The taxman, a sore loser

When the taxpayer and the taxman do not agree on the interpretation of the tax law, they often end up in court. When the taxpayer wins, the taxman generally – usually – appeals as a matter of principle. When the court of appeal confirms the first decision, the taxman can submit the second decision to the Supreme Court, the Cour de Cassation. He often does …

Remuneration and Physical Presence in the Double Tax Treaties

When is an employment exercised in the other State within the meaning of article 15 § 1 of the OECD Model Tax Convention? The question is important because the Work State can then tax the worker’s remuneration and Belgium, where he lives , must exempt the remuneration. A recent decision of the Ghent Court of Appeal of 8 March 2022 clarified the issue in respect …

Tax Return: Cross border taxation

If you live in Belgium and you have income from another country, both countries will want to tax the entire income and that may result in double tax. To prevent double taxation, governments sign “conventions for the avoidance of double taxation”. In these double tax treaties, the two states agree which of them can tax business income, rental income, dividends, interest, royalties, salaries, pensions, etc. …

Tax Return: Box V – Pensions

Box V is for pensions and other similar income. Your state pension goes in code 1228/2228 and a survivor’s pension goes in 1229/2229. The tax that has been deducted goes in code 1225/2225. Other pensions such as the complementary pension paid by a pension fund or other pension schemes are to be reported usually under code 1211/2211. Pensions paid by the European Institutions are not …

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 …

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Confused UK retirees …

The Belgian tax authorities are emphasising that it has nothing to do with Brexit, but this year, they have suddenly decided to tax Belgian state pensions paid to British retirees living in the UK. The problem is the double tax treaty between Belgium and the United Kingdom and the transitional rule for older retirees. What is it all about? If you live in one country …

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 …

The US ends corporate anonymity

Shell companies that conceal the identity of a company’s true owners facilitate crime and corruption. Most countries have put an end to such anonymity. The U.S.A. has finally followed suit by adopting the Corporate Transparency Act that obliges the true beneficiaries to disclose their identity.

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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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?