The Rulings Commission publishes ruling request templates

Hugues Lamon 4 March 2016


The Belgian Rulings Commission has recently published ruling request templates. These templates have been prepared in an effort (i) to facilitate access to tax rulings and (ii) for transparency purposes. Ruling request templates have been made available in Dutch and in French for the following relevant transactions:

  • Mergers,
  • Partial demergers,
  • Contribution of a line of business,
  • Change of control,
  • Internal capital gains.

The templates provide an interesting view on the level of information the Rulings Commission requires:

  • For all templates, the Rulings Commission requires:
    • a detailed description of the general context of the transaction, of the business reasons and of the synergies and, if applicable, the acquisition value of the interest held (“participation”) prior to the transaction;
    • business plans, including detailed tax calculations, for the past and for the future (after the transaction), with an overview of the impact on the tax attributes (notional interest deduction, tax losses carried forward, etc.);
    • a detailed overview of the accounting impact, e.g. impact on tax-free reserves.
  • Specifically for a contribution of a line of business, the Rulings Commission requires:
    • an overview of factual elements to demonstrate that the line of business can operate autonomously prior to the contribution by the contributing entity. This position is contrary to the position taken by the Court of Justice of the European Union in Anderson og Jensen ApS c. Skatteministeriet, case C-43/00 of 15 January 2002.
  • Specifically for a change of control, the Rulings Commission requires:
    • a detailed description of the measures taken if the company is in financial difficulties, of the causes of the tax losses, of the level and type of activities after the acquisition and of the level of employment after the acquisition. It is interesting to note that, in their template, the Rulings Commission indicated that they deviate from the debated court case of the Court of Appeal of Ghent dated 30 October 2012.
  • Specifically for internal capital gains, the Rulings Commission requires:
    • a detailed description of the past and future dividend policy, of the real estate situation, of the loans and excess cash and of the impact on the working capital.

The above illustrates the level of information expected by the Rulings Commission from companies when filing a ruling request. Clearly, one should not underestimate the data collection efforts required and the sensitive nature of the details to be provided when considering a ruling process.

So, in short: companies that wish to apply for an advance tax decision should prepare for extensive and detailed inquiries!

The templates can be found on the website of the Belgian Rulings Commissions (see: http://www.ruling.be).