• FISCAL BUDGET MEASURES 2013

FISCAL BUDGET MEASURES 2013

18 July 2013

On 21 November 2012 the Di Rupo government announced new budget measures. The federal budget plan requires an amount of 3.7 thousand million euros for the 2013 budget in order to meet European objectives. This finds expression (i) in cost-cutting and (ii) in a number of new fiscal measures. Below we map out the different legislative initiatives:

  • A law containing fiscal and financial measures (law of 13 December 2012, Belgian Official Journal 20/12/2012) provides for a number of fiscal measures that were listed in the 2012 federal budget plan, but take effect from 2013 onwards. These can be found in our news article on the 2012 budget measures;
  • A programme law dated 27 December (Belgian State Gazette of 31 December 2012) has adopted a series of tax measures from the 2013 federal budget plan;
  • A Law containing fiscal and financial measures (law of 17 June 2013, Belgian Official Journal 28 June 2013), including among other things a revival plan on which an agreement was reached by the federal government already in summer 2012;
  • A law containing urgent measures to combat fraud (Law of 15 July 2013, B.S. 19 July 2013): this bill focuses on the anti-money laundering obligations of financial professions, introduces further restrictions regarding cash payments, and regulates the scrapping of registrations from the Cross Roads Bank for Enterprises in certain cases;
  • A law modifying the tax regularisation scheme and inroduction of a social law regularisation (wetsontwerp tot wijziging van het systeem van fiscale regularisatie en tot invoering van een sociale regularisatie/projet de loi modifiant le régime de régularisation fiscale et instaurant une régularisation sociale) (law of 11 July 2013; B.S. 12 July 2013): this law provides for a framework for a new and temporary regularisation round.

BDO follows the trends and developments in order to give you the very latest available information.

In what follows you will find a brief outline of the information currently available on the announced fiscal measures based on the 2013 federal budget plan and currenlty active legislation. These will exist alongside the 2012 budget measures.

CORPORATE INCOME TAX

  • Notional intrest deduction
    • Further lowering of the maximum rate;
    • Abolition of the possibility to carry forward the NID excess
  • Capital gains tax for large enterprises and holdings  
  • "Residential” real estate investment companies (“vastgoedbevak/sicafi”) subject to a 15% tax
  • Relaxation rules secret commissions tax
  • Extension and modernising of the “tax shelter” scheme
  • Relaxation patent income deduction for SME’s
  • Increased exemption of payment professional withholding tax

More info

PERSONAL INCOME TAX

  • Movable withholding tax rate increased to 25%
  • Regularisation undeclared income (tax amnesty)
  • Modifications to the tax credit scheme for low income
  • Movable income of foreign origin

More info 

INDIRECT TAXES

  • Increased excise duties on tobacco and alcohol 
  • Tax on life insurance policies increased to 2%
  • VAT changes: 
    • Intra-Community transport between the Azores and Madeira
    • Humanitarian, charitable or teaching activities “outside the Community”
    • VAT exemption educational services
    • Regulation VAT warehouse
    • Accession to the European Union: transitional provisions

More info

COMBAT OF TAX FRAUD

A series of measures aiming to combat tax fraud have been introduced. The outlines are described below.

INCOME TAX CODE (ITC)
  • The ITC adopts criminal sanctions for “severe fiscal fraud,whether or not organised”: imprisonment varying between 8 days up to 5 years and/or a fine from EUR 250 – 250,000;
  • Fraud no longer needs to be organised;
  • Can be considered “severe tax fraud”:
    • The production and the use of false documents;
    • The substantial amount of money involved in certain transactions;
    • The abnormal character of this amount according to the activities or the equity of the tax payer concerned;
    • Presence of one or more fraud indicators described in R.D. of 3 June 2007.
  • The regulation on the prescription of tax fraud committed with false documents will be tightened: the prescription period will commence only as from the moment the fiscal debt has been paid.
VAT CODE AND VARIOUS OTHER CODES 

Similar provisions have been adopted by the Belgian VAT Code.

For fraud on customs and excise duties level an imprisonment from 4 months to 5 years can be imposed in case of fraudulent cause or in case the financial interest of the European Union is seriously damaged.

As regards the director’s liability for severe fault, the Belgian Companies Code also replaces the notion ‘severe and organised tax fraud” by the notion "severe tax fraud, whether or not organised".

ANTI MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS
  • The notion “severe fiscal fraud,whether or not organised” is also applied in the anti money laundering legislation and will replace the notion “serious and organised fraud”. This has implications for the reporting obligation of financial institutes, accountants, notaries, estate agents, ... ;
  • The information exchange between the Belgian Financial Intelligence Processing Unit (CTIF/CFI) and the tax authorities has expanded. The CTIF/CFI will now be able to transfer the entire case, whereas previously they merely informed the tax authorities of cases transferred to court.
FAILURE TO DEPOSIT ANNUAL ACCOUNTS FOR 3 CONSECUTIVE YEARS 

Companies failing to deposit their annual accounts for 3 consecutive years at the National Bank of Belgium can be removed from the Belgian Crossroads Bank for enterprises. This measure aims to hold back those companies from easily entering into transactions.

CASH PAYMENTS UP TO EUR 5,000

By means of a preventive measure, cash payments by traders in precious metals purchasing goods in one or several transactions can only be done up to 10% of the purchase price and a maximum of EUR 5,000.

The above measures are deemed to take effect 10 days from the publication in the Belgian State Gazette.

Source: Law containing fiscal and financial provisions of 17 June 2013 (B.S. 28 June 2013)
           Law containing urgent measures to combat fraud of 15 July 2013 (B.S. 19 July 2013).