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Tax in Belgium

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There are different types of taxes in Belgium, including income tax. Here is an overview of the country's taxation system.

Belgium is one of the European Union countries whose taxation rate is the highest. In fact, all Belgian residents are heavily subject to tax. For instance, corporate tax turns around an average of 34% while income tax can reach up to 50% for residents whose income reaches 34,330 euros threshold.

It is also good to know that taxes are levied in Belgium by means of deduction, specifically in advance, at least for professional and real estate incomes.

 Good to know:

The Belgian fiscal year starts as at January 1st and ends on the 31st of December.

Types of taxes

There are different types of taxes in Belgium, namely the:

  • personal income tax: which applies to all Belgian residents income
  • corporate income tax: which applies to all companies operating in Belgium
  • non-resident tax: applying to non-residents in Belgium
  • corporation tax: applying to moral individuals.

Taxable income

In Belgium, tax is levied at different levels, namely pensions, wages, property, profits, your contribution to your household budget, as well as exemptions that apply and losses, if any, capital gains, alimony, etc. You are required to declare all your income to Belgian tax authorities by filling a tax declaration every year. Fringe benefits such as transport and meal allowances, company car, housing and any other good received must also be declared, just like interest on savings and income from invest capital if you have a bank account in Belgium. If you own property in the country, you should also include rent and cadastral income.

Non-resident tax

Foreigners making a long stay in Belgium are required to visit the nearest Foreigners Registry to their place of residence. Hence, they will be subject to taxation. In fact, all foreigners residing in Belgium have to pay tax on all income received if they are staying for at least 6 months per year in the country. However, those spending less than 6 months a year in the country are considered as non-residents. Thus, tax will be levied only on the income received in Belgium.

 Good to know:

Expatriates receiving income both from Belgium and other European countries are advised to check if they are eligible to any non-double taxation agreement.

Note that non-residents have to declare any income from immovable property which is found in Belgium, any profit arising from the intervention of Belgian establishments, any profit and earnings resulting from an activity carried out in Belgium. They should also declare all furniture income, any salary, pension, annuity and allowance from a company or an organization which is established in Belgium, or a non-resident's Belgian establishment, or a Belgian citizen, or from the Belgian State or any political subdivision.

Exceptions

Some foreigners working and residing temporarily in Belgium, such as officers, directors or experts, may be exempted from a portion of taxes provided they can prove that their income is related to positions or repercussions outside of Belgium. Thus, when reporting their taxes, they can deduct:

  • school fees for children who are in elementary or Secondary School
  • a portion of their salary
  • the cost of living and housing.

However, these conditions have to be negotiated beforehand with the employer and settled before they leave the country.

Moreover, foreigners living and working in Belgium for a fixed period may be eligible to exemptions if they:

  • have been recruited to work outside Belgium
  • have signed a fixed-term contract
  • have the opportunity to be transferred elsewhere
  • own a home or property outside Belgium
  • have children attending an international school in Belgium or elsewhere
  • contribute or have the potential of contributing to social security, their country's private insurance plans
  • hace a diplomatic clause in the lease agreement.

Pay taxes

Tax returns have to be filed by the end of the year. People living in different regions may receive their tax return forms in different languages, namely French, Dutch and Flemish. If you have not received it by post, you can contact your city's tax office. Note that tax return forms clearly states the date on which it must be returned, duly filled and signed. But extensions are also possible for those who cannot meet the deadline, till the 1st of June of the current year.

 Warning:

Tax cannot be paid in cash, by bank card or by credit card. You can either make a cross check or a bank transfer.

 Good to know:

Filling a tax return may not be as easy as it seems. Hence, the Belgian government offers assistance such as information booklets which you will receive along with your tax return form.

If you need more help regarding complex issues, you can visit your local tax office. However, specialized agents will be available only two days per week during the tax return filling period. You can call the FPS Finance Center at the 57 0257 257 (local call) during business hours, that is from 8 am to 5 pm.

 Useful links:

Europa europa.eu
Federal Public Service Finance financien.belgium.be
Fisconet Plus ccff02.minfin.fgov.be
Belgium Ministry of Finance eservices.minfin.fgov.be
Belgium Ministry of Finance – E-service eservices.minfin.fgov.be/taxonweb
Intervat financien.belgium.be/nl/E-services
Tax Calculator ccff02.minfin.fgov.be/taxcalc

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