As one of the administrative capitals of Europe, Belgium is an extremely popular choice with foreign nationals looking for work opportunities. Its central location means it provides many benefits for the contractor working abroad, and with many talented individuals making the move to Belgium for work opportunities each year, it’s understandable you may want to join them. Before making the decision to move you should fully assess your options and here we’re covering some of the key questions for contractors looking at Belgium for their next project.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF WORKING IN BELGIUM?
The top three benefits of working in Belgium are:
- It is the administrative centre of Europe
- Small size makes travel/transport easy and convenient (including across borders)
- Relatively low cost of living
MAXIMUM SALARY RETENTION IS IMPORTANT TO ME; HOW MUCH WILL I TAKE HOME?
The maximum salary retention you can achieve in Belgium depends on the way in which you choose to work. Contractors locally employed with Access Financial enjoy around 45% retention, self-employed individuals can expect between 61% and 64%, whilst those working through their own personal service company can achieve up to 72%. In every instance, individual circumstances such as dividends paid, rate of pay, marital status and other factors will impact on the salary retained.
WHAT ARE THE LEVELS OF TAXATION IN BELGIUM?
Residents and non-residents in Belgium pay income tax on a progressive scale up to 50%. There is also an additional municipal tax, which varies up to 8.9% for residents and 6% for non-residents.
There is also a special tax regime in Belgium for qualifying foreign workers. If you qualify for the expat tax regime, a contractor shall get a flat deduction of up to a maximum of EUR 11250 p.a.. In order to qualify for the expat status, the Belgian authorities require that a minimum gross remuneration is granted to the expat. For the year 2016, this remuneration amounts to 39,802 EUR. If the contractor’s annual gross income is below this amount, expat tax regime shall not apply.
WHAT ARE THE SOCIAL SECURITY REQUIREMENTS?
Compulsory Belgian social security contributions are 13.07% for employees and 30% for employers. There is also an additional special non-deductible social security contribution of 731.28 EUR a year.
HOW DO I REGISTER LOCALLY IN BELGIUM? WHAT LOCAL REGISTRATION DO I NEED?
To legally live and work in Belgium, EU/EFTA nationals do not need a work permit. Contractors are simply required to register in person at their local town hall (maison communale) and have a full police check carried out. Dependent on their status, the contractor then receives a resident permit, with EU/EFTA nationals provided with a temporary residence permit for five months and then a permanent five-year card thereafter.
DO I NEED A PERMANENT LOCAL LIVING ADDRESS IN BELGIUM?
A permanent local living address is required in Belgium, unless you live just across the border in the Netherlands, France, Germany or Luxembourg.
IS THE PROCESS FOR CLAIMING EXPENSES DIFFERENT IN BELGIUM? WHAT’S COVERED/NOT COVERED?
The Belgian tax authorities allow expenses to be claimed, in line with the conditions set forth in Article 49 of their income tax code of 1992. It can be quite complex but in most instances expenses can be claimed if:
- They relate fully to professional activity
- They occurred during the taxable period the deduction is requested for
- The cost of expense is fully justifiable
CAN’T I JUST USE MY OWN COMPANY?
Working under your own PSC is completely acceptable in Belgium. At Access Financial we offer a PSC service that ensures your company is registered on the Belgian BCE commercial register and you are able to work legally through your company.
WHAT STEPS DO I NEED TO TAKE TO BE COMPLIANT?
When you partner with Access Financial your only obligation for compliance is ensuring you register with the local town hall. We handle all taxation registrations and filing.
CAN I PAY MY TAXES BACK AT HOME BECAUSE MY STAY IS LESS THAN 183 DAYS?
If you live in Belgium for less than six months (183 days) you need only pay tax on your Belgian income earned in Belgium. This includes any rents or capital gains. If you stay for longer than 183 days then you will have to pay Belgian income tax on your worldwide income.
WHAT IS THE BEST SOLUTION FOR MY CIRCUMSTANCES?
Every contractor has their own individual circumstances and these impact on the solution which suits their needs. At Access Financial we offer local employment, self-employed, personal service company, and even a hybrid solution for contractors in Belgium. Our customer service team can discuss your options with you and find the solution which is best for your business.
I’M A NON-EU NATIONAL – HOW DOES EMPLOYMENT IN BELGIUM WORK FOR ME?
Non-EU/EFTA nationals can only work in Belgium as employees, through a local employment solution.
If you want to find out more about contracting in Belgium, please contact one of our Access Financial sales consultants:
Belgium +32 28081505
London +44 20 7017 3110
Cyprus +357 25 820 640 / +357 25 820 641
Luxembourg + 352 62 1677 847
Or email us firstname.lastname@example.org