EU Council extends scope of Automatic Exchange of Information

On 9 December 2014, the European Council adopted a directive that extends the scope for the automatic exchange of information. The directive revises the Mutual Assistance Directive (Council Directive 2011/1/EU on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation) to include interest, dividends, gross proceeds from the sale of financial assets and other income, as well as account balances, within the scope of the automatic exchange …

Rest in Peace: the Book

If you are living in Belgium because you are working here, you may have discovered that things are different from what you are used to at home. Things can also get a little bit more complex in other circumstances, for example, if you are about to inherit from your parents, if you have a holiday home in Italy and France, …

New Penalty System for Tax Offenses

On 22 October, the Belgian State Gazette published the Act of 20 September 2012 introducing the “una via” principle in tax matters and increasing criminal penalties in tax matters. In 2009, the federal parliament decided to investigate why tax evasion cases worth billions of euros in taxes petered out after protracted court proceedings. The parliamentary commission ‘in charge of investigating …

More Guidance on Belgium’s General Antiabuse Rule

The Belgian program law of March 29, 2012 has replaced the general anti avoidance rule by an anti abuse rule. The GAAR was introduced in the income tax, registration tax, and inheritance tax codes in 1993 but had proven ineffective. The new rule must combat abuses of tax avoidance schemes, but even after Finance Minister Steven Vanackere published a first …

Pension Regime, Thin Capitalisation Rule Amended

The Belgian State Gazette on June 28 published a June 22 program law containing various direct and indirect tax measures. The bill amends Belgium’s new thin capitalisation rule and the tax regime for pension contributions and pension income (read the full article).

Can Belgium Negotiate New Income Tax Treaties?

Because of its position on bank secrecy rules, Belgium found itself on the OECD gray list of tax havens in 2009. Finance Minister Didier Reynders announced that Belgium would raise the level of information exchange and that his department would start negotiations with its foreign counterparts. At the same time, he announced that Belgium would opt for exchange of information …

Budget Tax Bills Enacted

Barely three weeks after Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo was sworn in, the Belgian Parliament on December 28 adopted two bills implementing some of the tax measures announced in the 2012 budget. The bills were signed into law by King Albert II and published in the Belgian State Gazette on December 30. On January 26 the government submitted a new …

Belgian Politics and The 2012 Budget

Belgian Socialist Party leader Elio Di Rupo, who is in charge of forming a new government, announced on November 27 that he has clinched the 2012 budget. There is no way back. On November 25 Standard & Poor’s downgraded Belgium’s credit rating from AA+ to a mere AA. This could lead to higher interest rates and a downward financial spiral. …

New Rules on Capital Gains and Bank Secrecy

The Belgian State Gazette on November 10 published the law of November 7, 2011, which updates rules relating to the taxation of capital gains on fixed assets, bank secrecy, and wage withholding tax (read the full article).

Belgium’s Taxation of Capital Gains

One reason for Belgium’s popularity in international tax-planning structures is the absence of capital gains tax for individuals. Belgium does not have a wealth tax, either, so that makes the country attractive for wealthy individuals. The financial newspaper De Tijd reported on June 8 that the Supreme Court of Justice had dealt a serious blow to the tax-exempt regime of …