Publication of Royal Decree dated 9 November 2016 on Belgian specialised real estate investment funds

Written by Grégory Jurion 18 November 2016


PwC is pleased to inform you that the Royal Decree dated 9 November 2016 on Belgian specialised real estate investment funds (better known as “fonds d’investissement immobilier spécialisé” or FIIS / “gespecialiseerd vastgoedbeleggingsfonds” or GVBF) has been published in the Belgian Official Gazette of today, 18 November 2016.

As you know, this new investment vehicle allows flexible and efficient real estate investments for institutional and professional investors, whilst enjoying a special tax regime. 

What now?

The Royal Decree will enter into force 10 days after its publication and it will be then possible to set-up a FIIS in Belgium, with the ability to operate and invest in real estate in Belgium as well as cross-Europe.

Since the FIIS only needs to register with the Ministry of Finance, it is possible to establish a FIIS and make it operational in record-time of 30 calendar days without high constitution costs.

The FIIS may qualify as an alternative investment fund and in such a case its manager should be regulated according to the European alternative investment fund managers directive (AIFMD). Such regulated manager of the FIIS will benefit from a pan-European passport to market the shares of the FIIS throughout the EU.

Refreshing the memory: the FIIS in a nutshell

Some important characteristics from a regulatory and tax point of view:

Regulatory
Tax

  • Light registration: no prior approval procedure or ongoing supervision of the FSMA. Only a registration with the Ministry of Finance is required, which means the FIIS can be established and operational in record-time of approximately 15 days, without high constitution costs
  • Possibility for the FIIS to only have one shareholder and be exempted from the AIFM Law
  • No listing obligation
  • Broad definition of real estate
  • No risk diversification requirements
  • No limits on the use of leverage
  • Distribution obligation of 80%
  • Exit tax on Belgian real estate assets of 16.995%
  • Dividend WHT exemption on part of income stemming from foreign real estate
  • Dividend WHT exemption for foreign pension funds
  • Access to double tax treaties
  • Effective taxation limited to 1.7% on dividend distributed by FIIS to Belgian corporate investors in so far as relating to part of income stemming from foreign real estate
  • No cash trap
  • Beneficial tax rate on unrealised capital gains via exit tax

Contact us!

PwC has full understanding of the new legal, regulatory and tax environment associated to the FIIS (having been intensively involved, as from day one, in sectorial and governmental discussions as well as in the drafting of the related Acts) and to the related AIFM aspects. PwC is therefore in top position to appreciate the scope and consequences of the new regime. As PwC assisted the federal government in drafting the texts of the Royal Decree, we are very well-placed to assist you further and share with your our in-depth knowledge, expertise and insights.

PwC has an integrated real estate team and hence has in-house the full fledge of capabilities for assisting you with the establishment of your FIIS. We are able to cover all relevant aspects linked to your FIIS project and further related matters: legal, regulatory, tax, finance, transfer pricing. We also offer a single point of contact, coordinating all those expertise.

For more insights on this topic, do not hesitate to contact Grégory Jurion or Maya Van Belleghem.