The Belgian government has limited tax benefits for expats in Belgium. Businesses and employees must adjust to new rules from 1 January 2022. The change is due to the increasing number of expats who benefit from the favourable tax regulations in Belgium. The Ecovis experts in Belgium explain what is changing.

Conditions for the new tax rules

The new scheme will apply to “incoming taxpayers”, both employees and company directors, and “incoming researchers”. Employees may only benefit from the special tax regime if a number of conditions are met.

International aspect

An incoming taxpayer must be directly recruited from abroad and employed within a multinational group or non-profit organisation. A researcher must be directly recruited from abroad. The Belgian employer does not have to be part of a multinational group.

Absence of connection with Belgium

In the five years prior to taking up employment in Belgium, the employee or manager concerned must:

  • not have been a (tax) resident of Belgium,
  • not have lived within 150 km of the Belgian border,
  • not have been subject to non-resident income tax on professional income in Belgium.
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Hiring expats? We can support you in correctly implementing the numerous changes.

Karine Vandenplas, Business Manager, ECOVIS Lindra, Leuven, Belgium

Minimum remuneration for “incoming taxpayers”

Incoming taxpayers must have a minimum annual gross remuneration of EUR 75,000. This income must relate to the services provided in Belgium, including holiday pay, end-of-year bonus, benefits of any kind, bonuses and other taxable remuneration, before the deduction of social security contributions.

Incoming researchers must only be able to present a specific scientific master’s degree or prove the equivalent of 10 years’ professional experience.

Fiscal advantages

Tax free allowances of maximum 30% of the gross salary, limited to EUR 90,000 per year, can be granted on top of the gross salary.

On top of this 30%, certain costs related to moving and schooling may be accepted. These include:

  • Costs for moving to Belgium, limited to one trip to find a new residence in Belgium
  • Costs for furnishings incurred during the first six months after arrival in Belgium and limited to an amount of EUR 1,500
  • Costs of schooling for children of compulsory school age who are receiving education in Belgium

Application period

The new expat status will be granted for 5 years and may be extended for 3 years under certain conditions.

Application process

The employer must submit an electronic application to the tax administration within three months from the start of employment in Belgium and must attach a signed “for approval” certificate to the application. If the tax administration approves the application within three months, the tax regime will be applicable from the start of employment in Belgium.

Implementation

Persons using the current expat regime can opt in to the new regime provided they meet the conditions. For those who do not make a legally valid application to switch from the old to the new regime, or where such an application is rejected, there is a transitional period of two years.

For further information please contact:

Karine Vandenplas, Business Manager, ECOVIS Lindra, Leuven, Belgium
Email: karine.vandenplas@ecovis.be