The legal consequences of owning too many parking spaces in Brussels
Brussels aims to reduce the environmental impact of mobility. Office buildings with too many parking spaces trigger legal & tax consequences. What are they?
The Brussels Region is divided into 3 zones (zones A, B, and C), which are determined by the accessibility of the zone by public transportation. Depending on (i) your building’s floor area and (ii) the location of your building, a threshold of “authorized” parking spaces is determined:
(A) Zone A: 1 parking space / 200 sqm (building’s floor area);
(B) Zone B: 1 parking space / 100 sqm; and
(C) Zone C: 1 parking space / 60 sqm.
Parking in Brussels: requesting a new permit
You will only receive a new environmental permit or certificate if the number of parking spaces of the office building stays within the threshold. Whether you receive a new permit or certificate is directly restrained by the number of parking spaces that are “authorized” for your building. Exemptions are possible, but only for limitative and enumerated reasons, e.g. the necessity of additional parking spaces for functional vehicles.
Parking in Brussels: existing parking lots
For existing parking spaces, a transitory regime is provided in case of a renewal or an extension of an existing environmental permit. You have 3 options if the threshold is exceeded:
- remove the excess parking spaces or reassign them to new activities;
- open the parking to the public; or
- pay an environmental tax.
Parking in Brussels: exceptions to the rule
Whether you request a new permit or apply for a renewal, parking places relating to private homes, taxi services, or car sharing services are excluded from the scope of the rule. Specific sectors are also excluded, such as artisanal activities, industrial, logistic, warehouses, etc.
Parking in Brussels: the environmental tax
The environmental tax must be paid by the permit holder. It is calculated as from the first full year in which the threshold is exceeded. The basic amount of the environmental tax is determined per parking space. These are the rates per year:
(A) Zone A: 450 EUR / parking space;
(B) Zone B: 350 EUR / parking space; and
(C) Zone C: 250 EUR / parking space.
Environmental tax: yearly increase
The environmental tax is indexed and increased by 10% each year, as from the second year. This 10% increase can be cumulated for a maximum period of 15 years (maximum validity period of the permit). The government can however decide to limit the number of parking spaces you have in excess by paying an environmental tax. To this date, there is no Decree in this respect.
Environmental tax: no deduction possible
The environmental tax on parking spaces is a regional tax resulting from the tax autonomy of the Brussels-Capital Region. Therefore, if your company is the holder of the environmental permit, it cannot deduct the environmental tax for corporate income tax purposes.
Planning to buy an office in Brussels?
Should you contemplate to acquire an office building with a high number of parking spaces in the Brussels city centre, don’t forget to assess your running costs in the light of this non-deductible tax. In the same way, your competitiveness as a landlord could be affected if you decide to re-invoice this cost to your tenants.
Julien LeclerCounsel Attorney at Law
Julien Lecler is a member of the Real Estate and the Public and Administrative Law Practice Groups in Belgium. He is a counsel in our Brussels office with a broad practice of counselling in all aspects of real estate law.T: +32 2 773 23 59 E: email@example.com