Important update on payments to tax havens for assessment year 2021


Companies making direct or indirect payments to recipients established in so-called tax havens are required to report these payments where they in total exceed EUR 100,000 during the taxable period. A tax haven is defined as a country that does not effectively or substantially apply the standard on exchange of information on request (so-called OECD list) or a country with no or low taxation (i.e. a country with a standard tax rate of less than 10% on the so-called Belgian list). This definition was also recently extended with the EU black list for payments made as from 1 January 2021. 

The scope of the OECD list was considered to be limited to jurisdictions having received a “non compliant” rating from the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information in Tax Matters. Indeed, based on a parliamentary question answered in 2014 and several additions to the circular n° Ci.RH.421/607.890 of 30 November 2010, it was confirmed that “partially compliant” states were not in scope of the OECD list for which the reporting obligation applies.

However, at the occasion of a new parliamentary question asked by Mr. Matheï on 30 June 2021, the Minister of Finance stated that partially compliant” countries are also in scope of the reporting obligation for tax returns as from assessment year 2021. The same administrative position was already mentioned in a footnote in the circular 2020/C/112 dated 1 September 2020 on the temporary COVID-19 measure in relation to tax prepayments.  The answer to the parliamentary question now confirms the new administrative position and also shortly addresses the entry into force.

The jurisdictions having received a partially compliant rating are the following: Turkey, Malta, Panama, Barbados, Botswana, Dominica, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Liberia, the Seychelles, Sint Maarten and Vanuatu (the latter country already mentioned on the Belgian list). Companies that made payments to these countries during the taxable period linked to assessment year 2021 should take into account the extension of the reporting obligation. 

This new administrative position is an additional attention point when preparing the tax return for assessment year 2021.