Tax law news
Overview of the latest tax news
Demolition and reconstruction: VAT-authorities publish updated FAQ
14 June 2021
The generalised application of a reduced VAT rate of 6% for the demolition and reconstruction of dwellings has entered into force since 1 January 2021. The main novelty is that the scheme allows, until 31 December 2022, the sale of reconstructed dwellings throughout Belgium with a 6% VAT rate. The VAT-authorities now published an updated version of its 'FAQ' on 3 June 2021 (see also our earlier VAT Alert). This update contains a number of new views and clarifications (Dutch | French).
Supreme Court confirms limitation of VAT deduction on publicity and estate agency fees on split sales of land and buildings
11 June 2021
In a judgment dated 21 May 2021, the Supreme Court decided that, in the context of the Vos Aannemingen case, the VAT authorities had rightly limited the deduction of VAT on publicity and estate agency costs paid by the construction company in a split sale structure (land sold by the landowner and buildings sold by the construction company/building company). However, the Court did not rule on the extent to which the deduction of VAT on such costs should then be limited.
No fixed establishment for VAT when a foreign based company rents out immovable property without own staff
8 June 2021
On 3 June 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its ruling in the Titanium Ltd case (C-931/19), regarding the question whether renting out real estate can qualify as a fixed establishment for VAT. In a bold and clear judgment, the Court confirms that there is no fixed establishment if no own personnel is in place.
Can customs authorities also claim VAT?
18 March 2021
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) brought further clarity to situations where a certain Member State’s customs authorities claim VAT in addition to customs duties. In each post-recovery case, one should check whether the Member State that can recover customs duties can also recover VAT.
Tax authorities launch new wave of foreign account audits. How far can they go back?
18 May 2020
Many taxpayers recently received a questionnaire from the tax authorities concerning their foreign financial accounts and holdings. The tax authorities ask extensive questions about foreign accounts, foreign life insurances and real estate abroad. Furthermore, in many cases, the authorities request information for income years dating back to 2012. Is such a position in line with the statute of limitations on tax audits and investigations?
Optional VAT on immovable letting also subject to registration fee
26 March 2020
Following the amended VAT legislation on the letting of real estate that entered into force on 1 January 2019, the administration competent for real estate transfer tax has confirmed that the registration of a lease agreement that opts for the application of VAT is in principle (also) subjected to the proportional registration fee of 0.20%.
New VAT rules for companies without legal personality
28 January 2020
Following the new company code's recent entry into force, the VAT administration published a (short) commentary relating to partnerships and de facto associations. The new VAT regime can have important consequences in practice.
Taxation of gains due to amended urban planning requirements updated
22 January 2020
A new Flemish Decree has recently updated the existing rules on the taxation of gains due to amended urban planning requirements. In addition, the rules on the compensation that is due when landlords suffer damages resulting from amended urban planning requirements have been adjusted.
Benefit in kind for housing: Constitutional Court asked to rule on admissibility of ex officio relief request
17 October 2019
On 7 October 2019, the Antwerp Court of Appeal referred a question to the Constitutional Court regarding the application of ex officio relief on the benefit in kind amount for housing. If the Constitutional Court were to rule in favour of the plaintiff, this would effectively confirm that taxpayers can reclaim overpaid taxes on the benefit in kind for housing from the previous five years.
Tax audit wave on foreign investment income (U.S. FATCA - CRS)
22 July 2019
As a result of FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) and CRS (Common Reporting Standard), Belgian tax authorities receive information from other countries, regarding financial accounts held by Belgian residents in other jurisdictions.
Tax authorities paying closer attention to capital increases and decreases
19 July 2019
As mentioned recently in the Belgian press, companies undergoing a capital decrease after an initial capital increase will be a focus point for the tax authorities in the next few year(s). In preparation for these future investigations, several cases were observed where local tax authorities asked questions related to capital increases. This is a centrally managed action.