Tax Return: Box VII – Investment Income

Box VII is for the income of your investments, i.e. dividends and interest.

These are normally taxed at source; the (Belgian) bank or the company that pays the dividend deducts 30% tax when they pay out. If that is the case, you don’t have to declare the interest or dividends in your tax return, but foreign banks do not withhold Belgian tax

If you received interest on a regulated savings account, that is tax exempt up to €980 per spouse or per partner (that is €1,960 for a couple). Any interest over €980 is taxed at 15% and must be reported in code 1151/2151. The same applies to comparable savings accounts within the European Economic Area. If the bank pays you more than €980, it will deduct 15%, but the bank doesn’t know if you had interest on other savings accounts. If the total interest on all your savings accounts, in Belgium and abroad, is more than €980, you have to complete code 1151/2151.

Dividends and interest on non-regulated savings accounts are taxed at 30%.

It is only when the bank has not deducted the 30% tax – mostly because it is a foreign bank – that you have to report the income under the correct codes, usually 1444/2444.

Moreover, you can now recover the Belgian withholding tax on dividends with a maximum of €800 per spouse or per registered partner (that will give you a tax saving of €240 if the withholding tax was 30%).  You will have to do your homework and make a list of all the dividends you received and the withholding tax deducted. The Belgian withholding tax that has been deducted from dividends from Belgian companies goes in code 1437/2437 with a maximum of €800. Dividends from overseas companies must be reported in code 1444/2444, but you can deduct the rest of the exemption of €800 first.

30% on interest and dividends is quite high as a tax, compared to 15% just a few years ago.  If you have little taxable income, you may opt to have your dividends and interest taxed with your other (taxable) income at the ordinary tax rates. You can deduct the bank charges, the first €8,990 is exempt as a personal allowance, and then the standard tax rates start at 25%. If the average tax rate is less than the 30% withheld at source, the difference is reimbursed. 

Overseas bank accounts

Interest on overseas bank accounts has to be reported, usually in code 1444/2444.

The other country will also want to tax the dividends or interest. Under the double tax treaty (see the list/map), that will be a maximum of 10 or 15%; usually, you will have to provide a certificate of residence in Belgium. If tax has been deducted, you report the net income after tax and 30% tax is due on the net income.

Do not forget to declare overseas bank accounts (see Box XIII).

If you have received dividends, you may also have a securities or brokerage account, this year, you do not have to report these bank accounts, but you may have to do so next year (see Tax on Securities Accounts).  

Bank charges

There is a code 1170/2170 to report the fees and charges you pay to the bank. They are usually not deductible unless you pay tax on the dividends and interest at the standard tax rates rather than at the fixed rate of 30% (see above).

Your tax return:

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