In the Newsflash of 12 February 2018, we already made reference to the new rules regarding the Belgian tax on securities accounts. These rules have now been introduced by the Belgian law of 7 February 2018, which was published in the Official Gazette on 9 March 2018. In a nutshell, this new regime is a wealth tax.
For individual taxpayers who are tax residents of Belgium, a flat tax rate of 0,15% will be imposed on certain qualifying financial instruments that are held via their Belgian and non-Belgian securities accounts. For individual taxpayers who are non-resident taxpayers of Belgium, only the Belgian securities accounts are taken into account for the application of the 0,15% taxation.
The tax on securities accounts is due when the total average value (of the qualifying financial instruments held via the above-mentioned securities accounts) reaches or exceeds EUR 500.000 (per account holder). In this respect, the ‘average value’ is calculated in a very specific manner, notably on the basis of a reference period (normally from: 1 October up to 30 September of the following year, but already with an exception for 2018).
In practice, for tax residents and non-residents of Belgium, three different situations are possible with respect to the payment and declaration of the tax due:
– Default (by the financial institution): In principle, it will be the Belgian banks and stock broker firms that will determine the value of the accounts concerned. These financial institutions will also automatically collect and declare the tax due, if the average value of taxable securities on the securities accounts held with via these institutions is at least EUR 500.000. In such case (if the required tax amounts are withheld and paid towards the Belgian tax authorities), no further action is required from the individual account holders.
– Opting-in (by the financial institution): Upon request of the account holder, Belgian banks and stockbroker firms may also levy the tax in relation to securities accounts with a total average value of less than EUR 500.000. This will for example be the case when the account holder has securities accounts with several financial institutions. In such case, he may opt to withhold the tax.
– By the account holder: In all other cases, the account holder has to determine the tax amount, file a separate electronic tax return and make the tax payment. This will for example be the case for resident and non-resident taxpayers who have not opted to withhold the tax or for Belgian resident taxpayers who are account holder of foreign/overseas securities accounts, with a total average value of EUR 500.000 or more, whereby the tax was not levied by the financial intermediary.
It is anticipated that more practical guidelines will follow.