With the Program Law of 10 August 2015, the so-called “Cayman tax” has been implemented. Under this regime, certain legal constructions are treated as transparent for Belgian tax purposes, implying that income generated by them is taxable or their founders or beneficiaries. The Cayman tax is in principle applicable to income that is obtained, attributed or paid by a legal construction on or after 1 January 2015.
The legal constructions in scope include (i) trusts without legal personality and (ii) foreign entities with legal personality that are subject to an effective tax rate of less than 15%. On 28 August 2015, a Royal Decree was published listing the qualifying entities of the second category:
- within the European Economic Area (‘EEA’): Stiftung and Anstalt (Liechtenstein) and Société de gestion Patrimoine Familiale (‘SPF’) (Luxembourg). This list is limitative but, according to the Minister of Finance, irrefutable.
- outside the EEA: Stichting Particulier Fonds (‘SPF’) (Aruba or Dutch Antilles), Foundation (Switzerland), Company or Foundation (Jersey), etc. This list is refutable but not limitative. This means that for example a limited company of Curaçao benefitting from advantageous tax treatment (on the basis of a ruling) could also fall within the scope of application.
Both lists would be updated regularly. The EEA list would apply per separate year.