2021 Tax Return: Box III – Real Estate

In box III, you declare the income from any real estate you may own, that can be actual rental income you receive or the theoretical income from a second or third residence.

If you only own the house you live in, you don’t need to declare anything at all, unless you rent out part of your house.

If you have a second residence, you need to declare the cadastral revenue. That figure can be found on the real property tax bill (the “précompte immobilier”/”onroerende voorheffing”). If you own it together, you each declare your share (normally 50/50) in your column (code 1106/2106). That cadastral revenue will be corrected for inflation (times 1.8492 for 2020, 1.863 for 2021) and multiplied by 1.4. Roughly speaking you will pay tax on 2.55 times the cadastral revenue.

I have a buy-to-let

If you own a rental property, you normally don’t declare the actual rent, just the cadastral revenue, also in code 1106/2106.

If the tenant is a company or someone who uses the property for his profession (e.g. a physician or an accountant), you must declare the rent you receive under code 1109/2109. You pay tax on the rental income minus a deduction of 40% (however, that deduction is limited to 3.05 times the cadastral revenue).

A furnished rental

When you receive rent for a furnished apartment, you must distinguish the rent for the apartment and the rent for the furniture. The rent for the apartment is taxed in the same way as above. You just declare the cadastral revenue code 1106/2106.

The rent for the furnishings is taxed at 30%. By default, the rent for the furnishing is 40% of the rent you receive (unless you have another ratio in the rental agreement). However, you can deduct 50% by way of expenses and you only declare 50% of the 40% of the rental in code 1156-08 (this is in Box VII).

If your property is on Airbnb, and you provide other services to your guests, such as breakfast, daily cleaning, internet, tv, … you normally charge these separately. If not, you can calculate the part that is income from additional services (about 20% of the rental). The income from additional services is to be reported in code 1200/2200. You can deduct expenses but you must declare these under code 1201/2201 in Box XV. That is in part II of the tax return, you may have to request that part if you file on paper. This net income is taxed at 33%.

And property abroad?

If you own a property abroad, you need to declare that as well (normally in codes 1130/2130) as Belgium will normally have a double tax treaty (list) with the other country. If there is no treaty, the codes are 1123/2123.

If you receive rent, you need to declare the rent, but if you don’t (e.g. because it is a second residence), you need to declare the rental value. That is the rent you would receive from a tenant if it were let out. In general, the best thing to do is ask an estate agent to give you a rental value. Nevertheless, the tax authorities will accept a fixed value, such as the French “valeur locative” (multiply by two and deduct the tax foncière), 2% of the Spanish “valor cadastral” (1.1% if it has been determined after 1993, minus the tax) or 4% of the valuation of real property in the Netherlands.

You cannot take any deductions for expenses, but the tax authorities automatically deduct 40% to cover maintenance and repairs. You can, however, deduct the income tax you paid on the property abroad.

Although you have to declare the rental income or the rental value, that doesn’t mean that you will actually pay tax on that income. The double tax treaty doesn’t let Belgium tax rental income., see Cross Border Taxation. This means that rental income is not taxed but pushes up the tax on other income that is taxable in Belgium.

A Cadastral revenue for overseas properties

In 2018, the European Court of Justice has condemned Belgium for taxing the actual rent or the rental value of a property in another EU Member State. Rather than simply exempting the overseas income, Belgium has decided that it will give a cadastral revenue to all overseas properties. and calculate the tax based on that cadastral revenue. You can read here how this will be put in place.  If the Belgian tax authorities know you have a property abroad, they will invite you to report the purchase value and they will calculate the rental value in 1975 like for Belgium properties.

Your tax return

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