France Upholds Broad Interpretation of Permanent Establishment

In a recent landmark decision, the French Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that a French company can qualify as a dependent agent, and as such be the permanent establishment of an Irish affiliated company, if it habitually exercises the authority to conclude contracts in the name of that company, even though formal consent to these contracts can only be given by the Irish affiliate. (Conseil …

Have Stocks, Must Pay Taxes

If you invest on the stock market, and buy Apple, AB Inbev or Microsoft shares, you must not forget the taxman.
When you buy shares, you pay tax. When you receive dividends or when you sell shares, you pay tax. You pay tax just for holding stocks.

The final decision on the double taxation of French Dividends?

The Belgian Supreme Court has – for the second time – confirmed that the double taxation treaty between Belgium and France, Belgium must give a tax credit for the French withholding tax on French dividends against the Belgian withholding tax. The Belgian tax authorities cannot hide behind the text of the Belgian tax code to deny Belgian taxpayers the benefit of the Belgium-France tax treaty. …

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New Tax Rules for Overseas Properties

The European Court of Justice has ordered Belgium to change its rules on the taxation of overseas properties and to pay a penalty of €2 million and a daily payment of €7,500 (for prior coverage see here). Discrimination of owners of overseas properties. In the case of real property in Belgium, whether that is a second residence or a buy-to-let, the tax is calculated on …

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 …

Webinar ‘Expat Financial Affairs’, Q&A

On 10 December, we made two presentations on wills and estate planning at the annual Expat Financial Affairs event of the British Chamber. Here are some of the questions and our answers. Real estate acquired before marriage is personal or communal property? Under the Belgian default matrimonial property rules, spouses have community property from the day they get married.  Everything spouses acquire during their marriage is community …

Upcoming webinars

we organise regular – free – webinars on various issues related to taxes and estate planning
– The new Tax on Securities Accounts – 7 January 2021
– The Art of the Gift – 28 January 2021
– The Art of writing a Will – 25 February 2021

Help! I received a tax return from the Belgian taxman…

Pensioner under the sun

I live in Cyprus and I just received a tax return from the Belgian tax authorities that must be filed by 3 December.
My husband worked in Belgium years ago, I never lived there. He died seven years ago. I now receive a widow’s pension.
I never received an income tax return – and neither did he.
Why do I get one now?

Investing in UK real property?

With the Stamp Duty holiday available until 31 March 2021, it may be worthwhile to invest in real property in the United Kingdom. To help buyers who have taken a financial hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Stamp Duty nil rate band in England and Northern Ireland has been increased to £500,000. As a result, it is reported that the UK property market activity …

Properties abroad: ECJ puts pressure on Belgium

Second residences abroad are taxed more than in Belgium

Belgium taxes houses and apartments abroad more heavily than houses and apartments in Belgium. The Court of Justice had already found this in 2014 and 2018 and has now condemned Belgium to a penalty of €2 million and a daily payment of €7,500. Different tax rules This “heavier tax burden” relates to the fact that the tax base for overseas property held by Belgian taxpayers …