Circular letter – Temporary exemption for transferring Belgian wage taxes due to the COVID-19 pandemic


Recently, the Belgian tax authorities issued an administrative guideline in relation to the COVID-19 measure which was introduced by the law of July 15, 2020 containing various tax provisions on the partial exemption of transferring Belgian withholding taxes.

Employers – who have made use of the temporally unemployment for at least one employee during a 30 day period from 12 March up to 31 May 2020 – can benefit from a partial exemption of transferring the wage taxes under certain conditions and this during the months of June, July and August 2020.  Some employers are excluded from this regime in case e.g. if they decide to make a dividend distribution or hold a direct participation in a company established in a tax haven.

For every month in scope (June 2020, July 2020 and August 2020), the exemption of transferring wage taxes comes down to 50% of the difference between:

  • on the one hand, the wage withholding tax which is due (on the qualifying taxable income) for the respective month (June, July or August 2020), and,
  • on the other hand, the wage withholding tax that was due for the month of May 2020 (reference period for this tax measure) on the qualifying taxable income.

The total exemption (in relation to the months of June, July and August 2020) may not exceed 20 million euros for the three months combined.

The law of July 15, 2020 is applicable as of July 23, 2020.

If you have any questions, please to not hesitate to contact Sandrine Schaumont or Philip Maertens.