News

17/12/2014 - Professional news

On 7 October 2014 the new federal government was formed under new Prime Minister Charles Michel. This government (“Michel I”) wants to be a government of recovery that balances the budget by 2018 to be achieved by savings of 75% and 25% from new taxes and other income. In brief, the budgetary balance should be restored by means of an index jump, a tax shift from taxes on labour towards taxes on other income (VAT, environmental taxes) and a number of new taxes and social measures.

We would like to give you a summary of the principles announced. More detailed information can be found in the Dutch and French version of this news alert.

12/12/2014 - Professional news
As of 1 January 2015 the new permanent regulation on advance invoices enters into force. VAT is no longer chargeable on the basis of an advance invoice issued prior to the supplier’s receipt of the payment, nor is it before the chargeable event takes place. At the request of accounting software developers, the VAT authorities are nonetheless flexible in terms of delayed software adaptations.
27/11/2014 - Professional news
From 1 January 2015, legal entities that fulfill a mandate as a company director or liquidator will have to submit their transactions to VAT (administrative decision E.T. 125.180 dd. 20 November 2014). This administrative decision results from a recommendation of the European Commission which questioned the optional VAT regime that applies until 31 December 2014.

The situation for natural persons who exercise a mandate as a company director or liquidator remains, for the moment, unchanged. They do not qualify as VAT payers.
30/10/2014 - Professional news
From the notion of salary for the application of social security contributions are excluded the amounts that are a reimbursement of costs own to the employer. It concerns exclusively professional costs that need to be borne by the employer, in other words which are caused due to the execution of the employment contact (fi. transportation costs, phone,…).
03/10/2014 - BDO news
If the Belgian government is serious about stimulating economic activity – with all the positive effects that will bring for growth and employment in Belgium – then it must take steps to shore up competitiveness and to boost investment and enhance entrepreneurship. After all, Belgian companies need to be able to compete on foreign markets on the same terms as their competitors, that is the bottom line.
03/10/2014 - Professional news
They might be familiar, the so-called ‘yellow registration plates’. A typical example is the Belgian resident who works for a Luxembourgian employer, who puts a company car at his disposal. Until recently, these employees had to be able in case of a roadside control to present a VAT certificate so that the car would not be subject to the registration requirement in Belgium.
01/10/2014 - Professional news
On 1 January 2015 the ‘Mini One Stop Shop’ regulation (MOSS) will take effect. From then on, all electronic services, telecommunications services and radio and television broadcasting services will take place where the consumer is established (or resident or based) for VAT purposes, regardless of whether this consumer is liable for tax. This means that, in B2C situations, as is now the case if the service provider or customer is established outside the EU, EU entrepreneurs will always have to charge VAT in the Member State where the consumer is established or based. The Belgian tax administration is opening a registration module for the Mini One Stop Shop regulation as from 1 October 2014.
24/09/2014 - Professional news

On 16 September 2014, the OECD released the final agreement on recommendations regarding the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS).

Seven of the fifteen areas have been agreed by consensus on key measures to address BEPS by the OECD and G20 countries, together with a statement that explains their content and nature.

10/09/2014 - Professional news

During many years problems have occurred in the differences between employees and self-employed, mainly caused by the social security contributions which are considerably higher for employees than for self-employed. 

Both case law and legislation have tackled this issue, leading to several guidelines and adjustments. 

Also recently legislation has changed once again.

08/09/2014 - Professional news
Yet another change in the VAT legislation will be introduced on 1 January 2015. Following the changes in recent years to the localisation rules to determine taxing rights, mainly in B2B situations, it is now the turn of the (provisionally?) final localisation rules in B2C situations.
18/07/2014 - Professional news
The new fixed mileage allowance was announced by Royal Decree dated 27 June 2014. This type of allowance represents the reimbursement of costs borne by the employer for the use of a private passenger car, motorcycle or motorbike.
02/07/2014 - BDO news

We are pleased to present our new issue of “BDO Guide To Doing Business in Belgium 2014”.

This brochure addresses potential foreign investors or expatriates who intend to settle in Belgium. You will find the required basic information on the business climate and the financial, legal and fiscal consequences of running a business in Belgium or working for a Belgian company.

24/06/2014 - Professional news
A press communication has been published on the website of the Federal Public Service of Finance on 20 June 2014, regarding the delays granted for VAT reporting during summer.
11/06/2014 - Professional news
Recently, the VAT authorities have put an end to the operating procedure applied by property developers which aim to benefit from the 6% reduced VAT rate for the supply of new immovable property (administrative decision E.T. 120.125 dd.13 May 2014).
20/05/2014 - BDO news

The App, which was previously available in 4 languages (Dutch, French, English, German), is now also available in Spanish. This App steers the user efficiently through the Belgian chart of accounts. The chart was developed on the basis of the minimum, general chart of accounts and has been extended to a 6-figure structure. It rests on a logical tree structure and searches can be made using the account number and search term. The App has had more than 6,000 downloads. It is available from the App Store and Google Play.

28/04/2014 - Professional news
A new VAT circular letter (AAFisc Nr. 14/2014 dd. 04.04.2014) comments on the modifications in the Belgian legislation, resulting from the implementation of the EU-directive 2010/45/EU concerning e-invoicing. This circular letter replaces all previous communication from the tax authorities with respect to e-invoicing and enters into force (retroactively) on 1 January 2013.
16/04/2014 - Professional news
The filing season for personal and corporate income tax returns has once again begun. The Institute for Accountants and Tax Advisors (IAB/IEC) has negotiated the filing deadlines for Tax-on-Web and Biztax for this year with the Federal Department of Finances. This resulted in a (conditional) agreement to maintain the same filing deadlines as last year when filing by means of a fiscal representative.
03/04/2014 - Professional news
The model for the individual income tax return for the income year 2013 (assessment year 2014) was published in the Belgian Official Journal of 28 March 2014. In total there are 40 tax codes less compared to last year (actually 55 tax codes have been removed and 15 new ones have been created). Below is a summary of the most important changes.
01/04/2014 - Professional news
The Ministry of Finance announced that due to the recent issues with the “Intervat” application, an administrative tolerance will be granted in respect of penalties for submitting the annual client listings, if the listing is submitted by Monday 7 April 2014 at the latest.
27/03/2014 - BDO news

Core data will be the most important natural resource of the 21st century

2 out of 3 CFOs tell us that growth and innovation is their main strategic priority. Above and beyond exports and internationalisation, the Belgian CFO wishes to focus on the development of new products and technologies. This approach calls for a different policy. While more than 90% of CFOs acknowledge that, to date, they have based their policy decisions exclusively on financial data, they would like to move to decisions based on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and dashboards in the near future. These are the main findings of a recent BDO Belgium survey of Belgian CFOs.

26/03/2014 - Professional news

The new percentages for investment deduction that apply to the assessment year 2015 (income year 2014) have been published in the Belgian Official Gazette of 26 March 2015.

Investments that meet the legal conditions give the right to a tax exemption on part of the profits and benefits, which equals a certain percentage of the acquisition or investment value. The following percentages apply to investments made during the assessment year 2015:

07/03/2014 - Professional news
As part of its recovery plan, the federal government has agreed to raise the threshold for the application of the special VAT scheme for small enterprises from EUR 5,580 to EUR 15,000 as of 1 April 2014. The VAT administration is already explaining the impact while awaiting the approval of the measure by the parliament and the publication in the Belgian Official Journal.

06/03/2014 - Professional news
From 1 April 2014, the VAT rate for electricity is lowered from 21% to 6% for Belgian families. This reduced rate will remain in force at least until the end of 2015. Afterwards, the effects of this measure will be evaluated, in view of a decision regarding the retention of this measure. This decision is part of the economic recovery plan of the Belgian federal government. The Belgian VAT administration explains the regulation in a list of Frequently Asked Questions.
30/01/2014 - BDO news

The investment climate for buying and selling small to medium-sized Belgian companies improved in 2013, a trend which will also continue this year. More capital is available and the number of players on the M&A market has increased. The increased competition means it is now harder to find high-quality companies. Closing the deal also takes longer than before, as the sales process is becoming more professional and more thorough. As regards financing, the own contribution percentage has increased considerably. This is because banks have become more cautious about lending. Finally, investors are increasingly looking for alternative financing methods. In the new financing climate, the question is whether the proposed returns can be achieved.

30/01/2014 - Professional news

From the notion of salary for the application of social security contributions are excluded the amounts that are a reimbursement of costs own to the employer. It concerns exclusively professional costs that need to be borne by the employer, in other words which are caused due to the execution of the employment contact (fi. transportation costs, phone,...). The employer must be able to prove with documents that the valuation of the cost is correct. As from January 1st, 2010 the legislator has introduced the principle that in case of discussion, it is the employer who needs to prove the accuracy of the costs.

29/01/2014 - BDO news

BDO Belgium continues to invest constantly in the future

Zaventem, 29 January 2014 - BDO Belgium once again shows steady growth during the 2012-2013 financial year, thanks to its further accumulation of knowledge and experience in a range of specialities as well as an expansion of its services.

27/01/2014 - Professional news
Up to now VAT payers needed to include in a table of assets all business assets with a purchase price of at least EUR 250 to determine their VAT revisions. This amount remained unchanged since 1980! As a consequence of inflation more and more small equipment became subject of this regulation.
As announced in a press release dated 24 October 2013, the tax administration intended to simplify the administrative tax burden.
In a response to this intention, the above EUR 250 threshold was increased to EUR 1,000 by Ministerial Decree of 4 December 2013 (Belgian Official Journal dd. 9 December 2013).
23/01/2014 - Professional news
Companies that are part of a group need to respect the arm’s length principle when pricing intra-group transactions. Transfer pricing is a highly specialist subject matter that usually only multinationals were dealing with. As the Belgian tax administration has broadened its transfer pricing expertise by also involving and training (regional) corporate tax inspectors, also SME’s are however more and more often confronted with transfer pricing.
03/01/2014 - Professional news

The Constitutional Court determined that the differences between blue and white collar workers had to be resolved by 8 July 2013 at the latest in order to reach a so-called “unity status”. (see professional news 2011)

The trade unions and employers did not reach an agreement and as a result our Minister of Work made a final compromise proposal which is currently transposed into legislation.

The new measures have in the mean time been embodied in the act of 26 December 2013 on the unity status (Belgian State Gazette dd. 31 December 2013), of which we provide you with the essentials.

31/12/2013 - Professional news
Federal elections are approaching gradually. In the past two years numerous fiscal changes have been adopted to make up for budgetary deficits and to boost economic growth. Still, more tax legislation was issued right before the year-end. Below is an overview of the most important provisions of the law containing various fiscal and financial provisions of 21 December 2013 and the fiscal provisions of Programme law I of 26 December 2013 (both published in the Belgian State Gazette of 31 December2013).
20/12/2013 - BDO news

The demand for Third Party Assurance reports will increase in the years to come as the International Auditing Standards will be made applicable for a majority of EU-members (including Belgium) as of January 1, 2014. The ISA-standards will be applied in the context of (financial) audit engagements performed by chartered accountants. After all, the management of an enterprise is also responsible for executing and monitoring the adequacy of internal controls with respect to outsourced processes.

04/12/2013 - Professional news

SEPA will soon bring a lot of changes to your payment transactions management. SEPA stands for Single Euro Payments Area or a common Euro payment area. These are European standards which aim at harmonising the conditions, rights and duties for money transfers within Europe. All payments within Europe will then become “internal payments”.

The European Single Market has been fact already since January 2002. The deadline for this integration is 1 February 2014. Every bank transfer and direct debit needs to be SEPA compliant by that date. Even though the harmonisation merely concerns payments in Euro, the SEPA zone goes beyond the EEA (EU+Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein). Switzerland and Monaco also take part in it.

According to recent reports, a transition period of 6 months will be provided (ultimately untill 1 August 2014), allowing payments under the former scheme. But still, the date of commencement is 1 February.

25/11/2013 - Professional news

As per 1 January 2014 the VAT exemption for lawyer services is being abolished. Hence, lawyers will become VAT taxable persons. However, lawyers may provide many different types of services and act in several capacities. VAT obligations are also entirely new to them. That is why the Belgian VAT administration has decided to publish an administrative circular letter to clarify the law amendments.

18/11/2013 - Professional news
The programme law if 28 June 2013 involves a number of fiscal measures stemming from the budget control of March 2013.

One of these measures concerns the increase of the withholding tax rate on liquidation bonuses from 10% to 25%.

To counter this drastic tax increase, the programme law provides for a transitional provision, allowing entrepreneurs to anticipate to this planned tax increase and aiming to avoid a wave of early liquidations.

Certain companies will experience difficulties in meeting the deadline to comply with all company law formalities. The Minister of Finance, Koen Geens, therefore proposes a relaxation of the transitional measure.
05/11/2013 - BDO news

We are pleased to present our new issue of “BDO Guide To Doing Business in Belgium 2013”.

This brochure addresses potential foreign investors or expatriates who intend to settle in Belgium. You will find the required basic information on the business climate and the financial, legal and fiscal consequences of running a business in Belgium or working for a Belgian company.

30/10/2013 - Professional news
In a press release of 23 October 2013, the European Commission published its proposal for a Directive introducing a ‘Standard VAT return”.
The proposal aims to allow all businesses to provide standard information in a common, preferably, electronic format. This should help reducing the administrative burden for businesses, improve VAT compliance and reduce the loopholes that can be used for tax evasion purposes.
17/10/2013 - Professional news

Belgium’s requirements regarding invoicing for VAT fundamentally changed as of 1 January 2013 (law of 17 December 2012, Belgian State Gazette 21 December 2012). The changes were made to align with European Council Directive 2010/45/EU of 13 July 2010.

However, because of practical difficulties experienced by taxpayers related to the new rules as they apply to determining the taxable moment, transitional rules (described below) were put in place. These transitional rules were supposed to end 31 December 2013.  (Decision no. E.T. 123.563 of 19 December 2012).

Under pressure from some sectors – and because of continued practical difficulties – the transition period was extended through 31 December 2014. However, the practical effect of this extension still has to be determined.

17/10/2013 - Professional news
Belgian employers granting a company car to staff residing in Germany, can be confronted with German VAT obligations. The German tax authorities recently issued a VAT circular in this respect.
16/10/2013 - Professional news

The Belgian government has decided by Royal Decree of 24 September 2013 to extend the application scope with respect to social security contributions.

As from 1 October 2013 the majority of indemnities due when an employment contract is terminated (so called “termination indemnities”) are considered as salary and therefore subject to ordinary social security contributions.

11/10/2013 - Professional news

From 1 October 2013 the German tax authorities make a permanent end to the tolerance allowing foreign VAT payers to identify for VAT purposes in Germany in order to have their supplies from Belgium (or from another EU member state) to German clients invoiced as a local supply in Germany. The tolerance is maintained only in the case where the supplier transports the goods with own means to the German client.

The ban of this tolerance implies that both the supplier and the customer need to comply with a number of additional VAT formalities (verification of VAT identification numbers, intrastat, etc.)

12/09/2013 - Professional news

The new rules adopted on 1 January 2011 to determine the VAT deduction on company assets used for private purposes, were clarified end of last year. Nevertheless, quite a few questions and lamentation arising in business circles, in particular regarding the deduction rules applying to company cars (passenger cars, as well as light trucks), remained unanswered to date.

With additional clarifications embodied in a new administrative VAT decision (Decision E.T. 119.650/4 dd. 9 September 2013) the VAT authorities endeavoured to set down the outlines of the VAT deduction rules permanently.

01/08/2013 - Professional news

 

(Latest update 10 September 2013)

The government recently finalised its second budget control of this year and came up with new savings and tax generating measures.
The measures are meant to represent an intense effort to reorganise finances, but should not be detrimental to the economical growth. The focus this time is a first shift towards a higher tax burden on consumption.

De fiscal measures were adopted in a law containing various provisions (law dated 30 July 2013, B.S. 1 August 2013).

26/07/2013 - Professional news
The OECD has released its Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, promised in its February 2013 report. The Action Plan sets out 15 areas for study leading to potential international tax reforms. Businesses should be aware of these developments to determine how any recommendations, if enacted, will impact their current or proposed tax strategy and transfer pricing policies.
17/07/2013 - Professional news
As from 1 July 2013, Croatia is a membership of the European Union. As a consequence, the EC Regulations on the coordination of social security regulations (883/2004, 987/2009, 1231/2010) will apply in employment relations with workers who are posted from Belgium to Croatia (and vice versa), as well as for employees/self-employed performing activities in both countries.
11/07/2013 - Professional news
On 9 July 2013, the government negotiators reached a principal agreement on the 6th and biggest reform of the state in Belgium's history. The aim is to grant more autonomy to the regions.
02/07/2013 - Professional news
In the framework of the recent budget control measures, the decision has been taken to submit lawyer’s services to VAT at a 21% rate as of 1 January 2014. On the other hand, VAT incurred on capital goods and on costs will be deductible.
11/06/2013 - BDO news
BDO Belgium reinforces its presence in the Brussels region with a second partnership in two months.

Zaventem, 11 June 2013 - BDO Belgium and Moore Stephens FS, the former Brussels firm of the Moore Stephens International network (*), have decided to join forces as from the 1st of July 2013. The firm, with a team of approximately 20 people, offers financial services, with a particular expertise in local and international accounting and tax as well as general consulting and business services.
03/05/2013 - BDO news
Zaventem – On May 3rd 2013 BDO launches its fifth App: the BDO Belgium App. This trilingual App will be available on iOS and Android.

The BDO Belgium App is intended for entrepreneurs: it is a highly accessible source of information in various domains of financial reporting, fiscal and legal issues and related subjects. De ‘BDO Belgium App’ also offers some practical calculation tools. Moreover all publications can be downloaded free of charge and the entrepreneur is kept up-to-date about the BDO seminars and trainings.
21/03/2013 - BDO news

Zaventem, 21 March 2013 - BDO Belgium and Cockpit Group have decided to join forces, to better support entrepreneurs in structuring, analyzing and interpreting the financial and non financial information within their company. As from May 1st 2013 BDO welcomes Cockpit Group, managed by Grégoire Talbot, with a team of approximately 20 persons.

08/03/2013 - BDO news

In September 2011 BDO launched its first App for iPad and iPhone: KMO Cockpit. A further 3 Apps have since been released: PME Cockpit, Belgisch rekeningenstelsel, Belgian TAX Toolbox. In March 2013 we passed the milestone of 10,000 downloads, and the figure is rising daily.

All our Apps can be downloaded for free in the App store.