French URSSAF inspection and professional expenses

Dear readers, in our previous correspondence, we touched on a range of ways to make savings on professional expenses. It continues to remain an area where companies can make substantial savings, in compliance with the fiscal regulations of the country.

In order to illustrate this point, we have asked an expert, Antoine Devresse, URSSAF* consultant with Ayming, to present the case for companies subject to URSSAF rules on French territory.

Of course, these rules apply to all companies, whether they are French or not.

Year after year, the topic of professional expenses remains an important source of recovery as in 2015 they represented EUR 136 million of recovery for URSSAF*.

The main source of recovery (45% of the 136 million) relates to “unjustified reimbursements”.

This generic term includes a number of possible errors. Here are a few:

  • Expenses relating to new technologies (mobile phone, landline, Internet box): Where the employee uses their personal equipment for professional use, only half of such bills (50%) may be reimbursed to them. Each bill must be produced as proof.
  • Mileage claims: Where the employee uses their personal vehicle for professional use, it is possible to reimburse mileage claims provided that the car registration document for the employee’s vehicle is produced along with a detailed inventory of travel (date, place, purpose of travel). The reimbursement made should be restricted to the standard tax rate for mileage compensation.
  • Meals: An increasingly monitored recovery for the inspector consists of demonstrating that a meal allowance has been reimbursed where travel has not been proven. If the employee has a meal close to the company office or close to their home, this is not considered as travel. This leaves meal tickets as the only option possible.

It is to be noted that the recovery incurred is between 40 and 55% of the amount of expenses submitted, depending on the salary level of the employee in question, as well as increases for late payment (12% on average). A 10% penalty is now also calculated where the recovery is repeatedly identified by the inspector without correction following a first warning from URSSAF.

If we consider that an employee incurs EUR 4,000 in expenses per year and that all of their costs are subject to recovery, then the maximum recovery is EUR 2,000. A company with a hundred or so employees under a similar arrangement could, for example, were it not complying with the rules, support a recovery of EUR 200,000 (EUR 2,000 x 100 collaborators).

Our readers can judge for themselves the significance of the risk incurred and the potential savings to be made by improving their practices in terms of the reimbursement of professional expenses.

* URSSAF: Organizations for the Collection of Social Security and Family Benefit Contributions.
This organisation collects social security contributions (CSG, CRDS etc.) that fund the reimbursement or recovery of medical care, allowances for work stoppage because of illness, maternity leave or workplace accidents, as well as the payment of basic pensions and family allowances for social security beneficiaries. Among other
things URSSAF is responsible for inspecting employers and the recovery of potential penalties.
URSSAF (Unions de Recouvrement pour la Sécurité Sociale et
les Allocations Familiales, meaning the Organisations for the Collection of Social Security and Family Benefit Contributions) is a network of private organisations created in 1960 whose main task is to collect employee and employer social security contributions that finance the Régime general (general account) of France’s social security system, including state health insurance (Assurance maladie en France).

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