Expats

Foreign executives, or expats, working temporarily in Belgium for a Belgian company or for a Belgian establishment of a foreign company enjoy a special tax treatment in Belgium, namely the expat regime. The expat regime applies to two categories of taxpayers, employees and company executives on the one hand (the “incoming taxpayer”) and employees employed as researchers on the other hand (the “incoming researcher”).

Conditions

To benefit from the expat status, a number of conditions must be met. Both incoming taxpayers and incoming researchers are required to

    • have not been a resident of Belgium
    • nor have resided within 150 kilometres of the border
    • nor have been subject to taxation of non-residents (natural persons) for professional income in Belgium

In addition, the requirement for incoming taxpayers is that the gross annual salary must amount to at least €75,000 for services rendered in Belgium. This income condition does not apply to incoming researchers, but they must hold a qualifying master’s degree or have at least 10 years of relevant professional experience. Moreover, they must be active within a research position in the company for at least 80% of their working time.

Procedure

The expat status must be requested electronically by the employer from the FPS Finance. This application should be made within 3 months of the commencement of the employment of the expat in Belgium.

If the application is approved, the expat status can be applied for a maximum of 5 years, with the possibility of a one-time extension of 3 years.

Advantages

The special status has a number of tax advantages, namely:

    • The incoming employee or researcher can enjoy an allowance of up to 30% of his annual gross remuneration in the form of expenses proper to the employer. This allowance is capped at EUR 90,000 per year. No supporting documents are required for this allowance.
    • Employers can additionally take charge of the following three types of additional expenses as costs proper to the employer, provided that supporting documents are available:
      • costs caused by moving to Belgium
      • costs related to furnishing the home in Belgium
      • schooling costs in Belgium for the children
    • The incoming taxpayer or researcher can invoke the double taxation treaties, as the new system also applies in personal income tax.

The NSSO also follows the view of the tax authorities so that these allowances are also free of social security contributions.

It is therefore very interesting to apply for expat status if you are eligible. Our lawyers are specialised in tax and labour law and can thus advise you on the conditions of expat status as well as guide you in applying for and possibly extending your or your employees’ expat status.

Expats | Euregio Law & Tax