Tax Return: is this your first time?

If this is the first time you file a tax return, here are a few things you need to know.

The first time, you will receive a brown envelope with a tax return and some documents to help you file (see Filing on Paper). but you will be encouraged to access your online tax return (tax-on-web) and activate you online mailbox “my e-box” for all correspondence with the tax authorities ; that is where you will find your tax bill.

Whether you receive a Brussels, Flemish or Walloon tax return depends on where you were registered on 1 January 2022.

You can file on paper or you can file online. Nine out of ten taxpayers already file online (see Filing Online), and the number of people who prefer to file paper tax returns is dwindling. The tax man is really pushing taxpayers into the digital age and once you file online, he assumes that you want to do so again and again, and they will not send you a paper form anymore. Moreover, if the taxman has all the information to fill in your tax return, he may send you a Proposal of Taxation instead.

Please note that once you file online, the tax authorities assume that you will want to do so again, and they will not send you a paper form anymore.

In Belgium, married couples and registered partners file jointly but they are taxed separately on the same tax bill.

In your tax return, you declare your income. You don’t report your wealth. If you have overseas bank accounts or insurance policies, all you do is tick a box. You don’t have to give any information about those (see Overseas Bank Accounts and Insurance Policies) but that does not mean that the taxman does not get any information (see Nowhere to hide).

You don’t have to calculate the tax yourself and you don’t have to pay the tax immediately or enclose a cheque.  This is because most tax is deducted at source; your employer pays your salary net of taxes and social security. And tax is deducted from pensions.

The tax withheld at source will normally cover the tax. However, you still have to declare all your income, and the tax bill will show whether you get any tax back. That may be the case if

  • you have a mortgage,
  • you pay your cleaner with titres services / diensten­cheques
  • you have made some donations,
  • you pay alimony or child support,
  • you pay for childcare,
  • you pay premiums for legal expenses insurance.
  • or you put some money aside for pension saving,

And if you have any savings, the bank deducts the tax “at source”; you don’t have to declare the dividends or interest. However, if you have savings with an overseas bank abroad, you must report the income.

If you file in time, the tax bill will be sent to you a few months later, at the latest on 30 June 2023. You have two months to pay the bill; if the bill shows a reimbursement, that will come two months later as well.

If you want to calculate how much tax you will have to pay, you can calculate the tax anonymously on Taxcalc.

Your Tax Return:

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