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Brexit and Belgian Pensions

retirees

If you live in the UK and you receive a pension from the Service Fédéral des Pensions, you may have received a letter to say from 1 January 2021 the rules concerning social and tax deductions to be deducted from Belgium pensions will change for people living in the United Kingdom.

This is correct, until the end of the year, the UK is part of the EU.

One of the basic rules of the EU Regulation coordinating the social security regimes of the EU Member States is that social security is only due in one EU Member State, and that is the Member State of your residence. 

This rule stopped the Belgian Pensions Office and any Belgian pension fund from charging social security on your pension.

From January, they will be withholding social security as well as tax on your pension, if applicable.

Generally speaking, the solidarity contribution is 2% and the AMI contribution (“assurance maladie invalidité”) is 3.55%. However, the full contributions are only due if all your pensions in Belgium and abroad are more than a certain threshold (these are figures per month), see here (the figures are a bit higher if you are married).

AMI contribution 
< €1,597
€1,597 – €1,656
> €1,656
0
€0 – €58.77
3.55%
Solidarity contribution 
< €2,646
€2,646 – €2,962
> 2,962
0
about 1-1.5%
2%

If you have a pension over €36,000, the social security will effectively be 5.55%.

The only good thing is that the Belgian tax on your pension will be calculated on your pension after deduction of these social security contributions. If you pay about 40% tax the net cost should be about 3.33% of your pension.

Update : the Pensions Office had to backpedal because they did not realise that, under specific conditions, the Withdrawal Agreement guarantees certain social security rights even if the European regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009 on the coordination of social security systems do no longer apply. Moreover, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement contains detailed rules of application for the granting of social security benefits.

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Comments 3

  1. Pingback: Confused UK retirees … | taxation.be

  2. My question. I’m planning to move to the UK sometime next year. As a Belgian citizen currently receiving my Belgian pension will the Belgians continue to deduct tax and social security, or will the UK authorities take control ? I would therefore expect my Belgian pension to be paid gross to me, with no deductions. Is that correct ?

    1. Post
      Author

      That depends. When did you start taking your Belgian pension?
      If that was after 1 January 2013, the pension is liable to tax in Belgium, in accordance with the double tax treaty between Belgium and the UK (article 18). The Pensions Office will deduct tax (but no social security) and you will have to file an income tax return as a non-resident.
      If that was before 2013, your pension should be liable to tax only in the UK in accordance with the double tax treaty. Beware, the Belgian tax authorities want to change the rules, see “Confused UK retirees”

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