What are meal vouchers? How do they work?


Meal vouchers are one of the most used solutions in Italy due to their ease of use and convenience. Below we will see all the details and characteristics of meal vouchers, their operation, types and tax advantages for companies. Indeed, it is important to know how meal vouchers can be used in order to make the most of its potential and advantages.

How meal vouchers work

It is very important to understand how meal vouchers work. The system is very simple. In fact, companies or public bodies buy them through specific companies that deal with their issue such as, for example, Sodexo.

Many ask how electronic meal vouchers work. In this case, the system is even easier. In fact, they are not physically delivered but a recharge is made to a card that can be used both for lunch and during shopping at those supermarkets that accept meal vouchers.

Alternatively, meal vouchers can also be used via the mobile app. Once the meal vouchers have been obtained, employees can use them in all affiliated businesses or they can spend meal vouchers online (on the platforms that allow it).

The different types of meal vouchers available on the market: paper and electronic

As we have already mentioned briefly, meal vouchers are available in different formats. The best known type is certainly the paper meal voucher. In fact, these are paper vouchers that can be delivered directly to the cash desk during the purchase in the affiliated centers. In this case, the employees physically get the coupons from the company.

Electronic meal vouchers, on the other hand, can be used either through a special electronic card or by always using a smartphone application. These last two formats, therefore, are nothing more than an evolution of the paper meal voucher that simplify the life of employees and personnel of the affiliated commercial activities.

The legislation governing meal vouchers and those entitled to it

According to the legislation that regulates meal vouchers, holders of VAT numbers, companies and freelancers have various tax and management advantages from the use of meal vouchers.

This instrument is mainly regulated by the «Legislative Decree no. 50 of 2016 “, precisely from article 144. Furthermore, the” Ministerial Decree n.122 of 2017 “which established the meal vouchers when they are due, in addition to the characteristics that the companies that issue them and the commercial establishments must possess. affiliated.

Who are the meal vouchers entitled to?

All those workers in possession of a full-time or part-time subordination contract are entitled to receive meal vouchers. Also included are those employees who do not have a lunch break during their daily work hours.

Furthermore, also the project workers are entitled to meal vouchers. In fact, it has been established that, during the working hours, the worker must take a lunch break to improve his productivity. There is often confusion as to how many meal vouchers can be used per day. The regulation states that a worker cannot spend more than 8 meal vouchers for each expense.

The tax advantages of meal vouchers for companies

As anticipated, companies and freelancers have tax advantages from using meal vouchers. For companies, vouchers are 100% deductible and 4% VAT is deductible. For freelancers and sole proprietorships, on the other hand, meal vouchers are deductible at 75% and VAT can be deducted at 10%, up to a maximum amount of 2% of turnover.

A professional solution for companies is the Sodexo meal voucher which can be both paper and electronic, therefore usable via rechargeable card. The meal vouchers solution proposed by Sodexo can be used by workers in a large network of affiliated businesses throughout the Italian territory, including bars, restaurants and the main supermarket chains. In addition, companies can decide to attribute a specific value to Sodexo meal vouchers for each person, without a minimum order and without a contractual obligation. The latest addition to Sodexo is Sodexo Multi, a payment system consisting of a full online smart card that allows transactions to be made both with the physical card and directly from the Sodexo app; it is possible to check the balance and list of transactions in real time and make payments not only on proprietary systems but also on POS and third-party cash barriers. A renewed and constantly evolving experience for a flexible, safe and customizable experience.


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