The tax office in Belgium will tell you if you are liable to pay income tax. If you do, you have until 30 June each year to submit a tax return for income earned in the previous calendar year.
Some expats may qualify for a tax credit to cover additional costs such as travel and relocation. Please contact your local tax office to find out if this applies to you. If so, the maximum claim is around €11,000 per year.
When it comes to double taxation, European Union citizens are protected against it, although the rules may vary from one member state to another. In addition, Belgium has entered into agreements with a number of countries outside the European Union. These agreements regulate any issues that may arise from interference by the tax authorities of the country of origin in the tax affairs of the country of residence. A full list of tax treaties can be downloaded from the FPS Finance website.
The Belgian social security system is contribution-based and is divided into classical sectors and social assistance. Each month the employer contributes between 30% and 40% of the employee’s salary to the social security fund. In addition, about 13% of the employee’s gross salary is automatically deducted for social security contributions.
Self-employed persons pay a quarterly social security contribution to the social security fund in which they are affiliated. This contribution is provisional and is calculated on the basis of the self-employed person’s net professional income in the third calendar year preceding the year for which the contribution is due. Quarterly contributions start at approximately EUR 700 per quarter.
EU/EEA citizens have the same rights and obligations as Belgian citizens when it comes to social security. In fact, they pay the same contributions, receive the same benefits and retain their rights to benefits regardless of which EU/EEA country they live in, as contributions always add up. Nevertheless, you will probably have to wade through a lot of bureaucracy.
Many non-EU countries have signed social security agreements with Belgium, which guarantee that you will not lose your contributions and social security benefits. You can find more information about the various agreements on the Belgian social security portal website.
Your residence status determines how you pay income tax. If you are a foreigner who qualifies as a Belgian resident, you will be taxed on all your income. However, if you do not yet have Belgian resident status, you will only be taxed on income from Belgian sources.
You can assess your resident status as follows. If your physical presence, for more than 183 days a year, or the place where you manage your assets is in Belgium, then you will be classified as resident. This is for tax purposes only, you will need to obtain a residence permit to live in Belgium.