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In this page: Accounting Rules | Tax Rates | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework | Standards | Business Practices

 

Accounting Rules

Tax Year
From the 1st of January to the 31st of December.
Accounting Standards
Plan Comptable Minimum Normalisé (PCMN: only in French) or the Minimun Standardized Accounting Plan. Download this accounting plan (only available in French).
Accounting Regulation Bodies
Commission of the countable standards in Belgium
Institute of Chartered Accountants
Accounting Reports
Belgian accounting principles are promulgated by: the law of July 17, 1975, royal decrees and the recommendations of the Accounting principles Committee.
Publication Requirements
All Belgian companies have to present to shareholders an annual account according to a standard form; a complete plan for big companies and an abbreviated one for Small and Medium-Sized Companies.
This annual account must include: the balance sheet, the profit and loss account and the appendix.
The Brussels stock market allows companies to publish their accounts by referring to the IASC (International Accounting Standards Committee) norms.
The Belgian companies whose capital is foreign may also follow the IASC norms.
Professional Accountancy Bodies
Institute of Chartered Accountants and tax advice , Website of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and tax advice
The corporate auditors , Website of the corporate auditors
Certification and Auditing
Companies have to seek a statutory auditor to conduct an annual audit of the financial health of their organization.
You can contact an external auditor: Ernst&Young, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Accounting News
Ernst&Young News website
Ernst&Young News website on Belgium

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Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
VAT (value added tax)
Tax Rate
21%
Reduced Tax Rate
6% on first necessity goods (like transport, food, medicine, art, papers and books, etc) and 12% on restaurants.
For further information consult Flanders investments and trade.
Other Consumption Taxes
Excises apply in Belgium on alcohol. tobacco, petrol, luxury goods, gas, coffee and tea, etc.

Learn more about Service Providers in Belgium on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
 33,99%, including a surcharge of 3%.
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
A resident company in Belgium is liable to corporation tax on its worldwide profits. A company is resident in Belgium if its registered office or center of management is situated in Belgium. Trading profits and capital gains of a non-resident company are calculated and taxed on the same basis as those of a Belgian resident company.
Capital Gains Taxation
Capital gains are normally treated as ordinary business income and are taxable at the normal corporation tax rates. However, there are exceptions such as gains on shares qualifying for the participation exemption.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Regarding specific company tax deduction, please refer to the website of the Ministry of Economy (in English) as deductions depend on the state where corporations are based.

Deduction of the Income Tax base: disallowed expenses, exempt foreign income, dividends-received deduction, notional interest deduction, both distributed and retained profits are subject to corporate income tax, tax losses carried forward, investment deduction, patent income deduction.

Other Corporate Taxes
Refer to the website of the Ministry of Economy (in English) for additional information on company taxes.
Other Domestic Resources
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.
 

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Belgium OECD United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 11.0 12.0 11.0 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 156.0 176.0 175.0 207.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 57.7 42.7 46.7 46.8

Source: Doing Business - Last Available Data.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Rate

Income tax is withheld at source: from 25 to 50%
From EUR 0 to 8,070 25%
From EUR 8,070 to 11,480 30%
From EUR 11,480 to 19,130 40%
From EUR 19,130 to 35,060 45%
Over EUR 35.060 50%
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
To know the requirements for deductible expenses in the personal income tax, consult the portal of the Belgian Government.
Special Expatriate Tax Regime
An expatriate working in Belgium will typically be liable to Belgian income tax. Additionally, property tax, gift and succession duty may also be relevant. Residents of Belgium pay personal income tax on their total income from all worldwide sources on a sliding scale.
Residents also pay communal and regional taxes at rates between 0 and 8.5 percent of the total income tax payable.

The special expatriate tax status also offers two important tax advantages to foreign executives: the “tax-free expatriation allowances” and the “travel exclusion”.

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
Services Publics Fédéral des Finances (FISCUS)
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 25% (15% for certain category of shares), Interest: 25% (A 15% rate applies to interest on certain government bonds and interest from regulated savings deposits in excess of the tax-exempt amount), Royalties: 25% (Rate is 15% for income from author’s and neighboring rights and from legal and compulsory licenses).

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Sources of Fiscal Information

Tax Authorities
Services Publics Fédéral des Finances (FISCUS)
Other Domestic Resources
Anglo Info website: Living in Belgium
Flanders Investment and Trade

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Learn more about Taxes and Accounting in Belgium on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Intellectual Property

National Organizations
Office for intellectual property (OPRI)
Regional Organizations
The European patent office and the Office for harmonization in the internal market
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property
Membership to the TRIPS agreement - Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)
 

National Regulation and International Agreements

 
Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
Patent
 
National law
20 years Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Trademark
 
Trademark Law
10 years renewable if they are put on the market within 5 years.   Trademark Law Treaty
Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
Design
 
Belgian law
Maximum 25 years  
Copyright
 
Belgian law
70 years from the death of the author Berne convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
Rome ConventionFor the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
WIPO Copyright Treaty
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
Industrial Models
 
Beneluw law
5 years (can be renewed twice).  

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Legal Framework

Independence of Justice
The judiciary is independent in Belgium.
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Foreign nationals in the country can expect to a large extent a free and fair trial from the judiciary, though certain degree of racial and ethnic intolerance exists in the society. Corruption is limited in Belgium
The Language of Justice
All depends on which city and which region it is. It can be French, Flemish or German.
Recourse to an Interpreter
It is recommended to ask your embassy/consulate in order to get a list of interpreters recognized by Belgium government.
Sources of the Law and Legal Similarities
The judicial system is based on civil law and originates from the Napoleonic code, the Civil code (only available in French); the Constitution.
For further information consult the website of the Belgium Law.
Checking National Laws Online
Federal ministry of justice

Learn more about Lawyers and Legal in Belgium on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Standards

National Standards Organizations
Belgium Institute of standardization
Integration in the International Standards Network
At the European level: the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization(CENELEC) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.
At the international level: the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
Classification of Standards
CE is the European certification mark.
Online Consultation of Standards
The ISO catalog
Certification Organizations
The Belgium institute of standardization

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Business Practices

General Information
Kwintessential Croos Cultural solutions
Executive planet Belgium
Opening Hours and Days
Banks and Public administrations: from 9.00 to 16.00, Monday to Friday.
Retailers: from 09.00 to 18.00, Monday to Friday but some close on Monday in the morning.
Supermarkets are open from 09.00 to 20.00, Monday to Saturday.
Workers usually work 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week.
 

Public Holidays

New Year January 1
Easter Monday Mobile holiday in April
Labor Day May 1
Ascension Mobile holiday May
Whit Monday Mobile holiday May
Flemish community celebration July 11
National holiday July 21
Assumption August 15
French community celebration September 27
All Saints' Day November 1
Armistice November 11
German community celebration November 15
Christmas December 25
St Stephen's Day December 26
 
 

Periods When Companies Usually Close

Summer vacations 15 July- 15 August
Easter Holidays April
 

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Last Updates: October 2014