Bill on various urgent tax measures presented to parliament

On 22 June 2016, the federal government presented its bill on various urgent tax measures to the parliament.

–             Speculation tax

A speculative tax of 33% was implemented at the end of 2015.

In addition to some technical changes, the government proposes to close a loop-hole and to treat “close sell” ad “close buy” transaction, whereby outstanding options are closed, as qualifying transaction.

The “clarification/amendment” should apply as of 1 January 2016, the date the speculation tax entered into force.

–             Tate & Lyle Investments (Case C-384/11).

At the end of 2015, the Belgian legislation was amended as a result of the Tate & Lyle Investments case under which foreign parent companies (having a participation of 2,500,000 EUR) must be treated in the same manner as domestic parent companies in respect of dividend distributions. A reduced withholding tax of 1.6995%, equal to the deemed corporate income tax due by domestic parent companies, was introduced.

The federal government proposes to make the reduced withholding tax additionally conditional upon the foreign parent company being subject to tax.

This additional condition will apply as of the date of publication of the law in the Belgian State Gazette.

–             Patent deduction

The current 80% patent deduction will be abolished as of 1 July 2016. A new system of exempt innovative income will become available as of the same date.

A transitional period of 5 years is provided for patent income related to patents which were obtained before 1 July 2016.

The outlines of the new system have not been made public yet.

–             Hybrid instruments and the introduction of a general anti-abuse provision

The changes to the European Union Parent-Subsidiary Directive (recast) (2011) concerning hybrid instruments and the introduction of a general anti-abuse provision will apply as of income obtained as of 1 January 2016 been implemented.

In particular, the participation exemption will not be applicable:

  • to the extent the received dividends have reduced the taxable profit of the company distributing the dividend; or
  • the main purpose of the arrangement(s) is to obtain a tax advantage which subvert the parent-subsidiary directive; or
  • it concerns an artificial arrangement taking into account all relevant facts and circumstances.

–             Exit tax (corporate income tax)

In deemed cross-border liquidation or migration situations or where a tax (exit tax) will be due, as of assessment year 2017, taxpayers will get the option to apply for a temporary tax deferral.


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