Belgian Politics and The 2012 Budget

Belgian Socialist Party leader Elio Di Rupo, who is in charge of forming a new government, announced on November 27 that he has clinched the 2012 budget. There is no way back. On November 25 Standard & Poor’s downgraded Belgium’s credit rating from AA+ to a mere AA. This could lead to higher interest rates and a downward financial spiral. …

New Rules on Capital Gains and Bank Secrecy

The Belgian State Gazette on November 10 published the law of November 7, 2011, which updates rules relating to the taxation of capital gains on fixed assets, bank secrecy, and wage withholding tax (read the full article).

Belgium’s Taxation of Capital Gains

One reason for Belgium’s popularity in international tax-planning structures is the absence of capital gains tax for individuals. Belgium does not have a wealth tax, either, so that makes the country attractive for wealthy individuals. The financial newspaper De Tijd reported on June 8 that the Supreme Court of Justice had dealt a serious blow to the tax-exempt regime of …

Belgian future PM Puts Reforms on Table

The Belgian State Gazette on November 10 published the law of November 7, 2011, which updates rules relating to the taxation of capital gains on fixed assets, bank secrecy, and wage withholding tax. At a July 4 news conference in the Belgian Parliament, Walloon Socialist Party leader Elio Di Rupo, recently appointed by King Albert II to lead the formation …

New Developments For Belgium’s Dividends Received Deduction

The Antwerp Court of Appeal recently rejected a Belgian company’s claim that the participation exemption (the Belgian dividends received deduction) conflicts with the EU parent-subsidiary directive. Meanwhile, the Belgian government has introduced a bill in Parliament that would further ease restrictions of the participation exemption (read the full article).

The future of the (U.S.) Estate Tax

In December 17, 2010 President Obama signed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 (TRA 2010) into law. With one swift stroke, he quashed the hopes of some who thought they could inherit mom’s estate without any estate tax.  Or did he? What happened? The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 gradually …

The Ruling Committee is back on track

Over the last five years, the Ruling Committee has built up a track record for delivering speedy advance rulings on all sorts of tax issues. More importantly, it grants rulings that offer legal certainty to taxpayers and investors. When the appointment of three board members of the Ruling Committee had to be confirmed by the government in October, the socialist …

Ruling Committee and Tax Administration Strengthen Ties

After months of uncertainty regarding the body’s future, Belgium has reappointed the members of its Ruling Committee (the authority for advance rulings) subject to a protocol strengthening cooperation between the committee and the Central Tax Administration Because members of the College of Directors are appointed for five years, they had to be reappointed in 2010. One of the members who …

2010 The Year in Review

2010 was another election year in Belgium. After three years of discussion and stalemates, Prime Minister Yves Leterme was unable to push through the state reform he had promised. His government fell again, and new elections were held June 13. The big winners were the Flemish pro-separatism party N-VA and the Walloon Socialist Party. Negotiations on the next government’s policy …

Guidance Clarifies Tax Treatment of DredgeWorkers

The Belgian tax authorities on October 26 published a practice note (Ci.R9. Div. 607/317) clarifying the tax regime for employees working aboard dredgers. The tax authorities note that in principle, dredging projects fall under articles 5 and 7 of Belgium’s tax treaties. This means their profits are taxable in the country where the enterprise is set up unless it has …