Starting with January 1st 2019, employers in Romania will be able to include in the package of employee’s benefits also the cultural vouchers.
Cultural vouchers are value tickets that can be given to employees, monthly or occasionally, for the purchase of cultural goods and services.
The usage of cultural vouchers
According to Law no. 165/2018, which will enter into force early next year, cultural vouchers will be issued both on paper and electronically.
Thus, employees will be able to use cultural vouchers to purchase:
- subscriptions or tickets to shows, concerts, cinematographic projections, museums, festivals, fairs and exhibitions, permanent or itinerant, theme parks, including those for children;
- books, school textbooks, music albums, movies, in any format.
The value and benefits of the cultural voucher
The nominal value of a cultural voucher will be RON 10 or a multiple of 10, but not more than RON 50.
According to the law, the maximum amount that employers will be able to grant to employees in the form of cultural vouchers can not exceed RON 150, if granted monthly or RON 300/event, if they are granted occasionally.
Providing cultural vouchers within this ceiling will bring tax benefits for both the employer and the employee. At employer level, cultural voucher expenses will be deductible when calculating corporate income tax. According to art. 9, para. (2) of the Law no. 165/2018, the amounts corresponding to the vouchers granted by the employer, within the maximum limit, shall not be taken into account either for the employer or for the employee when establishing the rights and obligations which are determined in relation to the salary income. Under these circumstances, employees will not owe salary taxes for the cultural vouchers, in the event that they will not be assimilated to the salary income.
According to art. 1 of the Law no. 165/2018, the conditions and exceptions regarding the issue of the value tickets will be, however, provided by Law no. 227/2015 regarding the Fiscal Code, as subsequently amended and supplemented, which will regulate the applicable tax framework starting with 2019.
By law, cultural vouchers can only be used in Romania within the term of validity and only for the purchase of goods and services for which they were issued.
Cultural vouchers are an important feature, being, on one hand, a tool for motivating employees by providing new benefits, and on the other hand, they are an essential element in developing and stimulating interest in cultural values, among the estimated effects being found, especially, an increased number of people participating in local cultural events.