Indirect taxes & other taxes or tax measures

Belgian Tax reform – VAT

Latest update:  19 October 2021

New VAT measure in the budget agreement

The mere rental of a furnished house without additional services is always exempt from VAT. If so-called additional services are offered, the reduced VAT rate of 6 percent can be applied.
It has been decided in the budget agreement that providers of furnished accommodation can no longer opt for the VAT exemption scheme for small businesses if their turnover is less than 25,000 euros.
This provision  comes as the hotel sector faces stiff competition from private landlords, who are often helped by electronic platforms.

More details in the interview of Tim Van Sant in “De Tijd” (15 October 2021).

New tax support measures announced

On 12 February 2021, the Government decided to extend the November 2020 support package until the end of June 2021. Additional tax and economic support measures were also approved notably in favor of companies and workers.

The VAT measures announced are a.o. the following:

  • Abolition of the December advance payment for VAT (extension) 
  • Harmonisation of VAT interest:  rates would be reduced and brought into line with the interest rate of direct income taxes: the default and moratorium interest rates on VAT can reach up to 9.6% annually and are no longer in line with the long-term low interest rates. Therefore, default and moratorium interest would be aligned with the interest rate applicable to direct taxes for the second quarter of 2021.
  • Harmonisation of VAT refunds: the monthly and annual threshold would be harmonised to EUR 50 and the quarterly threshold would be increased to EUR 400.

Belgian tax reform: new measures announced

On 30 September, 7 political parties reached an agreement on the formation of a new Belgian government (the so-called Vivaldi government). The agreement mentions the intention for a relance and investment plan of 4.7 bln EUR including measures with important social accents. To provide the necessary budgetary room for this plan, some important tax measures have been announced:

  • an important measure relates to the taxation of digitalised companies and the introduction of a minimum tax for businesses. Belgium will constructively support the international initiatives at EU and OECD level in respect of the Pillars and taxation of the digital economy. International agreement is preferred but if no action is taken at international level by 2023, the intention is to proceed with the necessary measures unilaterally. 
  • During the term of the government, a significant tax reform (with a particular focus on the personal income tax side) would be prepared which should be realised in 2024. In combination, the fiscal amnesty procedure would be terminated by the end of 2023. 
  • The tax reform does not seem to include a capital gain tax or securities tax but include a fair share of contribution from the wealthiest – with respect for entrepreneurship. We learned that this refers to a potential securities tax for securities held in excess of 1 mio EUR.
  • Organisational measures would be taken to combat social and tax fraud, such as the creation of multidisciplinary investigation teams, and an action plan against tax fraud would be put in place;
  • measures would also be taken to reduce the VAT gap, including the introduction of e-invoicing systems;
  • transparency and preventive measures would be taken, therefore the saldo of Belgian bank accounts will be shared to the PCC, combined with rules when the PCC can be consulted ;
  • introduction of a tax charter and code of conduct in the framework of tax audits;
  • all new company cars should be carbon-neutral by 2026 ; tax rules dealing with company cars would be impacted;
  • the government would put in place a framework allowing workers who do not have company cars to receive a mobility budget from their employer. This would stimulate sustainable mobility alternatives (public transport, cycling, carbon-neutral cars, etc.) and the willingness to live or move close to the workplace.
  • In the framework of the recovery and transition plan, the introduction of the reconstitution reserve would be provided. 
  • In order to stimulate productive investment, the increased investment deduction would be extended by two years. The current investment criteria would be evaluated and, if necessary, adjusted.
  • As part of the social housing policy, the reduced VAT rate of 6% for the demolition and reconstruction of buildings would be extended to the entire Belgian territory. 
  • The government would also draw up tax benefits for companies which grant their employees more hours of training than is provided for in the regulations, while avoiding deadweight effects as far as possible. The aim is to support those companies which currently do not offer sufficient training. 

Further details will come in the next weeks and months. The announced measures are, of course, subject to change.

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