Tax Return: The Taxman sends a Tax Proposal

Over 50% of half of all taxpayers do not have to file a tax return. The taxman already has all the information that they would just copy in their tax forms. This is the case for pensioners who do not have a side job, people with an invalidity or unemployment allowance, students over 18 who have some income, e.g. from a student job; even employees who claim the deduction for a mortgage.

They do not have to file a tax form. Instead, the tax administration sends them a Tax Proposal, they call it a “Proposal of Simplified Taxation”, but basically they are saying “this is the information we have and this is how we will tax you, do you agree?”

In the Tax Proposal they send you a list of the information they have about you (identity, marital status, salary, pension, deductions, gifts, …) and they calculate how much the tax will be and whether you get a tax refund.  The first time it comes in the mail, but once you have filed a tax return online or you have activated your digital mailbox “my e-box”, you will find your Tax Proposal in your e-box usually in the second half of May.

More than half of all taxpayers will receive a Tax Proposal (see the model in Dutch / French / German).

Always check the Tax Proposal

Never take the Tax Proposal for granted. The taxman has been known to make mistakes and some taxpayers have then missed out on tax rebates.  

Just assume that the tax authorities do not always know everything, especially if there have been changes in your income or family situating in the course of 2021, such as the birth of an(other) child.  A good tip: compare last year’s tax return with the Tax Proposal. If there are codes on one that are not on the other, that should set off an alarm bell.

Start by checking the information in box II of the tax return about your family situation. Did you get married last year, did you move in together last year or did you get divorced? Was a child born or added to the family, or is one of your children no longer a dependant? Changes in the family situation can have an important effect on the final bill, but the tax authorities are not always aware of it.

This also applies to some specific categories of income and expenses. For example, the tax authorities are not automatically aware of real estate income, such as the rent from a second residence. If you have a second job as a self-employed, they are not aware of that income. Employees who want to deduct their actual business expenses must prove these – that is information that is not already in the Tax Proposal. And check carefully that all the gifts you made are listed. These are just some examples of the information that may be missing.

What the taxman does not know is that you have overseas bank accounts or insurance policies or that you receive maintenance payments. Moreover, you may want to recover some withholding tax on dividends. In these situations you should always file file a tax return.

How do I correct the Tax Proposal?

If you find that a correction must be made, the easiest way to do this is by logging in to Tax-on-web and making the corrections. Do not forget to both sign and send the corrected Tax Proposal as you would sign an actual tax return on Tax-on-web.  If you have received a Proposal in the mail, there is a form attached to report the corrections. You must return it to the Federal Public Service Finance. Corrections must be reported by 30 June (or online before 15 July). If the information is correct, the definitive tax bill will follow soon.

Your tax return:

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