Financial advisers consult us on the taxation of their clients’ investments into Belgium or in overseas life insurance products or mutual funds.
Belgian occupational pensions are geared to be drawn down at retirement with a favourable tax regime, and members of overseas occupational pension schemes can sometimes be drawn down tax free, but that does not mean that they are tax free in Belgium. QROPS are often proposed to reduce the taxation of overseas pension schemes or to bring them into the Euro zone.
Income from investments are taxed at a fixed rate of 30% while capital gains remain generally tax exempt. Nevertheless, capital gains tax on shares or units of UCITS (undertakings for collective investment such as SICAVs and mutual funds) are taxed as interest. Investments in life insurance products remains largely tax exempt. Of course, estate planning often is a major concern in every investment plan.
The tax regime of investments has undergone many changes over the last two decades. The automatic exchange of information under the EU Savings Directive, the FATCA rules and the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard mean that the tax authorities know all about a Belgian resident’s overseas investments even if they are restricted by Belgium’s own banking secrecy rules.