During the Covid-19 pandemic, many employers have transitioned to remote work arrangements taking advantage of the Anti-Crisis Shield regulations which stipulate that employees may be asked to work outside their regular place of work.
In accordance with article 3 section 4 of the Anti-Crisis Shield, it is the employer that needs to provide equipment necessary for remote work, as well as logistics support for such work. Employees may also use their own tools or materials; however such usage must be compensated for by the employer.
In practice, employers deal with equipment usage in various ways – by lending office equipment to employees, providing a cash equivalent for employees’ use of their own equipment, purchasing pieces of equipment to be kept by employees, or by reimbursing such purchases if made directly by employees.
Before the pandemic, the PIT Act and the social security contributions regulation provided only for equivalents paid to employees for the use of their private resources for work. Such benefits were treated as income from an employment relationship, but they were exempt from both the PIT and social security contributions on certain conditions (mainly as concerns the covering of actual expenses).
When employers started using the various mechanisms mentioned above questions arose as to whether ways of compensating other than a cash equivalent for the use of employees’ private equipment may also benefit from the exemption on PIT and social security contributions and whether such benefits are treated as employee income within the meaning of the PIT Act.
An indirect response to those questions came in an official “position” of the Minister of Development Funds and Regional Policy of November 13, 2020, which directly addresses benefits for teachers but also contains important remarks of a general nature. It states that irrespective of the nature of a benefit (whether non-cash, cash or mixed), employers’ provision of tools and materials necessary to perform remote work and logistics support will not result in employees earning income within the meaning of the PIT Act. No income earned means that no social security contributions will have to be paid either.
This interpretation of the Anti-Crisis Shield regulations seems to be generally adopted in individual tax rulings. These tax rulings are quite liberal and relatively uniform. An example of such individual tax ruling was issued on February 1, 2021 by the Director of the National Tax Information Authority (ref. 0115-KDIT1.4011.851.2020.1.KK). It confirms that in the case of employees working remotely during the epidemic, the refund of the costs of purchase of their work equipment will not result in earning income within the meaning of the PIT Act. It follows that employers do not have to deduct any advances towards PIT and such benefits are exempt from social security contributions.
The line of individual tax rulings by tax authorities may change in future but there is no sign of that at the moment. Please note, however, that these tax rulings facilitate employers’ business during the pandemic and do not apply to regular remote work commonly known as “home office” work.
An employer who wants to be sure as to the tax consequences of equipment cost of remote work needs to ask the tax authority for an individual tax ruling in which the specific fact pattern of employee benefits would be assessed.
 The Regulation of the Labour and Social Policy Minister of December 18, 1998 on detailed rules for fixing the calculation basis for retirement and disability pension contributions.