As announced by the Government Agreement, pension commitments financed by provisions on the balance-sheet of companies would no longer be authorised. The management of these pension commitments should be outsourced to a pension institution (insurer or pension fund). As a reminder, there was up to now no obligation to outsource pension commitments set up for the benefit of (self employed) company officers (“mandataires sociaux/ sociale mandatarissen”), i.e. private individuals carrying out an office as a director, manager, liquidator or carrying out similar functions.
Nevertheless, it was not clear whether this outsourcing obligation would also apply to existing provisions for pensions on the balance-sheet. The obligation to outsource these provisions could have raised cash issues for some companies. Not all companies are in fact in a position to pay the premiums to the pension institution, together with the 4.4% tax on insurance operations normally payable on those premiums.
The Government seems to have become aware of these cash issues. A compromise seems to have been found, as indicated by the Finance Ministry, Steven Vanackere, on his internet site. The result of the compromise is detailed below:
- New provisions for pensions on the balance-sheet set up from 1st January 2012 must be outsourced and are hence liable to the 4.4% tax.
- Provisions for pensions on the balance-sheet set up before 1st January 2012 must not be outsourced. They will however be liable to a 1.75% tax (instead of 4.4%). The payment of the tax can be spread over 3 years with 3 instalments of 0.6%.