A Royal Decree of 3 April 2015 (published on 13 April) lays down the rules for taxpayers that are required to declare foreign bank accounts in their income tax return and to communicate certain data about those accounts to the central contact point ("CCP") of the National Bank of Belgium ("NBB").

As stated in the Income Tax Code, the annual personal income tax return must declare any accounts held by the taxpayer and his spouse, as well as children whose incomes are combined with the parents' incomes, at any time during the taxable period, in any banking, foreign exchange, credit or savings institution established abroad and must declare the country or countries where the accounts were opened. 

At the latest on the date of submission of the return, certain information concerning such accounts must be communicated to the CCP if not already done so in a previous tax year.

The Royal Decree of 3 April 2015 sets the rules that must be followed by the taxpayer.

The taxpayer – or its procedural representative – must provide the following data:

  • His identification number to the National Register or, failing that, his identification number assigned by the Crossroads Bank for Social Security (CBSS) and the name and official first name.
  • For each foreign account: a) The account number, identified by its IBAN; b) the name of the banking, foreign exchange, credit or foreign savings establishment; c) the BIC code of the institution or, failing that, full address; d) the country where the account was opened.
  • For tax years 2012 to 2014 and for each foreign account: the taxable period related to these tax years during which the taxpayer or his children whose incomes are combined with those of the parents were, at any time, owners or co-owners of the foreign account.
  • The last taxable period in which the children’s incomes were combined with those of the parents, for each foreign account held by the children at any time during the reporting period.
  • The closing date of any foreign account previously communicated to the CCP.

The Report to the King annexed to the Royal Decree of 3 April 2015 specifies what exactly is meant by the term “foreign account”. It states in particular that only foreign accounts must be communicated to the CCP and not the contracts entered into by a taxpayer with a banking, currency, credit or savings institution established abroad. In this sense there is a noticeable difference with the prescribed rules for banking, foreign exchange, credit and savings institutions.

In principle, the order comes into force on the tenth day following its publication in the Belgian Monitor, i.e. 23 April 2015. However, that entry into force will only impact the National Bank of Belgium, which is responsible for the CCP, once the measures have been taken to handle communication of foreign accounts by taxpayers.

Taxpayers are to proceed with the communication of their foreign accounts only after direct request of the Federal Public Service Finance.