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Exemption of wage WHT for researchers: BELSPO gives guidance on reporting R&D programs/projects

BELSPO has issued practical guidance regarding the reporting of R&D programs and projects for 2022. As a reminder, those programs and projects must be reported to BELSPO before the partial exemption of payment of wage withholding tax on the wages of researchers involved in those programs and projects can be applied. Many discussions have arisen during tax audits as the tax authorities take a very formalistic position regarding the reporting obligation.

Administrative burden of statements 281.50 to be reduced

Commissions, brokerage fees, trade or other discounts and other fees, allowances or benefits are only deductible if they are justified by statements 281.50 (art. 57, section 1, 1° BITC).

The annual establishment of the statements constitutes an important administrative burden. However, the tax authorities can obtain the information in the statements by other means, such as invoices.

Update on the transposition of the whistleblowing directive

17 December 2021 marked an important date in the context of the enhanced protection of the so-called whistleblowers. By this date, Member States were required to bring into force the first set of laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Whistleblowing Directive (Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019, hereinafter the “Directive”).

Not only Belgium, but the vast majority of the Member States did not succeed to comply with this deadline - only Sweden and Denmark finalized the transposition process to this date.

On 30 November 2021, the Central Council for Business (“Conseil Central de l’Economie” / “Centrale Raad voor het Bedrijfsleven”, hereinafter the “CCB”) and the National Labour Organization (“Conseil National du Travail”/ “Nationale Arbeidsraad”, hereinafter the “NLO”) have issued their opinion (see here) on the preliminary draft law on the protection of persons who report infringements of Union or national law committed within legal entities in the private sector.

New reporting requirements for costs proper to the employer as from 1 January 2022.

As from income year 2022, all amounts of costs proper to the employer will need to be reported on the annual individual salary forms 281.10 and 281.20. This change in reporting obligation will result in a broader transparency towards the Belgian tax authorities on the costs proper to the employer.

Adopted amendments to the Belgian VAT Act

The Belgian Parliament adopted a law which contains several amendments to the Value Added Tax Act, in December 2021. The adopted law is published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 31 December 2021. The provisions of the adopted law are generally in line with those of the proposed amendments, as we reported in our previous news items

Rebuilding equity: the reconstruction reserve

Companies with an operating loss for FY 2020 and expecting a taxable profit for FY 2021 should consider the application of the regime of the reconstruction reserve. Such a reserve must then be recorded in the annual accounts of FY 2021.

COVID-19 arrangements for cross border workers further extended to 30/06/2022

The mutual tax agreements between Belgium and neighbouring countries and the exceptional social security measures to prevent cross-border workers from being adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have recently been extended. 

Covid-19 – employment related measures for businesses

Since March 2020 different authorities took measures in Belgium to reduce the spreading of Covid-19. In order to overcome the economic impact of these decisions, many compensating measures were taken.

New VAT Circular concerning charging facilities and charging of electric vehicles

A new VAT Circular provides guidance on the VAT treatment of the supply and installation of a charging station, the charging of an electric vehicle, and the deductibility of input VAT.

European Commission proposes Directive to implement Pillar Two in the EU

On December 22, 2021, the European Commission published a proposed EU Directive to incorporate the Pillar Two rules into EU law. The rules generally mirror the OECD model rules released on December 20, 2021 but have a broader scope that includes large-scale purely domestic groups. The proposed Directive also clarifies the interaction between the Pillar Two income inclusion rule (IIR) and existing EU legislation on controlled foreign companies (CFCs). 

On the same date, the European Commission published its proposal for the next generation of EU own resources. In particular, the Commission has proposed that 15 percent of the revenue generated under Pillar One of the OECD BEPS 2.0 proposals would be contributed by Member States to the EU budget, in lieu of the previously discussed EU COVID digital levy.