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Individual Tax, Social Security and Immigration Alerts

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Bill on “greenification” of mobility submitted to parliament

16 September 2021

The long anticipated bill on the “greenification” of mobility in Belgium, designed to encourage environmentally friendly travel, was submitted to the Belgian parliament (Dutch | French) on 14 September 2021 for approval. The bill focusses on the greenification of company cars, and the introduction of incentives for investment in charging infrastructure and zero-emission lorries. Once adopted by the parliament and signed by the king, the law will be enacted via publication in the official gazette.

Voluntary Overseas Social Security contributions increased as from September 2021

7 September 2021

The monthly contributions payable under Belgium’s voluntary Overseas Social Security Scheme (OSS) are increased by 2% as from 1 September 2021, and employers that contribute to the scheme through methods other than direct debit may need to adjust their contributions.

Remote working facilitated for Belgium–Luxembourg cross-border workers

2 September 2021

On 31 August 2021, Luxembourg’s Ministry of Finance announced (French only) that it had agreed with the Belgian Ministry of Finance to extend a tax concession for Belgium-Luxembourg cross-border workers. The “24-day rule” will be increased to 34 days as from 2022 and the higher limit is expected to remain in place for 10 years. The announcement also mentioned a possible extension of the mutual cross-border worker agreement between Belgium and Luxembourg.

COVID-19 measure: target group reduced social security contributions for third quarter of 2021

19 July 2021

On 1 July 2021, the Belgian government agreed on an additional COVID-19 support measure in the form of targeted reduced social security contributions for certain employers with a view to restoring employment. The measure is available to sectors that have remained closed for a period of time or have otherwise experienced reduced activity as a result of the pandemic and to sectors that are creating employment. The reduction applies for the third quarter of 2021 (i.e., 1 July to 30 September 2021) for a maximum of five employees per establishment of the employer in Belgium.

Increase in tax-free mileage allowance for professional travel announced

8 July 2021

A circular letter was issued by the Belgian minister responsible for the civil service on 8 June 2021 (Dutch | French) regarding the updated tax-free mileage allowance for civil servants. The circular states that EUR 0.3707/km (increased from EUR 0.3542/km) is acceptable as a tax-free lump sum payment to cover travel expenses incurred by civil servants using their own car or motorcycle for business purposes during the period 1 July 2021 through 30 June 2022.

Period of temporary increase in monthly tax-free teleworking allowance extended

5 July 2021

The Belgian Minister of Finance in February 2021 announced a temporary increase in the maximum tax-free monthly allowance for teleworking for the second quarter of 2021 (i.e., as from 1 April 2021 through 30 June 2021) to EUR 144.31 (from EUR 129.48) for employees and company directors and to EUR 40 (from EUR 20) for civil servants. For further details, see our previous alert dated 18 February 2021.

Update on international pension entitlements

5 July 2021

The Belgian Overseas Social Security administration (OSS) has recently sent pension estimates to all individuals for whom OSS contributions have been paid in 2018, 2019, or 2020. The pension estimates were sent to the e-box of the individuals and indicate the OSS pension rights to which the individuals will be entitled at the age of 65.

Extended mutual agreement for cross-border workers with the Netherlands published

25 June 2021

As mentioned in our previous alert of June 21st, the Belgian Ministry of Finance confirmed that Belgium’s mutual agreement with the Netherlands has been extended through 30 September 2021. The extended agreement has been published by the Belgian authorities (Dutch | French)

Introduction of a digital immigration platform for single permit applications

24 June 2021

As from 1 June 2021, applications for Belgian single permits (other than applications for permits for up to 90 days or for an unlimited stay) should be submitted online via the digital immigration platform “Working in Belgium.” The federal online platform serves as an access point for the submission of applications for single permits in the different regions and monitors the status of individual applications.

COVID-19 | Tax and social security tolerances for cross-border workers further extended

21 June 2021

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its widespread and potentially long-term consequences for working patterns, the social security authorities of all European Economic Area member states and Switzerland have decided at European Union level to extend “no impact” measures for social security purposes until 31 December 2021. Broadly, this involves continuing to apply the relevant national social security legislation applicable before the start of the pandemic.

Mutual cross-border worker agreements with France and Germany extended to 30 June 2021

5 April 2021

The Belgian Ministry of Finance has published extended mutual cross-border worker agreements with France (Dutch | French) and Germany (Dutch | French). Both mutual agreements have been extended through 30 June 2021.

Extended mutual cross-border worker agreements with Luxembourg and the Netherlands published

31 March 2021

The Belgian Ministry of Finance has published the extended mutual cross-border worker agreements with Luxembourg (Dutch | French) and the Netherlands (Dutch | French ). As per our previous alert dated 10 March 2021, the Ministry of Finance has confirmed that these mutual agreements have been extended through 30 June 2021.

Royal Decree on practicalities of wage tax exemption for employee education published

22 March 2021

Legislation enacted on 20 December 2020 and published on 30 December 2020 introduced a new partial exemption from remitting wage withholding taxes as from 1 January 2021 to support employee education in Belgium. The incentive is designed to reduce the total cost of training programs offered by private employers to their workforce in addition to the mandatory education program (see our previous alert dated 15 January 2021).

Social security and tax treatment of enhanced employer assistance for teleworking aligned

17 March 2021

The Belgian national social security authorities confirmed on 4 March 2021 (Dutch | French) that the principles set out in circular letter 2021/C/C20 (Dutch | French) issued by the tax authorities on 26 February 2021 determining the tax treatment of various types of assistance in respect of teleworking provided by employers apply also to determine the social security treatment. Broadly, the payment of certain home office allowances and the provision or reimbursement of office furniture and ICT equipment is neither a taxable benefit for employees nor subject to social security contributions. 

Special measures for occupational pensions in response to COVID-19 extended

15 March 2021

The Belgian government has proposed a further extension through 30 June 2021 of the special measures introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to allow the continued provision of occupational pension and other related benefits during periods of temporary unemployment. This would be the second extension of the measures, which were initially intended to apply as from 13 March 2020 through 30 September 2020, and subsequently extended through 31 March 2021.

Effect of new tax on securities accounts on “Branch 23” insurance products

10 March 2021

Legislation published in Belgian’s official gazette on 25 February 2021 and effective as from 26 February 2021 introduces a new annual tax on securities accounts. An overview of the new tax is provided in our previous alert dated 26 January 2021 and this alert provides a more detailed commentary on the effect of the tax on “Branch 23” insurance products.

Mutual agreements for cross-border workers with Luxembourg and the Netherlands further extended

10 March 2021

The Belgian Ministry of Finance confirmed on 5 March 2021 (Dutch | French) that Belgium’s mutual agreements with Luxembourg and the Netherlands have been extended through 30 June 2021. Belgium has not yet published the text of the extended agreements.

Foreign real estate: new taxable base and reporting obligation for Belgian tax residents

9 March 2021

The Belgian parliament on 17 February 2021 adopted legislation (Dutch | French) regarding the valuation of deemed income from foreign real estate for individual income tax purposes. The new law is intended to redress the difference in treatment under Belgian legislation of real estate located in Belgium and real estate located abroad, which according to a 2018 decision of the European Court of Justice, violates the free movement of capital principle of EU law.

Tax treatment of face masks and hand gel provided or reimbursed to employees confirmed

2 March 2021

On 22 February 2022, the Belgian tax authorities published circular letter 2021/C/15 (Dutch | French) clarifying the tax treatment of face masks and hand gel provided or reimbursed by an employer to its employees.

New tax authority circular allows enhanced reliefs for employees working from home

2 March 2021

On 26 February 2021, the Belgian tax authorities published a new circular letter 2021/C/20 (Dutch | French) addressing the tax implications for employees of various types of assistance in respect of teleworking provided by employers. The guidance has been issued in response to the increase in teleworking as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and additional forms of support for home working being provided by employers to their employees. The guidance applies as from 1 March 2021 and does not affect existing rulings.

European Labour Authority prepares for more joint cross-border inspections

1 March 2021

Cross-border labor inspections to check employers’ compliance with social security and labor law obligations have been rare. However, this may be about to change as the European Labour Authority (ELA) has started to take action to assist EU member states in planning such joint inspections, and to help coordinate and support those inspections.

Temporary increase in monthly tax-free teleworking allowance announced

19 February 2021

A press release (Dutch | French) issued by the Belgian Minister of Finance on 12 February 2021 announced several new tax measures intended to continue to support individuals and companies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including an increase in the maximum tax-free monthly allowance for teleworking.

Mobility concerns in the post-Brexit landscape

9 February 2021

After a month into 2021, Brexit’s impact on mobility between the UK and the EU is clear to see.

Most companies are now aware that UK nationals require work permits and visas when moving to work in the EU, and that social security in the home country can be maintained when assigning employees from the UK to the EU or vice versa.

However, several details of the new rules are less clear and are subject to frequent questions. What follows is an overview of topics that are tackled most often.

New Collective Bargaining Agreement requires companies to establish a COVID-telework framework

28 January 2021

On 26 January 2021, the National Works Council concluded collective bargaining agreement no. 149 (hereafter CBA no. 149), which imposes obligations for compulsory or recommended teleworking in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, in the absence of any other arrangement within the company.

According to CBA no. 149, employers have an obligation to (i) inform and (ii) produce written agreements on certain aspects of mandatory telework. This means that companies that do not have any arrangements on telework need to take good note of these new obligations and act accordingly.

Draft legislation on new annual tax on securities accounts published

26 January 2021

On 5 January 2021, a draft law was submitted to the Belgian parliament introducing the successor to the previous annual tax on securities accounts that was annulled by the Constitutional Court in October 2019. Broadly, as currently drafted, the proposal is for a 0.15% annual tax on securities accounts where the average value of taxable financial instruments held within an account exceeds EUR 1 million. Although the new tax shares many similarities with the previous tax, there are a number of key differences, such as the link to qualifying legal arrangements, branch 23 insurance products, and the introduction of a broad anti-abuse measure. The draft law is being debated by the parliament and is subject to amendment. The new law will come into effect from the day following its publication in the official journal, with the exception of the anti-abuse measures that it currently is proposed would apply retroactively as from 30 October 2020.

This alert highlights the basic principles of the new tax as set out in the current draft law. More detailed commentary and analysis will be provided once the legislation is finalised.

New “Phoenix Bonus” introduced for hiring employees from Brussels-Capital Region

22 January 2021

As a further measure to assist employers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brussels-Capital Region on 4 January 2021 announced a new employment aid scheme (the “Phoenix Bonus”) (Dutch | French) for Belgian employers who hire jobseekers from Brussels-Capital Region as from 1 January 2021, regardless of where in Belgium the employer’s operations are based. Depending on the new employee’s circumstances, the employer may receive a bonus of up to EUR 800 per month for a maximum of six months.

New wage tax exemption for employee education introduced

15 January 2021

Legislation enacted on 20 December 2020 and published on 30 December 2020 (Program Law Art. 13 | Parliamentary work) introduces a new partial exemption from remitting wage withholding taxes as from 1 January 2021 to support employee education in Belgium. The incentive is designed to reduce the total cost of training programs offered by private employers to their workforce in addition to the mandatory education program.

Mutual agreements for cross-border workers with Germany and the Netherlands extended further

5 January 2021

Belgium’s mutual agreements with Germany (Dutch | French) and the Netherlands (Dutch | French) have recently been extended until 31 March 2021.

COVID-19 and Brexit related Immigration and Social Security Updates

23 December 2020

With the end of 2020 approaching, Brexit negotiations are ‘taking their last breath’ and COVID-19 measures are being strengthened again in many countries as the pandemic continues to disrupt the movement of people. What follows is a brief immigration and social security update.

Mutual agreements for cross-border workers with France and Luxembourg extended further

11 December 2020

Belgium’s mutual agreements with Luxembourg (Dutch | French), and France (Dutch | French) have recently been extended until 31 March 2021.

For the time being, the other agreements concluded with the Netherlands (Dutch | French), and Germany (Dutch | French) remain applicable until 31 December 2020. It is however likely that they will be extended as well.

Updated 2021 salary thresholds for foreign workers – now including UK nationals

2 December 2020

Salaries for third country nationals that require a work or single permit will undergo their annual indexation, with the new salary tresholds applicable as of 1 January 2021.

In a noteworthy change brought by Brexit, UK nationals will also most likely require work authorisation as of 1 January 2021 and before starting their work activities on Belgian territory (this will depend on the current Brexit negotiations’ outcome). These salary thresholds will therefore also apply to UK nationals.

COVID-19 | Belgian social security authorities’ “no-impact position” extended

27 November 2020

Given the persistent COVID-19 crisis and its several – even long-term – consequences in terms of working patterns, the Belgian social security authorities have decided to extend their “no-impact” position in view of determining the applicable social security legislation up till June 30, 2021.

Tax audits on pension commitments may trigger personal tax liability for self-employed directors

26 November 2020

The tax authorities are increasingly scrutinising pension commitments by companies to their self-employed directors. Under certain circumstances, such audits may also lead to a personal tax liability for a director.

RSZ/ONSS introduces new online tool: belgianIDpro

26 November 2020

Registration of foreign employees has become easier for companies with the Belgian social security authorities’ new online tool: belgianIDpro. With this new tool, employers can request and receive an INSZ number in a clearer and more secure way.

New tax measures from the new government: focus on the individual tax aspects

24 November 2020

Belgium’s federal government recently issued a snapshot of tax measures that will be included in the upcoming Program-law termed the “the Budget Preparation Act 2021” (Dutch | French), covering direct as well as indirect tax areas. What follows is an outline focused on the individual tax measures.

Overseas Social Security digitises its services

20 November 2020

Following the exceptional circumstances brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Belgian Overseas Social Security (OSS) took the opportunity to review their operations and introduced a broad digital service.

COVID-19 wage tax incentive: useful clarifications in new administrative FAQ

12 November 2020

To support employment in sectors heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the law of 15 July 2020 introduced a new wage cost mitigation measure applicable for June, July and August 2020, provided that the employers concerned implemented temporary unemployment for an uninterrupted period of at least 30 days between 12 March 2020 and 31 May 2020.

Consumption voucher tax treatment confirmed by new circular letter

3 November 2020

A circular letter confirming the tax treatment of the so-called ‘consumption voucher’ was published on 22 October 2020 (Dutch | French).

COVID-19 wage tax incentive: faster incentive cashing made possible

23 October 2020

New practical guidelines have been published as to how employers can claim the (temporary) COVID-19 wage tax exemption, with newly simplified formalities allowing employers to cash claimed incentives faster.

Legal pension: Time to regularise study periods

13 October 2020

Employees, self-employed individuals and civil servants can increase the amount of their Belgian legal pension by regularising their study periods. Normally, no legal pension entitlements are accrued during those periods.

It should be noted that regularised periods would only affect the legal pension amount and not the earliest possible retirement date in Belgium.

Update on COVID-19 wage withholding tax incentive and overtime remuneration

7 September 2020

Several important updates have been published regarding measures taken by the government to help employers and their workforce respond to the impact brought by the pandemic and support them in the recovery phase.

Mutual agreements for cross-border workers extended until 31 December 2020

2 September 2020

Belgium’s mutual agreements with the Netherlands (Dutch | French), Luxembourg (Dutch | French), Germany (Dutch | French) and France (Dutch | French), in place to address cross-border worker taxation during pandemic driven restrictions, have recently been extended until 31 December 2020.

Belgium lifts travel ban for Single Permit holders (B34)

20 August 2020

The Immigration Authorities have today informed Deloitte that non-EU single permit holders with a valid annex 46 and their family members are again able to obtain a visa D at the Belgian consular authorities abroad. As such, they are able to travel to Belgium to start their employment.

Tax exempt lump-sum allowance for home office costs possible without a ruling

6 August 2020

The Belgian tax authorities have confirmed in a new Circular Letter (Dutch | French) that a tax exempt lump-sum home office allowance is possible (without a ruling) under certain conditions.

COVID-19 wage withholding tax incentive and other tax measures published

23 July 2020

The law concerning various tax measures in response to COVID-19 (corona-III) was published in the Belgian Official State Journal on 23 July 2020. It aims to support the post-COVID-19 recovery of companies, individuals and the Belgian economy as a whole.

Change in deposit accounts for miscellaneous tax payments

13 July 2020

Since 1 June 2020, account numbers in which taxpayers should deposit amounts due with respect to the tax on stock exchange transactions (TSET) and tax on securities accounts (TOSA) have been adjusted.

COVID-19 wage withholding tax incentive and other tax measures in the pipeline

3 July 2020

The Belgian government has recently been very productive, with various tax measures proposed or adopted to support the post-COVID-19 recovery of companies, individuals and the economy as a whole.

What follows is an overview of what is relevant for employers and individual taxpayers. Particular attention is given to two flagship measures, namely the pending COVID-19 wage withholding tax incentive and the consumption vouchers.

PWD 2020 transposed in Belgian legislation: minimal impact but some key changes

29 June 2020

On 28 June 2018, the European Union adopted the European Directive 2018/957 (revised Posted Workers Directive, PWD 2020). As covered in the April Update on PWD 2020, all Member States are required to align their domestic legislation to the revised posting rules by 30 July 2020.

On 28 May 2020, Belgium adopted the Act containing various provisions on the posting of workers. On 18 June 2020, the Act was published in the Belgian Official Journal. This new law transposes the PWD 2020 principles into Belgian domestic legislation and will enter into force from 30 July 2020.

As expected, the Act does not have any substantial impact for employees assigned to Belgium, given that PWD is very broadly implemented in Belgium. Belgian labour law, in its near entirety, is already applicable to posted employees as of the first day of their assignment. Although there is no substantial impact, the Act still implements new principles that need to be taken into account going forward.

More shipping activities exempt from employer contributions in Belgian social security scheme for seafarers

26 June 2020

During the 12 June 2020 Council of Ministers, the Flemish government decided to extend support measures regarding social security contributions for merchant shipping to other shipping categories.

New FAQ on cross-border workers and tax implications of COVID-19 travel restrictions

24 June 2020

In line with the recommendations made by the OECD secretariat, Belgium concluded a series of mutual agreements with neighbouring countries to temporarily derogate from rules laid down in the article 15 of the double taxation agreements concerning the taxation of employees.

These temporary mutual agreements provide a tolerance allowing employers to assimilate days teleworked from the home office to days worked from the (foreign state) location, where the worker would have normally carried out their activity if COVID-19 travel restrictions were not imposed by authorities. The tolerance does not apply automatically but must be requested by workers who would like to benefit from it.

The tax authorities have published a new FAQ (Dutch | French) that provides a series of clarifications on the mutual agreements’ scope of application, and details the practical modalities for worker opt-in to benefit from the tolerance.

Brexit Immigration and Social Security Update

9 June 2020

The UK formally ceased to be a Member State of the European Union at midnight on 31 January 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement foresees a transition period until 31 December 2020, during which the relationship between the EU and the UK will remain largely the same. The UK will continue to follow current trade, immigration and all other EU laws and regulations, including rulings by the Court of Justice of the European Union, until at least the end of 2020. Any extension of the transition period must be agreed upon before 1 July 2020.

What is the latest on the immigration and social security landscapes?

Social security liability on foreign HQ granted Restricted Stock Units: appeal ruling in Esko case reaffirms authorities’ position

8 June 2020

In a recent case from 20 April 2020 (Esko) and regarding Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) attributed by the US HQ to Belgian based employees, the Ghent Labour Court of Appeal specifically addressed the question of whether a benefit should be considered as being at the employer’s charge.

Belgium concludes temporary mutual agreements for cross-border workers during COVID-19

5 June 2020

In line with the OECD’s recommendations, Belgium is concluding mutual agreements with neighboring countries regarding the allocation of taxing rights where employees have been unable to travel to their usual country of employment, and have instead been required to work from home as a consequence of COVID-19.

Belgium has to date concluded agreements with France (19 May 2020), Germany (6 May 2020), Luxembourg (19 May 2020), and the Netherlands (30 April 2020) regarding cross-border workers. In addition, specific agreements for frontier workers have been concluded with France (13 March 2020), and Luxembourg (17 March 2020). For further details, see the Deloitte alerts of 8 May 2020 and 17 March 2020.

The agreements with Germany and the Netherlands were extended on 2 June 2020, and all agreements are valid through 1 July 2020.

Wage tax incentive for shift work unaffected by temporary social distancing adjustments in shift work schedules

26 May 2020

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the tax authorities published additional guidelines for shift workers, clarifying an administrative tolerance where temporary adjustments to shift work schedules for social distancing purposes do not prohibit the continued benefit of the wage tax exemption for shift work.

Yearly compliance audit for holders of single permits that are valid for more than 1 year

25 May 2020

With the 2019 introduction of the new Belgian immigration legislation, single permits for foreign workers can be issued for a period of up to 3 years, under certain conditions.

As announced in previous communications, the legislation provided Belgium’s three regions with an option to introduce “annual compliance checks” for such cases.

Belgian agreements with the Netherlands and Germany to manage COVID-19 impact on cross-border workers

8 May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many cross border commuters to work from home and ensure business continuity. Given that cross border workers are hence working in their country of residence, as opposed to where they would normally operate, the tax position of the employee and/or employer may be affected.

After the agreements concluded with France and Luxembourg in March 2020 regarding teleworking activities, Belgium has now concluded agreements with the Netherlands (in Dutch) and Germany.

International Social Security under COVID-19 circumstances

23 April 2020

Due to the COVID-19 confinement measures, the envisaged employment situation of many employees has changed, with companies struggling to pay their social security contributions, employees facing questions regarding sickness or unemployment, among other issues. The most important talking points regarding COVID-19 and international social security are highlighted in this update.

New FAQ regarding wage tax incentive for companies conducting real estate works with teams on location

23 April 2020

The wage tax exemption for the construction sector is among the measures available for employers to control and reduce their salary costs. Given the current COVID-19 situation, this measure is all the more important. Companies are adjusting their production capacity to meet changing demand, with some seeing an increase (such as food retailers and logistics services), but many more undergoing a decrease due to lockdown measures and consequent economic slowdown. These adjustments must be taken into account to correctly and optimally apply the wage tax exemption and other incentives enabling the reduction of salary costs. For these reasons, the clarifications provided in the administration's FAQ, and outlined in this text, are worthwhile in the current economic circumstances.

PWD 2020 Belgium Update

15 April 2020

On 28 June 2018, the European Union adopted European Directive 2018/957 (revised Posted Workers Directive, “PWD 2020”) which aims to expand the breadth of core working conditions to be observed by companies with respect to their mobile workforce.

Pursuant to PWD 2020, Member States have until 30 July 2020 to align their domestic legislation with the revised posting rules.

New FAQ on obligations for remuneration attributed by a foreign affiliate

10 April 2020

On 7 April 2020, the tax authorities published a new FAQ on the reporting and withholding obligations for remuneration attributed by a foreign affiliated company.

The FAQ contains a number of useful examples and clarifications.

OECD publishes guidelines on COVID-19’s impact on cross border-workers

7 April 2020

Following Deloitte’s 17 March 2020 update covering the Belgian tax authorities’ position in considering the COVID-19 situation as force majeure in relation to tax treaties with France and Luxembourg for cross-border workers, the OECD has issued an update regarding its own position.

As correctly stated by the OECD Secretariat, “this unprecedented situation is raising many tax issues”, given that travel bans, lockdowns, etc. are preventing employees from performing their professional activities on location in the other country, potentially causing an adverse tax situation.

Adjusted credit percentages for income tax prepayments by taxpayers with liquidity problems

6 April 2020

On 3 April 2020, the Ministry of Finance announced a new measure to support business during the COVID-19 outbreak (DutchFrench). The measure applies to income tax prepayments made by Belgian companies and self-employed individuals. 

To help businesses facing liquidity problems, the government decided to increase prepayment credits for the third and fourth quarter to 6.75% and 5.25% respectively. This support measure should make the postponement of income tax prepayments to the second half of the taxable period less disadvantageous.

Tolerance during COVID-19 confinement period for cross-border workers

17 March 2020

French-Belgium Tax treaty: French border workers can work outside Belgian border zone

Luxembourg-Belgium Tax treaty: cross-border workers can work from home

Indexation of Overseas Social Security contributions as of March 2020

28 February 2020

Under the Belgian voluntary Overseas Social Security Scheme (OSS), contributions have to be paid by the employer (or employee) for individuals affiliated with the scheme, as part of their overseas employment. 

In accordance with article 19 of the 17 July 1963 law on overseas social security, OSS contributions are adapted to the consumer price index. Since the pivotal index has been reached in February 2020, OSS contributions will increase by 2% from 1 March 2020.

Unexpected message in the recently published ‘message to the debtor’

20 February 2020

Each year, the Belgian tax authorities publish the so-called ‘message to the debtor’ by mid-December of the income year, in order to instruct on the completion of salary forms (i.e. 281.10 (Dutch | French) and 281.20 (Dutch | French)).

Brexit readiness for immigration and social security purposes

20 February 2020

As you know, the UK ceased to be a Member State of the European Union at midnight on 31 January 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement foresees a transition period until 31 December 2020, during which the relationship between the EU and the UK will remain largely the same. The UK will continue to follow current trade, immigration and all other EU laws and regulations, including rulings by the European Court of Justice, until at least the end of 2020. This period can be extended by mutual agreement between the EU and the UK before July 2020, but the UK has declared that they will not seek such an extension. 

Important immigration and social security topics for 2020

5 February 2020

A new year always brings along a number of legislative changes or developments. What follows is a high-level overview of several major changes and points of attention for 2020 in terms of immigration and social security.

Benefit-in-kind company cars 2020

16 December 2019

Following the newly published Royal Decree (Dutch | French), the Benefit-in-kind for company cars will be reduced in accordance with the new CO2 emissions coefficient that has been published.

Update on minimum salary for Immigration purposes in 2020

2 December 2019

An update on (1) the Flemish, Brussels and Walloon regions’ new salary thresholds for foreign employees holding work/single permits; (2) the ICT permit in the Brussels region; and (3) Single Permit processing times.

Update on Belgian tax treatment of Dutch self-administered pensions

19 November 2019

The Belgian tax authorities have provided an update on the Belgian tax treatment of Dutch grandfathering rules applicable to self-administered pensions (“pensioenen in eigen beheer”), in the hands of director-major shareholders (“directeur-grootaandeelhouder” or “dga”) qualifying as resident taxpayers of Belgium.

The new EU Practical Guide on Posting: key highlights

5 November 2019

The European Commission published a Practical Guide on Posting, which aims at helping employees, employers and national authorities understand the rules on the posting of workers, including the applicable labour law, upfront notification obligations and the upcoming 2020 “equal pay for equal work” changes.

Understanding these rules is essential to ensure that workers are aware of their rights, and that the rules are correctly and consistently applied by national authorities and employers across the EU.

Several noteworthy points from the guide are highlighted.

Five-year threshold approaches in Belgium-Brazil social security agreement

23 October 2019

The social security agreement between Belgium and Brazil, implemented on 1 December 2014, enables employees from Belgium on temporary assignment in Brazil to remain subject to the Belgian social security scheme (and vice versa).

The agreement will soon have been in place for five years, a milestone that requires employers’ attention.

Wage tax exemption for overtime (art. 275/1 ITC): Royal decree published

17 September 2019

We reported in our previous tax alert that the law of 23 March 2019 has temporarily increased from 130 to 180 hours (for remuneration paid during the period from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2020) the amount of tax-efficient overtime that can be paid to employees.

Deadline for income year 2018 professional withholding tax return

2 September 2019

Employers can submit their professional withholding tax return (including corrections) for Income Year 2018 through the Finprof platform until Friday 27 September 2019 at 4 p.m.

Update: Maximum deductible contribution for the private supplementary pension for the self-employed (PSPSE)

26 July 2019

The amount of deductible contributions to the private supplementary pension for the self-employed has been increased for 2019...

Increased mileage allowance for professional travel in Belgium

8 July 2019

The tax authorities published a circular letter on 27 June 2019 (Dutch | French) regarding the mileage allowance update.

Income tax return: Dividend withholding tax recoverable

1 July 2019

Following up from the 20 May 2019 tax alert on the Belgian resident income tax return, and in view of the new dividend exemption, this alert summarises the main rules to recover dividend withholding tax.

Belgian Supreme Court confirms the broad definition of salary

21 June 2019

In its 7 March 2018 ruling, the Brussels Labour Court claimed social security contributions on benefits awarded directly to employees of a third party. As these benefits were to be considered as reward for work completed under an employment contract, social security contributions are due, even without any employer intervention, or any cost at charge of the employer.

In their ruling of 20 May 2019 (published very recently), the Belgian Supreme Court rejected the appeal and confirmed the Belgian social security authorities’ position (covered by the Social security alert of 11 September 2018).

Update: Single Permit processing times and validity period - ICT-permit implementation in Flanders and Brussels

12 June 2019

What follows is an update on the immigration process for among others, highly skilled third country nationals, introduced in Belgium on 1 January 2019.

Belgian income tax practices for football clubs and players clarified

7 June 2019

Several parliamentary questions were submitted to the Minister of Finance regarding several tax specific practices in football clubs. The responses to these questions were recently published, clarifying several points outlined in this update.

Updates on professional withholding tax developments for employers

6 June 2019

The new withholding obligation with respect to foreign benefits, introduced at the end of 2018, is one of the most recent and high profile measures regarding professional withholding tax. Coverage is provided by the previous Tax Alerts of 4 February 2019 and 22 March 2019.

What follows is a look at other recent measures and clarifications regarding professional withholding tax.

Employers to pay EU social security on non-EU activities of employees

6 June 2019

In principle, EU Regulation 883/2004 determines the applicable social security legislation for cross-border situations within the European Union.

However, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) recently rendered a noteworthy judgment, which may have consequences for certain cross-border employment situations where the employee is working outside of the EEA or Switzerland, while maintaining clear links within these  territories.

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