Taxman Announces Tax Traps

This year, once again, the tax authorities have listed the taxpayers they will target. They like to compare it to announced speed traps. They hope that if you know you are targeted, you will be more careful when completing your tax return for last year. When do you need to pay attention? If you are a company director Just like employees, company directors can opt …

New form 276 Div.-Aut (for withholding tax)

The tax authorities have released a new version of the form to claim back withholding tax paid by a Belgian company or bank. The form is called 276 Div.- Aut and it comes with an explanatory note. The main change is the statute of limitation as described in the explanatory note.  Tax must be claimed within five years from 1 January of the year in which the tax was withheld. That …

French Social Charges and Non-Residents

The Court of Justice of European Union has ruled that it was illegal for France to charge social charges on the income and capital gains of non-residents from within the European Economic Area. In the French system of taxing income from assets and capital gains, the taxpayer does not only pay income tax, but also social security contributions (“prĂ©lĂšvements sociaux”) called “Contribution Sociale GĂ©nĂ©ralisĂ©e” (CSG) …

Tax Authorities Audit Application of Tax Treaties

In recent months, the Belgian Tax Authorities have been sending letters to all taxpayers who claimed treaty relief in their tax returns. You may have received a letter from the tax authorities with two or three pages of strange questions, referring to double tax treaties and asking weird questions. Have you also wondered why they seem to be under the impression that you may be …

EU Council approves new anti-abuse clause for Parent Subsidiary Directive

On 9 December 2014, the European Council approved a second amendment to the Parent-Subsidiary Directive (recast) (2011) with the aim of preventing tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning by corporate groups. The first amendment adopted in July 2014 were aimed at hybrid loan arrangements, these are financial instruments that have characteristics of debt in one country and equity. Corporate groups can use such hybrid loan arrangements to benefit from double non-taxation …

UK 2014 Autumn Statement

On 3 December 2014, the Chancellor delivered his 2014 Autumn Statement. There are some unpleasant surprises for non residents who will have to pay Capital Gains Tax on residential property. Capital Gains Tax for Non-Residents Owning UK Residential Property Non-residents who own residential property in the UK will be liable to Capital Gains Tax. The charge will apply to disposals of UK residential property;  that …

47 Countries adopt the Automatic Exchange of Information as of 2017

G20 countries endorsed the new OECD/G20 standard on automatic exchange of tax information at the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in Berlin. During a global signing session of a Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement that will activate automatic exchange of information, 51 jurisdictionsput their commitments into action.  The Agreement is based on the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. The new Standard for Automatic …

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 of information. The dual aim …

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 major tax evasion cases’ came …

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 practice note, there was a …