Belgium

Basic taxes (briefly)

Personal tax 25-50%
Corporate tax (in detail) The standard income tax rate is 25%
Capital gains tax. Details There is no separate tax for capital gains, some kinds of capital gains are taxable within the system of corporate taxation with various tax exemptions.
VAT. Details The standard rate is 21%, but lower rates apply to certain categories of goods and services: 6% (live animals, meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, medicine, water supply, etc.) and 12% (restaurant servicing, phytopharmacology, some kinds of solid fuel, etc.).
Other taxes Inheritance tax; Transfer Duty upon death; Tax on Long-term Savings; Circulation Tax; Betting and Gambling Tax; Tax on credit organizations
Government fee No
Stamp duty 12.5%

International tax agreement

   


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TAXES

Personal income tax

Personal income tax in Belgium is levied on residents’ worldwide income and non-residents’ income earned in Belgium. Tax residents are those who live in Belgium minimum 6 months in the tax year. Taxable income of resident taxpayers includes all the various items of income which have been received by the taxpayer. However, the net taxable amount depends upon the nature of the income received.
The Belgian tax year runs from 1 January to 31 December.
Personal income tax is calculated by determining the taxable base and by assessing the tax due on that base. In determining the taxable base, compulsory social security contributions paid either in Belgium or abroad are fully tax deductible. Personal income tax is calculated on the taxable base after allowing for part of that base to be exempt from tax by applying a number of reductions related to marital status, the number of dependent family members and other circumstances. However, no personal tax exemptions or notional transfer of earnings to spouses will be granted to non-resident taxpayers, unless they either earn at least 75% of their worldwide professional income in Belgium or retain an abode in Belgium for the entire taxable period. According to the authorities, a married taxpayer’s abode is held to be where the taxpayer lives with his or her spouse. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Taxation on the husband’s and wife’s earnings is calculated separately. Subject to certain conditions being fulfilled, part of the professional income earned by one spouse may be transferred to the other spouse, either because the latter assisted the former in earning income or because the latter’s income is substantially lower. Although couples are taxed separately on earnings, assessments continue to be issued in joint names. However, a married non-resident will be assessed as a single person if his spouse is not subject to Belgian income tax and earns exempt or foreign professional income exceeding EUR 10,090.00.
All individuals resident in Belgium (as well as non-resident individuals taxed on total Belgian income) are required to file an annual tax return by the date indicated on the relevant form. It is also possible for taxpayers to file a web-based tax return. Married couples and individuals who are registered cohabitants must file jointly. Taxpayers should request the necessary forms from the Ministry of Finance by 1 June of the year following the year of income, if they do not receive them by mail.
Income tax is assessed once a year on the basis of a tax return. However, employers withhold a percentage of monthly income to offset the tax bill at the end of the year.
The tax authorities should issue their assessment before June 30 of the following year. The tax due should be paid within two months from the date of the assessment to avoid late payment interest. A claim against an assessment can be filed with the office of the regional director of the tax authorities who will decide on the case. Decisions of the regional director can be contested before the Court of First Instance.
Personal tax is imposed at progressive rate ranging from 25% to 50%:
Income, € Tax Rate
Up to 8,350 25%
8,350.01 – 11,890 30%
11,890.01 – 19,810 40%
19,810.01 – 36,300 45%
Over 36,300.01 50%

Residents also pay additional municipal taxes at rates that vary between 0% and 9.5% of the total income tax payable. Non-residents have to pay additional taxes at a rate of 7% of the total income tax payable.
Tax treaties concluded by Belgium alleviate the tax burden in Belgium on certain types of foreign income received by a resident taxpayer. If no treaty relief is available, foreign-source income from real property, from an occupation or business, and from certain miscellaneous sources will be taxed at half of the normal resident income tax rate.
Other taxes that may apply are property tax and gift and succession duty. In Belgium there is no wealth tax, as such. Capital gains taxes are only levied on private individuals in certain circumstances such as transactions which go beyond the normal management of a private estate, certain sales of property and sales to a company resident outside the European Economic Area of substantial holdings in a Belgian company.

Special tax regime for foreign executives

Under certain conditions, foreign executives who are temporarily assigned to work in Belgium within an international group of companies or who have been recruited directly abroad by a Belgian company belonging to such an international group in order to render services in Belgium temporarily, can benefit from special tax status. In this case, they are treated for tax purposes as non-residents of Belgium and taxed on their Belgian-source income only.
In order to qualify for special tax status, executives must be foreign nationals and carry out exclusive duties that require them to have special knowledge and responsibilities. Foreign researchers and other specialist foreign staff (i.e. individuals who do not necessarily have managerial responsibilities but who are so highly specialized that recruiting such staff in Belgium would be extremely difficult, if not impossible), will generally qualify for special tax status as well.
In order to be considered for special tax status, the expatriate also has to comply with the following conditions:
  • Employment in Belgium must be within a qualifying company (i.e. a local place of business of a foreign company, a Belgian entity belonging to an international group of companies, a control or coordination office for those companies that render services within the international group or a scientific laboratory or research center belonging to an international group of companies);
  • Employment in Belgium must be of a temporary nature;
  • Expatriates must qualify as non-residents of Belgium (i.e. their residence or the focus of their economic and personal interests must not be situated in Belgium).

Apart from the fact that foreign executives benefiting from special tax status are treated for tax purposes as non-residents of Belgium and therefore only taxed on their Belgian-source income, special expatriate tax status also offers two important tax advantages to foreign executives:
  • Reimbursements made by the employer to cover the additional expenses incurred as a direct result of the assignment or employment in Belgium are treated as costs proper to the employer which are, within certain limits, non-taxable for the expatriate (“tax-free expatriation allowances”);
  • The executive benefits from an exemption on the part of his/her compensation that relates to business duties carried out abroad (“travel exclusion”).

The formalities to be followed in order to benefit from special expatriate tax status are largely the responsibility of the expatriate’s employer, who has to file a once-only application with the Tax Director at the “Foreign Entities” service. This application must be filed within six months following the month in which the employment or assignment in Belgium begins. The tax office will not consider applications it receives after that period unless there are very special and exceptional circumstances that justify it doing so. Under certain conditions, the tax office may still grant applications received after the six-month period for which there are no special justifying circumstances, but it will do so only for the year following that in which the late application was filed.

Corporate tax

Corporate tax is levied on income of companies from any source at a rate of 33.99% (including an austerity surcharge of 3%). Reduced rates can be applied when the taxable profit does not exceed 322,500 euro:
Income, € Tax Rate
0 - 25,000 24.25%
25,001 - 90,000 31%
90,001 - 322,500 34.50%
322,501 and more 33%

The 3% austerity surcharge still needs to be added to these percentages. In order to qualify for these reduced rates, a company must however fulfill a number of additional conditions relating to:
  • the company must not be part of a group to which belongs a coordination center registered;
  • the company must not hold shares with an investment value exceeding 50% of either the revalorised paid-up capital, or the paid-up capital increased by the taxed reserve and the accounting capital gains;
  • one or more other companies should not hold at least 50% of the shares;
  • the dividend yield on the registered capital effectively paid up which remains to be reimbursed at the beginning of the taxable period should not exceed 13%;
  • the company is obliged to charge to one manager at least a remuneration which, if it is less than 36,000 euro, shall not be less than the company’s taxable income.

In general, the tax base used to calculate corporate income tax is determined on an accrual basis and consists of the worldwide income less allowed deductions. It is assumed that all income received by a company is, in principle, business income. As a general rule, business expenses incurred or borne by the company during the taxable period in order to obtain or safeguard taxable business income are considered tax deductible. In order to be deductible, these expenses must be vouched by proper documentation. Therefore, the income tax base is based on the financial statements of the company with some adjustments, i.e.
  • Disallowed expenses;
  • Exempt foreign income;
  • Dividends-received deduction;
  • Notional interest deduction;
  • Both distributed and retained profits are subject to corporate income tax;
  • Tax losses carried forward;
  • Investment deduction;
  • Patent income deduction.

Capital gains tax

There is no separate tax for capital gains in Belgium, some kinds of capital gains are taxable within the system of corporate taxation.
Under the current tax legislation, Realized capital gains on shares are tax exempt for small companies and only subject to a separate tax of 0.412% (including the austerity surcharge) for large companies (subject to conditions). Capital gains realized by a Belgian company on shares are 100% tax exempt (if certain conditions are met), with a minimum uninterrupted holding period of one year in full ownership. There are some exceptions e.g. for financial institutions. In case the one year holding period is not reached, the capital gain is taxed at the rate of 25.75%.
To qualify as a small company, two out of three of the below criteria must be met for two consecutive accounting periods:
  • Balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 3,650,000.00,
  • Net turnover not exceeding EUR 7,300,000.00,
  • Average number of employees does not exceed 50.

If, however, the average number of employees exceeds 100, or if the company is part of a group which exceeds, on a consolidated basis, more than one of the above criteria, the qualification of small company will not apply.
Capital gains are considered on a “net” basis (as opposed to a “gross” basis) for Belgian tax (relief) purposes. Unrealized capital gains (e.g. gains that are merely expressed in the accounts) can be temporarily exempted from taxes, subject to conditions.

Capital losses

In principle, capital losses are deductible for corporate income tax purposes. As an exception to this rule, capital losses on shares are not tax deductible unless, and provided that, they occur because of a liquidation and reflect a permanent loss of actually paid-up share capital.

Tax losses carried forward

Tax losses can be carried forward for an unlimited period of time and be deducted from future profits. However, carry-back of losses is not allowed.
The further use of tax losses may become partly or wholly unavailable where a company is involved in:
  • Certain tax-exempt reorganizations such as mergers and divisions (partly unavailable);
  • A change of control that does not meet financial or economic needs (totally unavailable).

Specific rules apply in relation to the offsetting of foreign branch losses against Belgian profits by companies with activities abroad. As a general rule, foreign branch tax losses are deductible in the hands of the Belgian head office, but recapture is possible in the case of double use of tax losses.

Dividends

There is a 95 percent participation exemption for dividends received provided that certain conditions are met. One of these conditions is that the dividends should be paid by a company that is subject to a normal tax regime. The shares in the distributing company must be held for one year at least and the quantity of shares in the subsidiary should not be less than 10 percent. Maximum rate is 25%.

VAT

In Belgium Value Added Tax is borne by the end consumer for each transaction in the manufacturing and distribution process, including supply of goods and services within the territory, importation of goods in Belgium and acquisition of goods outside the EU.
In principle, every taxable person charges VAT on its sales and is (in principle) entitled to deduct from this amount the VAT paid on his purchases. Ultimately, the tax is borne by the “final consumer”, who cannot deduct VAT paid on purchases.
VAT was introduced in Belgium in 1971 and, in the three languages of the country, is called “Belasting over de Toegevoegde Waarde (btw)”, “Taxe sur la Valeur Ajoutée (TVA)”, and “Mehrwertsteuer (Mwst)”.
The standard VAT rate is 21%, but lower rates apply to certain categories of goods and services: 0% (newspapers, journals and magazines of general interest, issued at least 48 times a year, and recovered goods or products), 6% (live animals, meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, medicine, water supply, etc.) and 12% (restaurant servicing, phytopharmacology, some kinds of solid fuel, etc.).

Registration for VAT

Established taxable persons must register with the local VAT Control Office relevant to the place in which the business is established.
With effect from 1 January 2008, the mandatory structure of a Belgian VAT number is: BE X999 999 999. For numbers existing before that date, the X is replaced by a 0. For new numbers attributed with effect from 1 January 2008, the X has been replaced by a 1. Enterprises benefiting from the special scheme for small undertakings do not receive a VAT number with the prefix BE except in some specific circumstances (e.g. intra-Community acquisition of goods).

VAT return

The periodic VAT return covers a calendar month. Taxable persons can opt to file quarterly depending on whether or not supplies exceed the threshold of EUR 1,000,000 (excl. VAT) on a yearly basis. Taxable persons active in the mineral oil, mobile phone, computer or vehicles sector can only apply for this option provided further conditions are met. Taxable persons who file quarterly VAT returns, will be obliged to file monthly VAT returns insofar as they provide intra-Community supplies of goods for more than EUR 400,000 on a yearly basis. The reference period for this threshold starts on 1 January 2010.
The due date for submitting a VAT return is the 20th of the month after the covered calendar month or quarter. The VAT is due when the return must be filed. Taxable persons who file quarterly must pay an amount in the first and second months of the quarter. Taxable persons who file monthly must pay an amount at the end of December, for December operations. All payments must be made by bank transfer.
At present, VAT taxable persons have 2 options for filing their periodic VAT returns: on paper via the official green document (currently only allowed when the taxable person does not avail of the required IT infrastructure) or electronically via the INTERVAT system (filing via the Internet).
Other documents that may have to be filed include:
  • A yearly summary statement listing all domestic supplies to businesses that must be VAT registered in Belgium. Electronic filing is mandatory unless the taxable person does not avail of the required IT infrastructure;
  • An EU sales list when intra-Community supplies of goods / services are carried out. Electronic filing (INTERVAT) is mandatory unless the taxable person does not avail of the required IT infrastructure;
  • Statistical reporting: an Intrastat return for arrivals and dispatches of goods to and from Member States other than Belgium.

Withholding tax

Withholding Tax in Belgium is levied on non-residents’ income in Belgium at rate of 25%.
Dividends: In principle, dividends distributed by a Belgian company are subject to a Belgian domestic withholding tax of 25%. The withholding tax rate may be reduced if a double taxation treaty applies. A withholding tax exemption is provided for dividends distributed by a Belgian subsidiary to a parent company in another EU Member State or in a State with which Belgium has concluded a tax treaty provided that this or any other treaty provides for the exchange of information necessary to implement the provisions of the national legislations of the Contracting States. The parent company must have a participation of at least 10 percent in the subsidiary’s share capital, which was or will be held during an uninterrupted period of at least one year.
Interest: In principle, interest payments are subject to a Belgian domestic withholding tax of 25%. The withholding tax rate may be reduced if a double taxation treaty applies. Under the Belgian tax statute implementing the EU Interest and Royalties Directive, in principle, a withholding tax exemption is available on interest or royalty payments between two associated companies, provided they are both regarded as established in the EU and meet the following conditions:
  • One of the two companies has had a direct or indirect holding of at least 25% in the capital of the other for an uninterrupted period of at least one year;
  • A third EU tax-resident company has had a direct or indirect holding of at least 25% in the capital of each of the companies for an uninterrupted period of at least one year;
  • Where the holding has not been held for a minimum of one year at the time the payment is made, the company concerned must undertake to observe the one year period;
  • The companies are incorporated in the appropriate legal form (in a cross-border context).

Royalties: Belgian domestic tax law defines royalties very broadly as “income derived from the letting, use or concession of movable goods”. The Belgian tax authorities consider a “concession” as any agreement under which a right is granted (in exchange for valuable consideration) to use or exploit a tangible or intangible asset, provided no legal ownership therein is transferred. In principle, this type of income is also subject to a 25% withholding tax unless an exemption applies (i.e. no withholding tax is due if the recipient is a Belgian company). In the event of a cross-border payment of royalties, the withholding tax rate may be reduced if a double taxation treaty applies or on the basis of the implementation in Belgian tax law of the EU Interest and Royalties Directive.

Withholding tax rates agreed upon by Belgium in the double taxation treaties

Belgium has entered into various agreements with foreign jurisdictions designed to avoid and eliminate double taxation. Among them are:
  • 102 DTC: Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Congo (Republic of the), Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Kazakhstan, Korea (Republic of), Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao (China), Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova (Republic of), Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam.
  • 20 TIEA: Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Dominica, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guernsey, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Other taxes and duties

Inheritance tax charged on the net value of the estate of a deceased inhabitant of the Kingdom after deduction of the latter’s duly established liabilities and the funeral costs at a rate ranging from 3% to 27% depending on net value of the estate.
Transfer Duty upon death levied on the value relating to immovable property situated in Belgium, collected through the succession of a non-inhabitant of the Kingdom, after deduction of certain debts at a rate ranging from 3% to 27% depending on net value of the property.
Tax on Long-term Savings imposed on banks at standard rate of 10%.
Circulation Tax levied on vehicles used for transportation of passengers and goods.
Betting and Gambling Tax imposed at progressive rate ranging from 3% to 50%.
Excise Duties levied on tobacco and alcohol.
Bank Levies annual tax on credit organizations at rate of 0,1929%.
Social Security Contributions monthly contributions to Social Insurance Fund at rate of 13.07% for employee and 32-41% for employer.

Stamp duty

Stamp duties are only levied on a limited number of cases. Examples of stamp duties are the stock exchange tax on transactions in public securities (1%) and the tax on insurance premium (1.1%-9.25%).
Besides stamp duties there are registration duties which are levies when a deed or written document is registered, including deeds drawn up by Belgian notaries; decisions issued by Belgian courts; private deeds or notarial deeds signed abroad, relating to the transfer or declaration of property or usufruct of property situated in Belgium or relating to the lease, sub-lease or transfer of lease of such property, etc.
There are three types of registration duties: proportional duties, specific fixed duties and the general fixed duty.
In respect of certain deeds (e.g. certain transfers of real estate intended exclusively for education), the registration duties are nil. The duty is set at 12.5% (10% in the Flemish Region) for sales, exchanges and all conveyancing agreements for valuable consideration, in respect of property or usufruct from real estate located in Belgium. The 12.5% (10%) duty is levied in principle on the contractual value of the real estate and expenses.
The public sale of tangible movable property is liable to a 5% duty calculated on the price and the expenses. In principle, the duty is set at 0.2% for leases, sub-leases and transfers of leases of property (or parts of buildings) located in Belgium and certain other assimilated operations. This duty is levied on the basis of the cumulated amount of rent and charges.

Government fee

There is no annual government fee per se, but there is a business registration fee which is due by every company in Belgium upon registration. The fixed registration duty rate is EUR 50.

Anti-Avoidance Rules

General anti-avoidance rule
Under the law, the tax authorities are required to show, based on objective circumstances, the tax abuse exists. Tax abuse will arise where a taxpayer carries out a transaction whereby it avoids tax or claims a tax benefit that would be contrary to the legislative intent of the law. A taxpayer can avoid the application of the anti-abuse provision by showing that the transaction can be justified by motives other than tax avoidance. If the taxpayer fails to demonstrate one or more sufficient non-tax based motives, the tax authorities can “restore” the taxable base and tax computation in such a way that taxation in accordance with the legislator’s objectives is possible, as if there was no abuse.
Transfer pricing
Belgium's transfer pricing legislation incorporates OECD definitions for cross-border transactions with associated companies, when both are part of a multinational group, and between parent companies and their subsidiaries.
Transactions between a parent company or other subsidiaries and the Belgian subsidiary, or between the head office or other branches of a foreign company and the Belgian branch, must be at arm’s length. Otherwise, the tax authorities can argue that the profits are being transferred to the foreign associate of parent, and they can add such profits back to the income of Belgian enterprise for tax purposes. If advances or loans are granted to companies within a particular group, the tax authorities require that the lending company charges the borrowing company an appropriate interest rate.
Loans received from related persons or enterprises established abroad also must be concluded at arm’s length. Charges relating to management services or technical fees should be substantiated with evidence of actual services obtained by the Belgian enterprise. Payments of interest, royalties and other fees (whether directly or indirectly) to a beneficiary located in a tax haven or to a company benefiting from a special tax regime are not tax deductible unless the payment is at arm’s length and relates to a genuine transaction. Moreover, payments to tax havens and jurisdictions that have not substantially implemented the internationally agreed OECD tax standard on exchange of information must be reported on a special form to be annexed to the annual corporate income tax return and will be deductible only if they relate to “real and genuine” transactions with other persons and are not artificial arrangements.
Thin capitalization
Belgium does not have general thin capitalization rules, but there is specific legislation establishing debt-to-equity requirements, including a thin capitalization rule for intragroup loans:
  1. A 1:1 debt-to-equity ratio applies for financing obtained from certain direct shareholders/individuals or from directors, executive managers and liquidators (individuals or legal entities) of the company unless the director is a company resident in a member state in the EEA (the interest is characterized as a dividend); and
  2. A 5:1 debt-to-equity ratio applies for financing where the beneficial owner of the interest (1) is not subject to tax or if the income is subject to a tax regime that is significantly more advantageous than the Belgian tax regime; or (2) is part of the same group of affiliated companies.

Controlled foreign companies
Belgium does not have CFC rules, although there is an anti-abuse measure achieving a similar result. This measure allows the tax authorities to disregard the sale, transfer or contribution of certain assets (e.g. shares, loans, patents, etc.) by taxpayer to a non-resident that is not subject to an income tax in its country of residence or is subject to a considerably more advantageous tax regime than in Belgium on the income derived from the asset. As a result, the assets are deemed still owned by the Belgian taxpayer and the income produced by the assets remains taxable at the level of the taxpayer. The taxpayer can avoid the application of this anti-abuse measure by proving that the transaction meets legitimate financial or economic needs or that the consideration received produced income that is subject to a similar level of taxation in Belgium as the transferred assets.

Belgian Ruling System

Belgium is one of the few countries to have a Ruling Practice based on specific legal provisions that can be considered one of the major drivers to obtain upfront legal certainty for taxpayers.
The main principles of the ruling system are as follows:
  • Ruling on almost all tax topics;
  • Case-by-case ruling in a new open culture;
  • Legal certainty in advance for investors;
  • Compliance with international regulations;
  • Application to both potential and actual investors;
  • In principle valid for five years, but deviations possible if motivated;
  • Substance required;
  • Possibility of unilateral, bi- or multilateral rulings.

Since 1 January 2005 a new independent and well-staffed Central Ruling Office has been operational. The Office can be reached via email at dvbsda@minfin.fed.be or by telephone on +32 (0) 2 579 38 00. It has its website at www.ruling.be (available in Dutch and French).
The ruling practice has proved successful with more than one request being received a day. The Ruling Office works in a constructive business-like style. For example, they accept pre-filing meetings even on a no-name basis and meetings can even be conducted in English. On average, rulings are delivered within 3 months after the request has been lodged.
In addition, the Tax Administration has been reformed to provide customer-focused services to the public through the establishment of a helpdesk for foreign investors. The helpdesk can be contacted via taxinvest@minfin.fed.be
Rulings can be obtained on issues related to all federal taxes and regional taxes collected centrally such as:
  • Corporate Tax;
  • Individual Income Tax;
  • VAT;
  • Customs;
  • Capital duties.

Issues that can be covered by Rulings are :
  • Transfer pricing;
  • Depreciation and provisions;
  • Deductible expenses;
  • Participation exemption of dividends;
  • Qualification as a permanent establishment;
  • Tax transparency;
  • Reorganizations;
  • Proper costs to the employer;
  • “Tonnage” tax rulings renewable every 10 years;
  • Downwards adjustment of taxable profits.

Advance rulings are published in summary format on a no-name basis (on the website www.fisconet.be). Some so-called opinions of the ruling commission can be consulted on the website www.ruling.be

Foreign exchange control

There are no exchange controls in Belgium. However, the national bank compiles information on cross-border transactions, and transactions with non-residents (including direct investments, security trades and commercial credits) solely for balance-of-payment reporting purposes.

ACCOUNTS

Annual Return

Generally speaking, Annual Return is a short review on the current state of the company, which is prepared by the company secretary annually. As a rule it includes the following information:
  • Incorporation information (registration date, registered address);
  • Information about directors and their resignation;
  • Information about secretaries and their resignation;
  • Information about registered capital, nominal value of shares and amount of issued shares;
  • Information about shareholders and share transfer.

As for Belgium, there are no requirements for filing Annual Return.

Financial accounts

The financial accounts of Belgian companies must be filed annually and drafted in accordance with Belgian GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Rules). Financial statements must be submitted annually with the central bank.
Large companies must publish full annual financial statements (balance sheet and income statements), complying with accounting rules in the EU Fourth Directive or with International Accounting Standards (IAS). Small companies may publish accounts in simplified forms.
Foreign companies with a permanent establishment in Belgium are required to deposit each year (within one month after the general meeting of shareholders and seven months following the closing of the financial year at the latest) a copy of the annual accounts of the head office and consolidated accounts (together with a social balance sheet of the Belgian permanent establishment if it employs personnel in Belgium) with the central bank. This copy of the (consolidated) annual accounts must be drawn up in one of the three languages of Belgium (Dutch, French or German) depending on the jurisdiction of the company.
The financial statements must be audited by a statuary auditor only in case if it is a large company.

Tax returns

The taxable period coincides with the accounting year, which may be the calendar year or another period of 12 months.
Generally, the tax return must be submitted at least one month after the date the financial statements are approved by the annual general meeting of the shareholders, but no later than six months after the end of the financial year. Upon request, the tax authorities can grant an extension of the filing date.
Corporate tax is prepaid on a quarterly basis. Penalties are imposed if advance payments based on estimates of the current year’s income are not made or if they are insufficient.
A corporate tax file remains open for audit, assessment and collection for three years, starting form the day following the closing of the accounting year.
As from tax year 2015, companies, legal entities and non-residents will in principle be obliged to file their tax return electronically.

    Taxes of Belgium

    Min. rate for corporate tax 25%
    Capital gains tax Regular rate
    VAT 21%
    Withholding tax 30%/30%/30%
    Exchange control No
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