Ddl converting DL 5/2023, the so-called “Transparency” DL, containing a change to the regulation of the €200 tax-free fuel bonus, provided for in Article 1 paragraph 1. In particular, a clarification is included in the text according to which “The exclusion from contributing to the formation of the worker’s income, provided by the first period, is not relevant for contribution purposes.” In other words, gasoline vouchers recognized by employers during 2023 will have to be subject to social security and welfare contributions
The measure at the moment has been extended from until December 31, 2023. The amounts will be paid in the paycheck and, as with the previous ones, it does not contribute to income formation and is fully tax-free, but for the current year it will be subject to contribution charges. The worker will be able to use the voucher until January 12, 2024.
The bonus, already proposed in 2022, provides for the non-competition with income of an amount of up to 200 euros disbursed by private employers to employees in the form of gasoline vouchers or similar securities for the purchase of fuels, including recharges of electric vehicles. If this amount is exceeded, the entire value is subject to taxation and not just the excess.
As clarified by the Internal Revenue Service on the occasion of the fuel bonus planned for 2022 (Circ. No. 27/2022, and Circ. No. 35/2022), the latter represents an additional benefit to the general one already provided by Art. 51 paragraph 3 of the TUIR, under which goods sold and services provided by the employer to the employee do not contribute to the formation of income if the total amount does not exceed 258.23 euros (increased to 3,000 euros for the 2022 tax period pursuant to Article 12 paragraph 1 of DL 115/2022).
Therefore, in 2023 each individual worker may be recognized a total fringe benefit amount or value of 458.23 euros:
- 200.00 euros for gasoline vouchers (Fuel Transparency Decree);
- 258.23 euros normal fringe benefit
From a contribution perspective, given the change introduced, the gasoline voucher (or vouchers) that the private employer will grant during 2023 to its employee will contribute to the formation of the social security tax base, regardless of whether the 200 euro limit is exceeded.
This implies that on gasoline vouchers the employer will have to:
- make the amount of the voucher contribute to the social security tax base (verifying whether or not the income limit of 1,923 euros or 2,692 euros is exceeded for the purposes of accessing, respectively, the 3% or 2% exemption of the employee’s IVS share ex art. 1 paragraph 281 of L. 197/2022)
- withhold from the payroll the employee’s own share of contributions;
- determine their own employee’s share of contributions;
- pay the contributions by the 16th day of the following month.
The novelty introduced by DL 5/2023 significantly affects the convenience of this benefit created to help citizens counter the effects of the rising cost of fuel (including electric vehicle recharges), increasing the cost of disbursement for the employer by more than 30 percent and thus making people think about its convenience and desirability.