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Taxes in Belgium: What You Ought to Know

August 23, 2020
It's really nerve-wracking moving to a new country, isn't it? You have to start from scratch, get used tot he way they run things, and probably even learn a new language if you need to. Yes, migrating to another nation requires a lot of work and effort, but the reward for doing so is an easy life ahead. And the road to that easy life is to familiarize yourself with what goes on in the new country you moved in. Take Belgium, for example. They run things differently here than in other countries, particularly, their taxes. Here's what you ought to know about them.

Taxes in Belgium: What You Ought to Know

 

People Who are Required to Pay Taxes in Belgium

In most countries, you have to be a citizen or legal resident in order to be required to pay taxes. This rings true in Belgium too for the most part. However, they consider various factors when it comes to "legal residence" here as well. Depending on how long you actually spend time in this country, you can still get classed as a "resident" even if you didn't actually move here. Specifically, if you've spent no less than 183 days in Belgium (approximately six months), you'll be regarded as a "resident" of the country and will be taxed as such. 

 

Belgium's Income Tax Rates

Perhaps the most common type of tax here in Belgium that practically everyone has to contribute is the income tax. As long as you're employed in Belgium, you're required to pay your fair share. Though the amount you have to pay depends on how much you earn annually. If you only earn up to €13,250.00 a year, you'll only have to pay 25% of your income. If you earn any amount between €13,250.00 to €23,390.00, that tax rate goes up to 40%. Earning between €23,390.00 to €40,480.00 a year will get you taxed at 45%. And any income above €40,480.00 is taxed at a rate of 50%. 

 

Taxes in Belgium: What You Ought to Know

 

Filing Your Tax Returns Here

Since taxpayers in Belgium are required to contribute income tax, they also have to file their tax returns every year. Similarly to many other countries out there, the tax calendar here starts from January 1 up until December 31. Though this doesn't mean the deadline for one's income tax returns is in January. That period is mostly around May or June of every year. At this time taxpayers get their returns and will have to file them on or before the date mentioned on their forms. Most of the time, the deadline is in June, but the exact date varies from taxpayer to taxpayer. 

 

Property Tax

A probable reason as to why most expats living in Belgium prefer renting here instead of actually owning property is because the country imposes an annual property tax. And yes, even non-residents who, for some reason, are able to acquire property here are taxed as well. It's paid every year and the amount paid depends on its presumed rental value. As for the rate, it differs per region. In the capital city of Brussels, for instance, the rate is 2.25%. Owning property in the Flemish region will get you taxed at 2.5%. And in the Walloon region, it's at 1.25%. 

 

Taxes in Belgium: What You Ought to Know

 

Inheritance Tax

Normally, if you're not a citizen, resident, or you don't even work in Belgium, you're not required to pay taxes here. However, there is a time in which you might have to. That is if you inherited a taxpayer's estate. Belgium has imposed an inheritance tax, requiring those who inherit land, money, or any other asset from a taxpayer to contribute a certain amount to be able to acquire it. The rate varies per region and the heir has to pay according to the rate instituted by the region in which the deceased lived as a taxpayer for the last five years of his/her life. 

 

The Belgian VAT

Another tax that most people, resident or not, also have to pay is the Value-Added Tax. Most countries have this and Belgium is no exception. Applying to most goods and services offered in the country, this tax has helped the national government earn enough to help keep the country afloat. Rate-wise, the standard is 21%, but there are specific goods and services in which it's lower. Basic goods, for instance, such as water supply, medicine, and certain books, are only taxed at 6%. Food served in restaurants, on the other hand, only has a VAT rate of 12%. 

 

Taxes in Belgium: What You Ought to Know

 

The more you're able to understand the taxes in Belgium, the better and easier your life would be here. Understanding a country's tax system should be one of your top-most priorities if you're moving there!

 

When you've had a better handle of your taxes here, you can finally fix your finances and invest in a sweet Belgian luxury apartment for your new home here.




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