Tax Declaration In Belgium

Tax Declaration In Belgium: StepBy-Step Guide

Stepping into the realm of Belgian tax declarations can feel like navigating a labyrinth designed by Magritte—surreal, complex, and uniquely Belgian. Need assistance in filling a tax return? Don’t Worry! We’ve got you covered!

This guide is your map through the intricate maze of tax codes, deductions, and deadlines. Whether you’re a freshly arrived expat or a seasoned local, we’ll demystify the process, ensuring you can file with confidence and maybe even a bit of Belgian pride.

Let’s dive in!

Is It Mandatory To File A Tax Declaration In Belgium?

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Yes, in Belgium, it is generally mandatory for residents and non-residents who have earned income in the country to file a tax declaration. The obligation to file a tax return applies to individuals who meet certain criteria, including:

  • Residency: Individuals considered residents of Belgium for tax purposes must declare their worldwide income to the Belgian tax authorities. Factors such as having a primary residence, center of economic or personal interests, or habitual abode in Belgium contribute to determining residency status.
  • Income: Individuals, both residents and non-residents, who have earned income in Belgium must declare this to the Belgian tax authorities. This includes income from employment, self-employment, investments, rental properties, pensions, social security benefits, and other sources.
  • Thresholds: Certain income thresholds may also trigger the obligation to file a tax return. Even if an individual’s income falls below the taxable threshold, they may still be required to file a tax declaration if they meet specific conditions, such as receiving certain types of income or claiming deductions or tax credits.
  • Specific Circumstances: There may be additional circumstances under which individuals are required to file a tax return in Belgium, such as receiving income from abroad, being a beneficiary of certain tax incentives or allowances, or engaging in certain types of transactions or activities subject to taxation. While most taxpayers in Belgium are required to file a tax declaration, exceptions or specific rules may apply to certain individuals or situations.

Taxpayers must understand their obligations under Belgian tax laws and comply with the requirements to avoid potential penalties or legal consequences.

Can You Claim Taxes Back In Belgium?

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Yes, claiming taxes back in Belgium under certain circumstances is possible. Here are some situations where taxpayers may be eligible for tax refunds or credits:

  • Overpayment Of Taxes: If taxpayers have paid more in taxes than they owe, either through withholding from their paycheck or estimated tax payments, they may be entitled to a tax refund. This can occur if the taxpayer’s actual tax liability is lower than the amount withheld or paid.
  • Tax Deductions And Credits: Taxpayers in Belgium may be eligible for various deductions, allowances, and tax credits that can reduce their overall tax liability. If the total amount of deductions and credits exceeds the taxpayer’s tax liability, they may receive a refund for the excess amount.
  • Double Taxation Relief: Belgium has tax treaties with many countries to prevent double taxation on income earned abroad. Taxpayers who have paid taxes on foreign income can claim relief or credits for the foreign taxes paid, reducing their Belgian tax liability and potentially resulting in a refund.
  • Tax Incentives And Rebates: Certain tax incentives or rebates may be available for specific purposes, such as investments in certain industries, energy-efficient home improvements, or charitable donations. Taxpayers who qualify for these incentives or rebates may receive refunds or credits against their tax liability.
  • Refundable Tax Credits: Some tax credits in Belgium are refundable, meaning that if the amount of the credit exceeds the taxpayer’s tax liability, the excess portion of the credit can be refunded to the taxpayer.

What Is The Process Of Tax Declaration In Belgium?

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Let’s take a look at the tax declaration process in Belgium.

  • Tax Return Form: Taxpayers usually receive a tax return form, known as aangifte/belastingaangifte, either electronically via the Tax-on-Web platform or by mail. This form outlines various sections where taxpayers must report their income, deductions, and other relevant financial information. The tax return form may vary depending on the taxpayer’s circumstances, such as whether they are an employee, self-employed, or have income from other sources.
  • Types Of Income To Declare: Employment Income: This includes wages, salaries, bonuses, and any other compensation received from employment within Belgium. Investment Income: Income generated from dividends, interest, capital gains, and rental properties must be declared.
  • Other Sources: Taxpayers must also report income from self-employment, pensions, social security benefits, alimony, and any other sources of revenue.
  • Deductions, Allowances, and Tax Credits: Belgian tax laws allow for various deductions, allowances, and tax credits that can help reduce the tax burden:
  • Mortgage Interest Deduction: Taxpayers may deduct mortgage interest paid on their primary residence.
  • Dependents: Taxpayers may claim deductions for dependent children or other dependents.
  • Professional Expenses: Self-employed individuals can deduct business-related expenses.
  • Charitable Donations: Donations to eligible charities may qualify for tax relief. Tax credits may also be available for specific circumstances, such as childcare expenses or energy-efficient home improvements.
  • Assessment And Payment: Once the tax return is submitted, the Belgian tax authorities assess the information provided and calculate the taxpayer’s tax liability or refund. Tax rates in Belgium are progressive, meaning they increase as income levels rise. The tax calculation takes into account the applicable tax brackets and rates. Taxpayers may receive a tax assessment notice detailing the amount of tax owed or the refund due. Payment or refund is typically processed through bank transfer or check. Taxpayers need to meet the filing deadline to avoid late filing penalties or interest charges.
  • Seeking Assistance: Given the complexity of the Belgian tax system, taxpayers often seek assistance from tax advisors, accountants, or tax preparation services to ensure compliance and optimize their tax position.

The Belgian government provides resources, guidance, and assistance to help individuals understand their tax obligations and rights. The Tax Administration website offers comprehensive information and tools to support taxpayers through the tax declaration process.

Who Needs To Declare Taxes?

  • Residents: Individuals considered residents of Belgium for tax purposes must declare their worldwide income to the Belgian tax authorities. A person is typically considered a resident if their primary residence, center of economic or personal interests, or habitual abode is in Belgium.
  • Non-Residents: Non-residents who have earned income in Belgium, such as through employment, rental properties, or investments, must also declare this income to the Belgian tax authorities.

Belgium Individual Income Tax Brackets For 2023

The Belgian Ministry of Finance has released the annual index changes for the 2023 tax year (2024 assessment year). This comprises, among other things, the 2023 individual income tax brackets. The usual brackets and rates are listed below:

  • Up to EUR 15,200 25% 
  • Over EUR 15,200 up to 26,83040%
  • Over 26,830 up to EUR 46,440: 45%
  • Over EUR 46,440: 50%.

The brackets and rates for determining the effects of allowances are as follows:

  • Up to EUR 10,68025
  • Over EUR 15,20030
  • Over EUR 15,20040
  • Over EUR 25,33045
  • Over EUR 46,44050%

Who Is Required To File A Belgian Tax Return?

Every Belgian resident and non-resident who earned income in Belgium must file a Belgian tax return for the previous calendar year, also known as the tax year.

Resident Versus Non-resident In Belgium

When a taxpayer arrives in Belgium and registers with the local government, he or she is automatically deemed a Belgian resident. This means that the taxpayer’s worldwide income is taxed in Belgium.

Non-resident status can be gained by a taxpayer who works in Belgium but only dwells there occasionally.

In this situation, he/she must demonstrate to the tax authorities that he/she is a resident or has a center of social/economic interests outside Belgium or in his/her own country.

A taxpayer with non-Belgian residency status is only taxed on income made in Belgium.

A non-Belgian resident is only entitled to some Belgian tax reliefs if his Belgian income accounts for 75% of his total income.

Documents Without Which It Is Not Possible To File A Tax Return

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The mandatory attachments to the tax return are:

  • Déclaration á l’impôt des personnes physiques, or tax return form,
  • The Fiche form – certificate of taxable income,
  • EWR form – to document local income from the home country,
  • Identity card/passport,
  • Marriage certificate and spouse’s ID number,
  • Birth certificate of the child/children.

Online Tax Return

Filing an electronic tax return is easier because the tax office pre-fills the web form with information from the employer, pension office, banks, and other institutions.

The online tax return process through Tax-on-Web offers convenience, efficiency, and security for taxpayers in Belgium, enabling them to fulfill their tax obligations easily and accurately from the comfort of their own homes or offices.

In Belgium, the online tax return process is facilitated through Tax-on-Web. 

Here’s how it usually works:

  1. Accessing Tax-on-Web: Taxpayers can access the Tax-on-Web platform through the Belgian tax authority’s website, which is part of the Federal Public Service Finance (FPS Finance). The platform is accessible 24/7 during the tax filing season.
  2. Authentication: Taxpayers need to authenticate themselves to access the Tax-on-Web platform securely. This typically involves using their electronic identity card (eID), card reader, and PIN code. Alternatively, they may use other means of authentication the Belgian government provides, such as Itsme, a mobile app for digital identity verification.
  3. Filling Out The Tax Return: Once authenticated, taxpayers can begin filling out their tax return forms electronically. The Tax-on-Web platform provides a user-friendly interface with guided steps and explanations to help taxpayers navigate the process. Taxpayers are prompted to enter information about their income, deductions, allowances, tax credits, and other relevant financial details. The platform may also pre-fill certain fields with information from employers, financial institutions, and other sources.
  4. Reviewing And Submitting:
    • After completing the tax return form, taxpayers can review the information entered and make any necessary corrections or additions.
    • Taxpayers should carefully review their tax returns to ensure accuracy and compliance with Belgian tax laws. The platform may provide alerts or warnings for potential errors or inconsistencies.
    • Once satisfied with the tax return, taxpayers can submit it electronically through the Tax-on-Web platform. Upon submission, taxpayers receive a confirmation message acknowledging receipt of their tax return.
  5. Assessment And Payment:
    • After submitting the tax return, the Belgian tax authorities review the information provided and calculate the taxpayer’s tax liability or refund.
    • Taxpayers may receive a tax assessment notice detailing the amount of tax owed or the refund due. Payment or refund is typically processed through bank transfer or check.
    • Taxpayers should ensure timely payment of any tax owed to avoid late-payment penalties or interest charges.
  6. Follow-Up And Communication:
    • Throughout the tax filing process, taxpayers may receive communication from the Belgian tax authorities regarding the status of their tax returns, requests for additional information, or notifications of any issues that need to be addressed.
    • Taxpayers can also access their tax information and correspondence through their online Tax-on-Web account for reference and record-keeping purposes.

After you file your tax return, the tax office will give you a notice indicating the tax amount to be refunded or paid. A penalty of € 50 to € 1,250 may be imposed for not filing a tax return.

How Long Does It Take To Get Your Tax Refund In Belgium?

The time it takes to receive a tax refund in Belgium can vary depending on several factors, including the method of filing, the complexity of the tax return, the accuracy of the information provided, and the efficiency of the processing by the Belgian tax authorities (FPS Finance).

Generally, taxpayers can expect to receive their tax refund within a few weeks to a few months after their tax return has been processed and approved by the tax authorities.

 However, it’s essential to note that this timeline is approximate, and actual processing times may vary.

For tax returns filed electronically through the Tax-on-Web platform, refunds may be processed more quickly than paper-based filings, as electronic submissions are typically processed faster and more efficiently.

The Belgian tax authorities aim to process tax refunds as promptly as possible. Still, the exact timing can depend on various factors, including the volume of tax returns received, any additional information or documentation required for processing, and the workload of the tax administration staff.

Taxpayers can track the status of their tax refund through the Tax-on-Web platform or by contacting the Belgian tax authorities directly. 

If there are any delays or issues with the refund, taxpayers may receive communication from the tax authorities requesting additional information or clarification.

Conclusion

And there we are—back from our journey through Belgium’s tax declaration landscape, a bit wiser and perhaps even a bit more Belgian. Remember, the key to conquering this annual challenge lies in preparation, understanding, and timely action.

With this guide in hand, you’re well-equipped to navigate the complexities of tax season in Belgium, ensuring peace of mind and financial compliance.

Declaration Done!

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