News

USA finally introduces its own UBO register

2 December 2023

On 1 January 2024, the Corporate Transparency Act will enter into force. In an effort to combat money-laundering, terrorism, tax evasion, and other financial crimes, the Act creates a national database of owners and people in control positions of U.S. companies.

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An Exit Cayman Tax

2 November 2023

To balance the 2024 budget, the Belgian government has decided to tighten the "Cayman tax" again with an exit tax. The Cayman tax was has been amended several times since it was introduced in 2015, and now the government is taking its inspiration from a recent report of the Court of Audit. This report highlighted a number of shortcomings of the Cayman tax regime, and it made a number of recommendations to improve the Cayman Tax, including an exit tax.

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Wealth Taxes in Europe

20 October 2023

Wealth taxes are recurrent taxes on an individual’s wealth, usually they are net wealth taxes, net of debt. A net wealth tax is similar to a real property tax, but it covers all wealth an individual owns. Only three European countries levy a net wealth tax—Norway, Spain, and Switzerland. France and Italy levy wealth taxes on selected assets by the taxpayer, and so do Belgium and the Netherlands.

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Portugal to End Golden Visa Program in 2024

13 October 2023

Portugal announced on 3 October that the government will put an end to the golden visa regime and the favourable tax regime commonly known “Non-Habitual Resident” tax regime. The “NHR Regime’ is a special taxation regime that grants tax benefits for a period of ten years to non-residents who move their residence to Portugal.

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Commission notifies Belgium of discrimination against foreign savings deposits

15 July 2023

For the third time, the European Commission has sent a reasoned opinion (INFR(2015)4212) requesting Belgium to amend its rules regarding the exemption of interest from savings deposits.

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Belgium and the Netherlands sign new double tax treaty

22 June 2023

On 21 June 2023, the Finance Ministers of the Netherlands and Belgium (and Flanders) signed a new double tax treaty that will replace the 2021 treaty. The text of the treaty has not been disclosed yet but press releases in Belgium and the Netherlands give indications of what is to come.

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French Tax Integration Scheme is incompatible with EU Law

12 May 2023

The Court of Justice of the European Union has decided that the French tax integration rules are incompatible with the freedom of establishment. These rules allow a full dividend received deduction for dividends received from a French company in a tax-integrated group but denies a full deduction for distributions made by foreign subsidiaries to their French parent company.

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The Cayman Tax Audited

8 May 2023

In a report presented to the federal parliament on 4 May 2023, the Court of Audit finds important bottlenecks in the application of this complex legislation on the Cayman Tax and in the audits. The government is already looking at making the Cayman Tax even more restrictive.

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When are employees a permanent establishment?

19 April 2023

The Dutch Ruling Commission has decided that three employees who work from home do not constitute a permanent establishment of the foreign company. An opportunity to look at the Belgian and international rules on working from home.

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Paying inheritance tax with Art

26 March 2023

Heirs of a collector of artworks can already pay inheritance tax with works of art, they can even use their own art. The Flemish Government has just made it easier to pay the Flemish inheritance tax with cultural objects, a much wider definition.

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30 June is Tax Day in Belgium

20 March 2023

Tax Day is the day when individual income tax returns are due to be submitted. Traditionally, Tax Day has typically fallen on or just before 30 June. This year again, Tax Day is 30 June for tax returns filed on paper, but to encourage filing online, the deadline is extended until 15 July for filing online via tax-on-web.

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VAT on converted buildings, the European Court of Justice confirms the Belgian rules, but ...

14 March 2023

In its highly anticipated decision in re Promo 54, the European Court of Justice has not invalidated the Belgian VAT rules on "renovation”. Nevertheless, the position of the VAT administration regarding the renovated or converted old buildings remains problematic.

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Does an expat need an international Will?

18 February 2023

The answer seems obvious. As an expat you have international connections, parents who live ‘at home’, you will inherit property and savings from them, you buy a holiday flat in Spain or Portugal, your children study in the UK, they meet a partner from India there, and then go and live in France …

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Mediation in Tax Matters

5 February 2023

Litigating against the tax authorities takes time and is expensive. Although the court's tax chambers do an efficient job, court proceedings always take at least a year. That could make the case for mediation. What works for civil matters or commercial matters, may work in tax matters as well. Unfortunately, tax mediation is not the magic solution for all tax disputes.

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No, the French taxe d’habitation is not dead

1 February 2023

France exempts principal residences from the *taxe d'habitation", but not secondary residences. Belgian residents must remember to report their French properties online ... before 30 June 2023.

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Foreign entities must report ownership of German property

23 January 2023

Germany enacted the Sanctions Enforcement Act II. The Act not only introduces a dedicated law for the enforcement of sanctions, it also amends several other laws, in particular the anti-money laundering law. In particular, the scope of the Transparency Register has been extended.

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Spain's New Wealth Tax

5 January 2023

At the end of last year, Spain introduced a temporary solidarity tax on large fortunes, that must cancel the exemptions on the wealth tax introduced by several autonomous communities.

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Belgium adopts 34-day rule in Tax Treaty with Luxembourg

22 December 2022

On 22 December 2022, the Belgian Chamber of Representatives adopted the protocol, signed on 31 August 2021, amending the 1970 Income and Capital Tax Treaty between Belgium and Luxembourg that had already been amended by the 2002, 2009 and 2017 protocols.

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Netherlands Fight Excessive Loans

21 December 2022

On 20 December 2022, the bill 'Excesswive Loans from Own Company Act' was adopted by the Netherlands Senate. This law will enter into force on 1 January 2023, with 31 December 2023 as the first reference date. The law must discourage loans from a company to its director-major shareholder and other holders of a major interest. Currently, major shareholders can defer any liability to income tax in Box 2 by borrowing from their own company, instead of paying dividends. .

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Belgium Increases Minimum Corporate Income Tax

19 December 2022

Just after the EU has reached an agreement on an international minimum corporate income tax, the Belgian parliament approved its own Belgian minimum tax. This is done through a change to the "basket" in the corporate income tax, which limits the deduction of losses carried forward and other deductions. the new scheme will not be long-lived.

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Belgium protects whistle-blowers

18 December 2022

Belgium has transposed European Directive (EU)2019/1937 to protect whistle-blowers in private companies who report violations of EU or domestic law. These infringements can relate to corporate tax, privacy and personal data protection and social fraud and tax evasion.

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Foreign entities owning UK real estate

15 December 2022

Individuals who own real estate in the UK through a non-UK entity have to register with the new Register of Overseas Entities before 31 January 2023.

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Client Lawyer Privilege and Mandatory Reporting under DAC6

10 December 2022

In its decision of 8 December 2022, in re Orde van Vlaamse Balies, IG, Belgian Association of Tax Lawyers, CD, JU v. Vlaamse Regering (C-694/20), the European Court of Justice confirms that the need to combat transactions involving aggressive tax planning under DAC6 does not justify obliging lawyers to inform other intermediaries involved and such obligation infringes the right to respect for the communications between the lawyer and his client (Professional Secrecy).

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DAC8 to Extend Disclosure of Tax Rulings to HNWIs

9 December 2022

On 8 December 2022, the European Commission announced the eighth amendment of the Directive for Administrative Cooperation in taxation (Directive 2011/16/EU, DAC8). With the Directive for Administrative Cooperation, introduced transparency rules to enhance the automatic exchange of information.

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European Court blocks public access to UBO registers

5 December 2022

In its decision of 22 November 2022 , the European Court of Justice has seriously limited the general public's access to the data of companies in the UBO-registers.

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Constitutional Court Authorises Cumulative Tax Increase and Penalty

24 November 2022

In its decision of 17 November 2022 (case 149/2022), the Constitutional Court held that the tax authorities could impose a tax increase and a penalty for the same infringement, and that under certain conditions this is not incompatible with the non bis in idem principle.

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Ten myths about the 183 days’ rule

11 November 2022

In The myth of the 183 days, we wrote that there was no such thing as a 183 days’ rule. In this post , we will say that there is a 183 days’ rule. Is that a contradiction? Not really. There is no 183 days’ rule to determine whether you are a Belgian resident.

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Equity and Acquisition Financing in the Netherlands

30 August 2022

A decision of the Court of North Holland shows that debt financing is becoming harder in the Netherlands for private equity acquisition structures.

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till death do us part ... (or not)

19 August 2022

What happens when spouses die at the same time or shortly after each other? Do they inherit from each other? And what about inheritance tax, is it due twice? This is not only an issue for spouses but also for other family members who stand to inherit from each other like parents and children, or siblings.

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EU Commission considers Long Term Solutions for Working from Home

13 August 2022

With the end in sight of the temporary solutions to tax and social security issues resulting from working from home, the European Commission is working with Member States and stakeholders to find long-term solutions for tax and social security repercussions of cross-border teleworking in the European Union.

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Belgian Real Property in a Trust

6 August 2022

In a recent decision nr SP 22004 dated 20 June 2022, the Flemish Tax Authorities (in short “Vlabel” for Vlaamse Belastingdienst”) have clarified the taxes due upon the transfer of a Belgian property to a trust and the subsequent transfer of the property to the beneficiary.

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Gift of Insurance Policies and Joint Life Second Death Policies

3 August 2022

On 1 January 2022, Wallonia aligned its inheritance tax rules relating to life insurance on those of the Flanders. The Brussels Region has just amended its legislation along the same lines. The rules are now aligned in the three regions.

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Blueprint for a Major Tax reform

20 July 2022

On 18 July 2022, Finance Minister Vincent van Petegem, published a Blueprint for a Major Tax Reform. In his blueprint , the Minister lays out his proposals for a lower, fairer and more modern tax system. He Minister opts to continue to tax earned income and replacement income at (lower) progressive rates, and to tax income from assets and capital gains at a fixed rate,. This must achieve a better balance in the taxation of active and passive income.

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US Congressional Research Service finds FATCA non reciprocal

20 July 2022

In a report on FATCA (the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), the Congressional Research Service has found that FATCA is not fully reciprocal in information sharing. The IRS receives more information on U.S. owners of foreign accounts than other countries receive on foreign owners of U.S. accounts.

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No time bar (prescription) for the VAT credit

15 July 2022

When a VAT-payer does not claim the reimbursement of the VAT that is due to him, it is registered on his current account with the VAT administration until he claims the reimbursement of the VAT. In a decision of 17 June 2022, the Supreme Court rejected the position of the VAT administration that the statute of limitations ("*prescription/verjaring*") was five years and that they could refuse the reimbursement after five years.

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The Netherlands to Drop Exemption for Overseas Directors Fees

15 July 2022

The Dutch Secretary of State for Finance has stated that from 2023, the Netherlands will drop the exemption method to prevent the double taxation for directors’ fees to opt for a foreign tax credit

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US Treasury terminates double tax treaty with Hungary

15 July 2022

On 8 July, US Treasury transmitted a formal notice of treaty termination to Hungary as the first step in terminating the 1979 treaty with effect from 8 January 2023 or from 1 January 2024 for taxes withheld at source. Hungary has characterized this decision as retaliation for blocking the EU pillar 2 directive.

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Swiss Court Grants Belgian Request for TP Information

13 July 2022

The Swiss Federal Court has confirmed that Switzerland must comply with an information document request by another tax administration if the latter demonstrates that it needs the information for a transfer pricing examination and is not part of a fishing expedition.

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Belgium clarifies position on Cryptocurrencies and NFTs

5 July 2022

On 30 June 2022, the Federal Ministry of Finance issued guidance on the accounting and tax treatment of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). This guidance is a document that bundles legislative and judicial developments as well as other information regarding blockchain.

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The myth of the 183 days

3 July 2022

Tax residence can be a difficult concept, in particular if one has many residences. Where are you a resident, is it the country where you spend more than 183 days? Can I be non-resident if i spend less than 183 days in three countries?

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Filing the new Tax on Securities Accounts

30 June 2022

Belgian residents, both individuals and companies, who hold one (or more) securities accounts with an overseas bank must file a tax return to report the tax on securities account unless the bank has taken it on itself to report and pay the tax (via a responsible representative). The deadline is 15 July 2022.

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Bundesfinanzhof tests at arm’s-length principle

25 June 2022

The decision of the Supreme Tax Court (Bundesfinanzhof) of 13 January 2022, published on 23 June (I R 15/21) does not really clarify under which conditions the write-off of unsecured intragroup debt complies could be considered at arm’s length.

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The Unsung Charms of the Split Purchase

15 June 2022

The split purchase of a property is a popular estate planning technique, but it comes with some risks. It is so popular that the taxman is watching them carefully.

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New social security convention with Morocco

31 May 2022

Belgium signed a new bilateral social security with Morocco on 18 February 2014 that replaces the 1968 agreement). Eight years later, this agreement has been ratified in both countries, it will enter into force on 1 June 2022.

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Registering a gift online

22 May 2022

On 1 May 2022, the Federal Ministry of Finance published a step-by-step guide to register a private gift online. Registering a gift online is simple and effective 24/7. Unfortunately, without a change of the legislation in Brussels and Wallonia, it is not necessarily an expedient process.

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Remuneration and 'Physical Presence' in the Double Tax Treaties

21 May 2022

When is an employment exercised in the other State within the meaning of article 15 § 1 of the OECD Model Tax Convention? The question is important because the Work State can then tax the worker’s remuneration and Belgium, where he lives, must exempt the remuneration. A recent decision of the Ghent Court of Appeal of 8 March 2022 clarified the issue in respect of the Belgian-Singapore double tax treaty.

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Meet DEBRA – an EU Tax Initiative

12 May 2022

The European Commission wants to tackle the ‘debt-to-equity bias’ with a proposal of the DEBRA Directive published on 11 May 2022. This proposal is part of the EU strategy on Business Taxation for 21st Century, adopted by the European Commission on 18 May 2021 and aims at ensuring fair taxation and an efficient tax system across the EU.

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Further clarifications for the new inpatriate tax regime 06 05 2022

6 May 2022

On 6 May 2022, the Belgian tax administration published practice note No. 2022/C/47 about the new expatriate tax regime for inpatriate executives and inpatriate researchers that entered into force on 1 January 2022. The extensive note must clarify some outstanding issues that were not clear.

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VAT Exemption for Small Businesses

25 April 2022

The Ministry of Finance has reminded small businesses they need to request an opt-out before 10 June 2022.

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Advocate General Clarifies DAC6 for lawyers

17 April 2022

In his opinion delivered on 5 April 2022, the Advocate General found that DAC6 does not require a lawyer who participates as an intermediary to report the name of the other lawyer acting as an intermediary as that would violate that lawyer’s right to professional secrecy. Disclosing the name of the other attorney would also contravene article 7 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

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Non-doms, what's in a name?

15 April 2022

Non-domiciled tax status is a relic of the British colonial era. Income tax was introduced in 1799 by William Pitt the Younger under George III, as a temporary measure to finance the cost of the Napoleonic Wars. However, he could not afford to antagonise the new class of colonial rich who had acquired their wealth by farming sugar cane in Jamaica or tobacco plantations in Virginia. To keep them happy and to encourage outward investment, he exempted all their foreign earnings from British tax.

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Taxing Royalties for Computer Programs

15 April 2022

In a new practice note, the Belgian tax authorities confirm that computer programs are protected by copyright. However, they reserve the right to decide whether a work is protected by copyright. That may open some discussions.

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ECJ Berlin Chemie : subsidiary is not a permanent establishment for VAT purposes

7 April 2022

On 7 April, the European Court of Justice issued its decision in the case C-333/20 (Berlin Chemie A. Menarini SRL) relating to the concept of ‘fixed establishment’ in the VAT Directive. In short, the EU Court of Justice has ruled that a parent company does not have a permanent establishment in another Member State if it has a subsidiary there that provides sales support services. In this news item we discuss the judgment of the European court and discuss the possible consequences for your company.

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What does DAC6 reporting mean for private clients and their advisers?

30 March 2022

DAC6 introduces Mandatory Disclosure Rules and focuses on automatic exchange of information among EU states in the field of taxation. It obliges EU based ‘intermediaries’, and in some cases the taxpayers themselves, to report on aggressive tax planning arrangements that affect at least one EU Member State if they fall within one of several broad categories.

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The Tax Deduction of Maintenance Paid

11 March 2022

The Court of Justice of the European Union has rendered a decision that will give more non-residents a personal allowance, an allowance for dependent children and the right to deduct the alimony or maintenance they pay.

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24 Day rule in the double tax treaty between Belgium and Luxembourg

28 February 2022

Since 1 January 2015, Belgian residents who are working for a Luxembourg employer in Luxembourg, are allowed to work outside Luxembourg for a maximum of 24 days per calendar year, where they are deemed to have worked physically in Luxembourg (and vice versa).

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Fixed establishment through an affiliate company?

17 February 2022

A recent decision of the Court of Appeal of Liège (22 October 2021, 2020/RG/765) highlights the issues which Belgian companies face with an outdated reading by the Belgian VAT authorities of the notion of “fixed establishment”.

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The United Arab Emirates to introduce a corporate tax

3 February 2022

The United Arab Emirates is planning to introduce a corporate tax with effect from 2023 states a press release dated 31 January 2022 Corporate tax will apply as of June 2023 to all businesses and commercial activities except for the extraction of natural resources, which will continue to be subject to emirate-level corporate taxation.

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Netherlands Supreme Court finds Box 3 Incompatible with EU Law

28 January 2022

In its decision of 24 December 2021, the Hoge Raad der Nederlanden has decided that the Dutch tax regime for the income from savings and investments (the so-called box 3 income) is incompatible with EU Law.

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Belgium extends the list of tax havens

27 January 2022

When a Belgian company or the permanent establishment of an overseas company makes – directly or indirectly – payments in excess of €100,000 during a “tax haven” during the previous tax year, they must report these in an annex “275 F” to their tax return.

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Taxman may now see the balance of your bank accounts

15 January 2022

Since January 2022, Belgian banks and insurance companies will have to report to the National Bank the balance of your bank accounts, the value of your investment contracts and your life insurance policies.

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Belgium adopts Inpatriate Tax Regime, Phases out Expatriate Tax Regime

3 January 2022

The Act of 27 December 2021 has introduced an inpatriate tax regime from 2022 that will phase out the expatriate tax regime. The new rules must give the tax regime the legal certainty that the 1983 tax regime lacked while promoting Belgium to foreign investors and enable international companies to post or recruit qualified personnel at an acceptable and competitive cost.

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Reporting payments to tax havens: new guidelines

27 December 2021

Belgian companies and establishments of overseas companies must report direct or indirect payments to beneficiaries with an address or bank account in a tax haven. This obligation relates to aggregate payments of €100.000 or more per year, irrespective of whether these payments relate to real and genuine transactions.

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Tax abuse, the Belgian State Rebuffed in their Attempt to Apply the Tax Abuse Rule with Retroactive Effect

12 December 2021

In three decisions dated 25 November 2021, the Supreme Court has clarified the Belgian and European rules on tax abuse. The Tax Abuse Rule cannot get Retroactive Effect

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Belgian Accidental Americans claim FATCA infringes EU Privacy Law

3 December 2021

A group of “accidental Americans” are questioning the compatibility of data transfers to the United States under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) before the Conseil d’Etat, Belgium’s highest administrative court to question the compatibility with EU data privacy rules

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Tax Regime for Royalties under (Tax)Fire

14 October 2021

In 2008, the legislator introduced a favourable tax regime for royalties and fees paid for the use of copyright. Under certain conditions, they are not taxed as earnings but as investment income. This can mean an effective tax rate of 7.5% instead of a tax rate of 50%. This tax regime has recently come in the crosshairs of the taxman. He is not always satisfied that all the conditions are met.

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(Limited) Tax Consolidation in Belgium

30 September 2021

For years Belgium was one of the few countries that did not have a tax consolidation. In 2019 some form of (limited) tax consolidation was introduced. The tax consolidation is an optional tax consolidation mechanism with group contributions, the *intra-group transfer deduction*.

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Luxembourg and Belgium allow more teleworking days

31 August 2021

On 31 August 2021, Luxembourg and Belgium have signed an agreement to increase the number of days cross-border workers can work from home without losing their taxable status in the other country.

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The Stock Exchange Tax confirmed

18 June 2021

The European Court of Justice decided on 30 January 2020 (Case C-725/18) that the Belgian stock exchange tax for transactions through overseas banks and brokers is not incompatible with the European rules on freedom of services and capital. That was a decision following a referral from the Belgian Constitutional Court. The latter has confirmed this decision and dismissed the claim of taxpayers that the stock exchange tax was not compatible with the Belgian constitutional principle of equality.

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Spain ends discrimination against non-EEA citizens re inheritance tax and gift tax

25 April 2021

The jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union and of the Tribunal Supremo (the Spanish Supreme Court) has put an end to discrimination against non-EU citizens who were not entitle to the tax allowances against inheritance tax granted by the Autonomous Communities. At the same time, the Supreme Court has established the possibility that the heirs can claim state and regional tax benefits in Inheritance and Gifts Tax for Assets located outside the EU.

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EU Officials after Brexit

10 February 2021

It is official now. The UK is not part of the EU anymore. Many people struggle with the new rules that govern how the UK and the EU will live, work and trade together. Brexit will also affect many Brits living and working in Belguim, including EU officials, British EU officials living and working in the EU, (non-British) EU officials living and working in the UK, retired British EU officials moving back to the United Kingdom, spouses of EU officials, children of EU officials, …

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The US ends corporate anonymity

8 January 2021

Shell corporations are the vehicle of choice for the criminal and the corrupt to launder illicit funds with impunity. Drug cartels, human trafficking rings, purveyors of counterfeit and pirated goods, rogue nations evading sanctions, corrupt officials stealing from state coffers, and others use anonymous corporate structures to move and hide illicit wealth. The US House of Representatives approved the “Corporate Transparency Act” in 2019, and the Senate has included this act in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This Act was vetoed by President Trump but in an extraordinary move, both the House of Representatives and the Senate have overridden the veto.

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