FSI Tax Alerts

News you can count on

Clarification of Belgian VAT regime for underwriting agents

26 September 2017

On 20 September 2017, the Belgian VAT authorities published a Circular Letter clarifying the current scope of exemption for insurance services with respect to underwriting agents. It also discusses conditions under which claims handling services performed by underwriting agents can benefit from the exemption in article 44 §3 4° Belgian VAT Code (Circular Letter 2017/C/60 dd. 20 September 2017; Dutch | French).

VAT cases in CJEU: Cost Sharing Groups red carded in banking and insurance sector

22 September 2017

The financial services industry held its breath on 21 September 2017, when the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) rendered its judgments in the VAT cases involving DNB Banka (C-326/15), Aviva (C-605/15), and EC vs. Germany (C-616/15). The Court ruled that the VAT exemption for cost sharing groups cannot apply in the banking and insurance sector.  With this judgment, the Court goes against accepted practice in many Member States, including Belgium. Importantly, the Court clearly prohibits Member States from applying the judgment retrospectively.

Belgian VAT exemption for insurance claims handling narrowed as from 2018

13 June 2017

On 12 June 2017, the Belgian VAT administration published a circular letter narrowing the current scope of the exemption for insurance claims handling.

Ruling Commission’s Board temporarily not operational

5 May 2017

As covered by the press on the morning of 5 May 2017, the Ruling Commission’s Board is not operational until further notice.

This is due to a decision by the Council of State dd. 28 April 2017 annulling the appointment of the three French-speaking Board members, Matthieu Bataille, Serge Riga and Véronique Tai. This decision was triggered by an appeal introduced by José Vilain, a former member of the Board. This decision does not affect the appointment of the 3 Dutch-speaking Board members, Steven Vanden Berghe, Guy Giroulle and Luc Saliën.

Simplified Belgian Banking Tax published in Belgian Official Journal

22 August 2016

The revamped Belgian Banking Tax, discussed in the previous FSI tax alert of 27 July 2016, has been enacted and published in the Belgian Official Journal (Dutch | French).

Simplified Belgian Banking Tax adopted by Parliament

27 July 2016

A draft Law “establishing a new annual tax on credit institutions replacing the existing annual taxes, deduction limitation measures within corporate income taxes, and the contribution for financial stability” has been submitted to the Belgian Parliament on 4 July 2016, further to a consultation with the financial sector (link). The draft Law was approved by the Finance Committee on 13 July 2016 (link), and adopted by Parliament on 20 July 2016.

Belgian Tax Administration Broadens Tax on Savings Income Scope

29 April 2016

On 8 April 2016, the Belgian Tax Administration issued an addendum (FR/NL) to the 25 October 2013 Circular Letter Ci.RH.231/629.328 regarding the application of the Belgian Tax on Savings Income (also referred to as the “Reynders Tax”). The addendum amends the abovementioned Circular Letter and extends the scope of the Belgian Tax on Savings Income by increasing the amount of investment funds which may fall under the tax.


VAT on director fees: clarifications on future regime

5 April 2016

After several delays, incorporated directors will be obliged to charge VAT on their fees as from 1 June 2016. The current optional regime, whereby companies can consider their mandates as not being subject to VAT, will be abolished. The VAT authorities published guidance on 30 March 2016 to clarify the new rules.

Cost sharing associations: VAT exemption regime changes on 1 July 2016

1 April 2016

The Belgian government introduced a draft law in Parliament that changes the VAT rules for cost sharing associations (‘CSA’s). The main modifications include that CSAs will be allowed to render services to non-members and to provide services to members which are not VAT exempt. These will not affect the VAT treatment of other services CSAs carry out for their members and which meet the conditions for VAT exemption. The new rules will enter into force on 1 July 2016.

ECJ-case Aspiro limits VAT exemption for insurance claims handling

18 March 2016

In a 17 March 2016 ruling (Case C-40/15, Aspiro), the European Court of Justice (ECJ) stated that insurance claims handling outsourced by insurers, where it is not linked with the intermediation of insurance policies, cannot be exempt from VAT. The Belgian administrative guidance currently allows a broad application of the exemption even where insurance claims are handled by a party not involved in finding and introducing the prospect to the insurer. Insurers may face an additional VAT cost following this judgment, as it is likely that the Belgian administrative guidance will be adapted accordingly.

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