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Individual Tax, Social Security and Immigration Alerts

News you can count on

Company bicycle and upcoming legislative changes

23 January 2018

Following the law of 22 October 2017, a Circular letter was published on 16 January 2018 (Dutch | French) confirming that a speed pedelec should be considered a company bicycle for income tax purposes (in line with the legislative changes dated 22 October 2017).

The Council of Ministers approved a draft Royal Decree on 14 December 2017 to align both the social security and tax treatment of a company bicycle.

Employee warrants: the Ruling Commission’s new position 

11 January 2018

Many employers grant warrants or stock options on an equity based bevek/sicav to their employees.  Most banks offering these products have a ruling that confirms these warrants or options as being within the scope of the option law (i.e. that they are only taxed upon grant and exempt from social security contributions).

Key immigration and social security topics for 2018

10 January 2018

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 2018 in Belgium. 

What Bulgaria’s Presidency of the Council means

5 January 2018

The Council presidency rotates among EU Member States every six months. Bulgaria takes over the presidency from Estonia on January 1, 2018 and will in turn hand it over to Austria six months later.

The ICT Directive’s EU mobility impact for third country national Intra-Corporate transferees

7 December 2017

One of the most closely followed topics in EU corporate immigration is intra-corporate transfers to and mobility within the European Union. Deloitte is currently undertaking a study on this subject. What follows is an overview of the implementation status of the EU Intra-Corporate Transferees Directive (ICT directive), a year since the official transposition deadline. 

Stricter border control in the EU with the entry-exit system

23 November 2017

On 20 November 2017, the Council adopted regulations that will introduce an entry-exit system and will amend the Schengen border code accordingly.

This system will record information on entry, exit and refusal of entry for third country nationals crossing the external borders of the Schengen area.

Simplification of work permit renewal process

9 November 2017

The Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia regional authorities, competent for dealing with work permit application files, have abolished the requirement for a legalised information sheet.

This administrative decision, which is now applicable, will bring an important administrative simplification. The decision stems from the different regions now having full access to the foreigners register, which details foreign employees’ residence status.

Decrease of the taxable benefit-in- kind for mobile phone, PC, tablet and internet subscription

30 October 2017

During a press conference on 25 October 2017, the Minister of Finance announced the simplification of the lump sum valuation of IT related devices made available to employees or directors. The Minister indicated that the new simplified rules would be applicable from 1 January 2018.

Belgian Integration Rules Update

23 October 2017

Integration requirements for foreign nationals living in Belgium were recently clarified. Since 26 January 2017, a new condition for long stays in Belgium entered into force. The implementation of this residence condition means that third-country nationals applying for a long stay in Belgium must prove their willingness to integrate Belgian society.

Salary Indexation for Immigration purposes

19 October 2017

The Flemish immigration authorities recently communicated the new salary thresholds for foreign employees holding work permits, as either highly skilled employees or as executive employees, and for blue card holders. These salary thresholds are indexed annually based on the evolution of the price consumer index and apply as of 1 January 2018.

Will the Mobility Allowance or “Cash for Car” be a valid alternative to the company car?

18 October 2017

Deloitte report published

As covered by the 2 October 2017 Individual tax alert, the Council of Ministers approved the pre-draft bill with respect to the mobility allowance on 29 September 2017. The measure would allow employees to exchange their company cars for a cash amount (Dutch | French).

Updated daily lump sum allowances for business trips abroad

9 October 2017

The 15 September 2017 Ministerial Decree updates the daily lump sum allowance amounts (“per diem”) paid to civil servants for business trips abroad.

Mobility budget approved by Council of Ministers

2 October 2017

On 29 September 2017, the Council of Ministers approved the pre-draft bill with respect to the mobility budget on the basis of which an employee can exchange his/her company car for a cash amount (Dutch | French).

Are your equity plans still audit proof?

18 September 2017

The tax and social security authorities are increasingly scrutinising long-term incentive plans. The special tax inspection is focusing on non-declared foreign equity incentives and the social security inspection is very severe on benefits granted by a ‘third party’.

The nine takeaways from the State of the European Union

15 September 2017

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, delivered his State of the European Union speech on 13 September 2017.

This text outlines nine standout points that may affect businesses.

Non-resident income tax return: deadlines published

14 September 2017

On 4 September 2017, the new form for the 2016 non-resident income tax return (assessment year 2017) was published.

Deloitte has been informed that Tax-on-Web for non-resident income tax return filing will be ready for use as of 14 September 2017.

Changes in lump-sum travel and lunch allowances for tax purposes

13 September 2017

The Royal Decree of 13 July 2017, which entered into force on 1 September 2017, introduces important changes regarding the lump-sum reimbursement of certain costs for civil servants of the Federal State. This may indirectly impact the acceptable amount of lump-sum allowance in the private sector.

Model Individual income tax return for Non-resident is published

06 September 2017

On 4 September 2017, the new form for the 2016 non-resident income tax return (assessment year 2017) was published in the Belgian Official Journal (Dutch preparatory document and filing form | French preparatory document and filing form).

Circular letter on lump sum allowance covering travel expenses

28 August 2017

Employers of the private sector may rely on lump sum allowances granted by the State to its civil servants for professional travel. The lump sum amount can be paid tax-free as a cost proper to the employer.

Summer Agreement – Tax measures relevant to individuals and employers

04 August 2017

On 26 July 2017, the Belgian federal government reached an agreement on a plethora of measures, the so-called “Summer Agreement”. The Summer Agreement includes a series of tax measures aimed at (i) stimulating economic growth and job creation, (ii) reinforcing Belgium’s attractiveness for foreign investments, and (iii) achieving more “fairness” in taxation policy.

In this alert, the focus is on the tax measures which are relevant to individuals and employers. For an overview of the corporate tax measures put forward by the agreement, reference is made to Deloitte’s Tax Reforms Hub.

These measures still need to be translated into a draft law and may be subject to amendments throughout the legislative process. Expectations are that the bill enacting the changes will be submitted to Parliament in autumn.

Belgium referred to ECJ for failing to implement Single Permit Directive

26 July 2017

On 13 July 2017, the European Commission decided to refer Belgium to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg for failing to fully implement the Single Permit Directive. The Directive needed to be transposed into Belgian law by 25 December 2013. The Commission is also proposing a daily penalty of EUR 70,828.80.

End of double taxation on French-source dividends?

14 July 2017

The Belgian Supreme Court has put an end to the double taxation on French sourced dividends paid to Belgian tax residents through its recent decision of 16 June 2017. As a result, Belgian private investors will see the tax burden on their French-source dividends decrease from 40.5% to 27.5%.

What Estonia's Presidency of the Council means

11 July 2017

The Council presidency rotates among EU Member States every 6 months. On the week of 26 June 2017, Estonia takes over the presidency from Malta, and will in turn hand over to Bulgaria 6 months later.

Three consecutive Presidencies collectively agree on the areas that will be examined at European level. This ensures that important topics remain in focus over the course of 18 months. Estonia is the first of a new set of three Presidencies, with Bulgaria and Austria to follow (last 6 months of 2018).

Enhanced and stricter border checks for Europe

7 July 2017

Recent crises in Europe have underlined the need for stricter border checks and better border management. Consequently, the European Commission introduced a smart borders package, which includes several proposals. The most important ones are outlined below.

Update on OSS contributions and Limosa Declaration

8 June 2017

The OSS (Office for Overseas Social Security) announced an indexation of the contributions to be paid by the employer (or the employee) in view of an individual’s affiliation with the scheme, as part of his/her employment abroad. As OSS contributions are legally linked to the consumer price index, the OSS contributions are increased by 2% as of 1 June 2017. Both the contributions to the general scheme as well as to the additional schemes will increase. This should be taken into account when OSS payments are made for any employees affiliated with the scheme.

Stricter control on residency rights

2 June 2017

A recently published royal decree changes various residence regulations so that they can be applied more efficiently and rationally to prevent Identity and Domicile fraud. The most important changes are summarised.

FAQ on fuel card and other fuel costs published

1 June 2017

On 30 May 2017, the tax authorities published an FAQ regarding the new corporate tax rules for fuel card and other fuel costs (Dutch | French), introduced by the Program Law of 26 December 2016.

Effective 1 January 2017, the rules regarding the separate disallowed expense for company cars have been thoroughly modified.

Macron presidency: immigration, social security and Brexit

9 May 2017

After Brexit, Sunday 7 May 2017 proved to be another pivotal day for Europe. French citizens were to choose between the extreme right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen and the centre-left candidate Emmanuel Macron.

Le Pen had proposed a referendum to have France leave the European Union (“Frexit”), a complete immigration freeze and the re-establishment of France’s internal borders. Frexit and further disruptions on a European level were therefore a possibility, however, it was Macron who was elected.

Suspension of visa free travel for US and Canadian citizens?

8 May 2017

Currently, US and Canadian citizens can travel to the Schengen zone without a visa for up to 3 months in every 6 month period. EU citizens should equally be able to travel without a visa to the USA and Canada.

This is based on the EU’s common visa policy, whereby third country nationals can benefit from a visa waiver if all EU citizens can – reciprocally – travel without a visa to that country. The UK and Ireland are excluded from the EU’s common visa policy (as they have exercised their right to opt out) and are not affected by what follows.

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.

Resident income tax return form for IY 2016 published

30 March 2017

On 29 March 2017, the new form for the 2016 resident income tax return (assessment year 2017) has been published in the Belgian Official Journal (Dutch ǀ French).

Compared to last year, there are 75 additional codes that have been adopted, bringing the total number of codes to 885.

Checking the Limosa declaration of foreign workers

17 March 2017

Limosa is the declaration system for cross-border employment in Belgium. A so-called Limosa declaration has to be filed for:

  • Employees temporarily or partially employed in Belgium by a foreign employer and not subject to Belgian social security
  • Self-employed persons temporarily or partially active in Belgium, whether or not they are subject to Belgian social security

The Limosa declaration notifies the Belgian social security authorities of the individual’s employment in Belgium. Such a declaration must imperatively be done before the actual start of activities in Belgium.

The EU Posted Workers Directive: old and new employers’ liabilities

15 February 2017

The EU legislation on Posted Workers was introduced at the end of the 1990s to strike a balance between the free movement of services and the social protection of workers within the EU. It was to ensure the application of certain host country employment terms and conditions to assignees.

When assigning employees within the EU, the Posted Workers Directive (EC/96/71) – hereafter referred to as the “PWD” – obliges employers to comply with a “hard nucleus” of labour law provisions in the host country during the assignment period. Since many EU countries continued to struggle in enforcing those rules, and non-compliance led to unfair competition, action was taken at European level with the Enforcement Directive (EU/2014/67). The latter aims to improve local compliance with this “hard nucleus” through general enforcement measures and specific new employers’ obligations.

In addition, the European Commission recently proposed to revise the original PWD to increase the social protection of assigned workers and guarantee equal pay for equal work.

Belgian Immigration updates

14 February 2017

Updates regarding increased contributions for visa and residence applications and communal fees for foreigner ID card delivery, as well as newcomer’s declaration and foreigner Integration efforts.

Broader scope for stock exchange tax

13 February 2017

As from 2017, the stock exchange tax increased and has been given a broader scope. The tax now also includes transactions carried out by foreign intermediaries, provided the order is directly or indirectly given by an individual with a habitual residence in Belgium, or by a legal entity on behalf of its registered office or permanent establishment in Belgium. This means that as from 2017, individuals themselves may need to fulfill the stock exchange tax obligations (i.e. paying the tax and filing the return).

Intra Corporate Transferees Directive

10 February 2017

In 2014, the European Council adopted the proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals, within the framework of an intra-corporate transfer.

25 participating EU Member States had 30 months to transpose this Directive (by 29 November 2016). As with other EU policies on legal migration of third-country nationals, the UK, Denmark and Ireland opted out of this Directive.

OSS: Important changes in contributions

8 February 2017

As previously announced, the OSS communicated several changes to the contributions for the OSS general scheme (previously DIBISS/ORPSS).

The OSS has followed up by announcing that changes to the minimum and maximum contributions, in view of an affiliation with the OSS general scheme, are to be implemented from 1 April 2017 at the earliest (instead of 1 February 2017 as initially foreseen).

Social Security Benefits Study 2017

30 January 2017

Deloitte has announced the results of its comparative Social Security Benefits Study. The objective of this study is to compare social security schemes across the European Economic Area and highlight the most important similarities and differences, doing so from the perspective of mobile employees and business in general. For mobile employees, who may switch between social security schemes, the level of social protection is generally a key talking point.

Key social security and immigration topics for 2017

12 January 2017

With the new year underway, immigration and social security will see several developments in Belgium (and the EU). What follows is a high level overview of some of the major changes and attention points for 2017.

Budget 2017 – Program Law adopted

23 December 2016

The 2017 Program law has been adopted by the Parliament on 22 December 2016.

The provision of a company car used for private purposes by employees is made more expensive for employers. This is especially the case when fuel costs are (partly or entirely) borne by the employer in combination with the company car (typically through a fuel card or through reimbursement of fuel costs).

Impact of the EU Posted workers Enforcement Directive

12 December 2016

Over the last months, several EU Member-States have taken specific legislative initiatives in relation to cross-border posting of employees. This accelerated implementation of new legal rules and formalities affecting posted workers is the result of the implementation of the Posted Workers Enforcement Directive (2014/67) into Member State national legislation.

Occupational pension entitlements overview now available online

6 December 2016

The www.mypension.be website allowed the public to verify their legal pension entitlements. The MyPension platform now allows individuals to consult their occupational pensions online. 

2017 Salary Indexation for work permits

21 November 2016

Salary levels taken into account by the different regions when issuing work permits for highly qualified foreign employees or executives with a management position in Belgium are linked to the index of contractual salaries. These salary levels are reviewed each year.

Budget 2017 agreement

17 October 2016

The Federal Government reached an agreement for the 2017 budget on Friday 14 October 2016.

The slide deck used by Prime Minister Michel during his press conference presentation on Saturday 15 October 2016 can be found here (Dutch | French).

This alert contains a summary of what has currently been confirmed by the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister regarding the tax measures included in the 2017 budget.

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