Belgium has concluded so-called COVID-19 agreements with Germany, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands on the tax impact of international travel restrictions and health instructions (“working at home”) for cross-border workers and their employers. These agreements have recently been extended until 30 June 2022.
COVID-19 Agreement with Germany
The Belgian and German authorities concluded a COVID-19 Agreement on 6 May 2020. The initial period of application was already extended several times. A new agreement dated 22 March 2022 has been concluded to extend the application of the Belgian-German COVID-19 Agreement until 30 June 2022. As the COVID-19 pandemic control measures were largely withdrawn in the meantime in both States, the agreement explicitly states that this is the last extension.
COVID-19 Agreement with France
On 15 May 2020, the Belgian and French authorities concluded a COVID-19 Agreement which has been extended several times. With the agreement dated 6 December 2021, the application of the Belgian-French COVID-19 Agreement was extended until 31 March 2022. As the authorities did not agree otherwise, the agreement is now automatically extended until 30 June 2022.
Moreover, as previously indicated, the Belgian-French COVID-19 Agreement also allowed French frontier workers (within the meaning of paragraph 7 of the Additional Protocol on Frontier Workers) to work from home (in France) without such days being considered as days performed ‘outside the Belgian frontier zone’, hence not triggering the loss of the frontier regime. The agreement of 6 December 2021 also extends the COVID-19 agreement on this aspect and is thus also automatically extended until 30 June 2022.
COVID-19 Agreement with Luxembourg
On 19 May 2020, the Belgian and Luxemburg authorities concluded a COVID-19 Agreement which has been extended several times. The agreement has been extended again until 31 March 2022. As the authorities did not agree otherwise, the agreement is now automatically extended until 30 June 2022.
COVID-19 Agreement with the Netherlands
Belgium and the Netherlands concluded a COVID-19 Agreement on 30 April 2020. The period of application of this Agreement was extended several times. The agreement concluded 10 December 2021, extended the application of the COVID-19 until 31 March 2022. As the authorities did not agree otherwise, the agreement is now automatically extended until 30 June 2022.
What happens after 30 June 2022?
As explained in our previous article, the idea behind the COVID-19 Agreements lies in the fiction that salaried workers are deemed to have worked in the country where they would normally have worked on the basis of their contractual obligations, despite the fact that due to travel restrictions the employee was in fact working from home. However, this fiction does not apply to secondments and days on which the employee was already allowed to work from home (based on the employment agreement) prior to the travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
However, this fiction strictly applies within the scope of the COVID-19 Agreements and only for as long as they apply. If the employer decides to continue to impose travel restrictions after the expiration of the agreements (30 June 2022), or if the employer allows the employee to continue to work from home the ordinary rules of the double tax treaties continue to apply. E.g., the income a Belgian tax resident receives for the days working from home, even though he was supposed to work (e.g.) in France, are taxable in Belgium.