On 15 October 2016, the Belgian government presented its budgetary agreement for 2017. In this context, several tax measures were announced:

Withholding tax

In principle, movable income (dividends, interest) is subject to a final withholding tax at a rate of 27%.

Announced modification :

The standard withholding tax rate would increase from 27% to 30% as of 1 January 2017.

Belgian tax on stock exchange transactions

A tax on stock exchange transactions applies to certain transactions carried out on Belgian platforms (Belgian intermediaries) by Belgian investors.

Announced modification:

The scope of the Belgian tax on stock exchange transactions would be extended in order to also cover transactions carried out on foreign platforms by Belgian investors. 

In addition, the taxation ‘ceilings’, which set the maximum tax due per transaction (EUR 650, EUR 800 or EUR 2,000) and depend on the tax rate applicable (0.09%, 0.27% and 1.32%, respectively), would be doubled.

Capital gains on shares

Capital gains on shares realized by individuals are, in principle, tax exempted, except if the operation can be qualified as speculative (including when the minimum holding period of 6 months is not met) or if the operation does not scope with the normal management of one’s private estate.

Announced modification:

The speculation tax for individuals will be abolished as of 1 January 2017.

In addition, the tax administration would first be asked to reinforce its inspections towards operations that allow to realize so-called ‘internal capital gains’ (capital gains realized when shares are transferred by an individual to a holding company on which he has the control). Subsequently, legislation would be adapted with the introduction of a new anti-abuse provision.

Mobility

Two measures were announced:

  • The deductibility of fuel expenses linked to the provision of fuel cards will be further limited in the hands of the employer (based on the CO2 emissions)

  • As an alternative to a company car, an employee will have the option to receive an additional net salary (on average, EUR 450 a month).

Others

The Belgian government also confirmed its intention to:

  • gradually reduce corporate tax rates to a rate of 20% as of 2019/2020 – 18% for SMEs;

  • create more tax fairness, in particular by introducing a tax on private capital gains realized on large participations.

However, no agreement has been reached yet on those latter measures.