Tax litigation

The tax procedure in Belgium has several stages, with each stage having its own deadlines and formalities. It is therefore best to be assisted from the start so that we can determine the best approach with you and avoid any unpleasant tax surprises.

1. The tax return

The tax procedure starts with a tax return. To start with, it is therefore important to know whether you have to file a tax return in Belgium and if so, what specifically needs to be declared. For companies operating internationally, this is where things often go wrong, as foreign companies sometimes incorrectly assume that they do not have to file a tax return in Belgium. For example, we see in practice that foreign companies that have performed work or provided services in Belgium that do not give rise to a permanent establishment under the applicable double tax treaty, often forget or are not aware of the fact that a so-called “Belgian establishment” may still exist in that case, as a result of which a nil return must still be filed in Belgium.

2. Investigation

Companies that operate internationally increasingly come within sight of the tax authorities, leading to discussions about permanent establishments, transfer prices, personnel, VAT, etc. Indeed, the tax authorities are allowed to check your tax situation within certain investigation periods. For this purpose, the tax authorities have various investigation powers, whereby in an international context they mainly use a request for information addressed to your company or your Belgian clients.

If your company filed a tax return in Belgium or thought that no tax return had to be filed, you may suddenly be surprised by such a request for information from the Belgian tax authorities. To avoid paying unjustified taxes or fines in Belgium, it is important that you respond to this request for information in a timely and well-formulated manner. After all, in many cases the issue can already be resolved in consultation with the tax authorities at this stage.

3. Ex officio assessment or amendment of the tax return

If the Belgian tax authorities do not agree with your point of view and are of the opinion that certain income had to be declared in Belgium after all, an ex officio notice of assessment (if no tax return has been filed) or a notice of amendment may follow in which the tax authorities amend the tax return (if a tax return has been filed). You can then oppose this by declaring your disagreement.

4. Objection

If the Belgian tax authorities maintain their position, they will determine the tax and issue the assessment based on the amended information. You can then lodge an official objection. At this stage, you are entitled to consult the administrative file and to have a discussion with the tax authorities. Even at this stage, an amicable settlement is still among the possible solutions.

5. Judicial procedure

If the objection is rejected, the only remaining option is to go to court. In the judicial procedure, it is no longer the tax authorities themselves who decide on the merits of your objections, but an impartial judge will decide on your case. Judicial proceedings should be initiated at the Court of First Instance. If your company or the tax authorities do not agree with the judgment of the Court of First Instance, you can still appeal the judgment.

Do not wait until it is too late and seek assistance from the very beginning. After all, tax proceedings are a technical matter that already starts with the tax return. Our tax lawyers expertly defend you in disputes about direct and indirect taxes and other tax-related matters as soon as a possible dispute arises. After all, many tax disputes can already be resolved in the administrative phase without the intervention of a judge. We will always try to reach an amicable solution with the tax authorities. However, if this is not possible, we can defend your case in court.

Tax litigation | Euregio Law & Tax