Belgian special tax regime for foreign executives and specialists: some changes
As a reminder, Belgium has a special tax regime for foreign executives and specialists, temporarily working in Belgium. In order to benefit from this special regime, a request must be submitted by both the employer and employee within 6 months following the month of arrival in Belgium. The applicants were free to choose the format of their request.
In an informative letter dated 5 February 2021, the Belgian tax authorities detailed some changes to occur concerning the procedure and the format for submitting a request for the application of the special tax regime for foreign expatriates.
What are the changes in the registration procedure for foreign executives and specialists?
The changes to access this special tax regime can be summarised as follows:
As from 1 March 2021, a new information sheet must be annexed to the request for acceding to the special tax regime. The request will be deemed not to have been filed if the new information sheet is not attached to the request.
This is therefore an important change with respect to the format of filing the request to the new tax regime.
This information sheet (mainly) contains the following information:
- The identification details of the employer, the expatriate worker and, if applicable, the worker's partner (spouse/legal cohabitant);
- If applicable, the identification details of the agent responsible for submitting the application;
- Some information concerning the personal situation of the expatriate worker (university degree, personal and economic links (in any) with Belgium in the past, etc.); and
- Payroll information (this information is important since the tax authorities have required over the past few years a minimum threshold of remuneration to grant the special tax status)
Proof of marriage for expatriate households
In order to be able to tax jointly married (or legally cohabiting) persons, the competent tax authorities now require the below documents for expatriate households where none or only one of the partners resides in Belgium:
- Proof of marriage; and
- Proof of family composition at the start date of the employment in Belgium
Documents relating to the expatriate worker’s household situation must be written in French, Dutch, German or English. If not, an official translation must be attached to the documents. This information was already provided in practice, but the competent tax authorities now require that these documents be drawn up in Dutch, French, German or English. Hence, in absence of such documents in any of the given languages, an official translation must be attached to the documents.
The Belgian tax authorities’ letter does however not specify what happens to the request if those proofs are missing.
Prefiling and postponement requests
We would also like to point out that the Belgian tax authorities have set up a ‘Prefiling’ contact point which allows you to obtain their point of view with respect to a specific situation and whether it would be feasible to obtain a positive decision when a request to access the special tax regime would be filed formally for such specific situation.
Please note that applying on this prefiling contact does not suspend the deadline within which the request for applying for the special tax regime must be submitted.
When applying on this prefiling contact, the Belgian tax authorities have a period of 6 weeks following the date of receipt of the question to answer it.
Announcement of a modernisation of the methods for submitting applications
Finally, the letter dated 5 February 2021 also announces a future modernisation of the method for submitting applications for the special tax regimes.
The new method should enable the Belgian tax authorities to process applications via MyMinFin and to obtain from intermediaries and employers the necessary and sufficient qualifying data to be able to rule more quickly on applications for special tax status.
The exact timing of this ‘modernisation’ is not yet known.
Click here to read our previous article from 2017 on Belgium's special tax regime for foreign executives and specialists
Gunther ValkenborgCounsel Attorney at Law
Gunther Valkenborg is counsel to our Brussels office. He is member of the Employment & Benefits Practice group, leads the Compensation & Benefits Team and is a member of the Automotive Team. His main focus is on employment and benefits and international mobility of employees.T: +32 2 743 43 39 E: email@example.com
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