Just as social security differs from country to country, the tax and income system in Belgium is most probably not the same as what you are used to. Here we answer the top three questions when it comes to expat queries about paying taxes and salaries in Belgium.
Why is there such a difference between gross and net income?
The personal social security contributions of 13.07% along with income tax are deducted from your gross salary. The tax rate is progressive and will depend on your personal situation. If you are single and childless you will have to pay more taxes than if you have dependent children.
Why are employees paid a total of 14 times per year in Belgium?
In addition to the monthly payment of wages, employees who have worked all year receive an end-of-year bonus (13th month) equal to 100% of gross salary. For those who have not worked the full year, the bonus is pro-rated provided they have worked at least six months. In May/June, employees will also receive a premium (double holiday pay) which is equal to 92% of the gross salary. This premium is calculated and pro-rated on the number of days worked in the previous year in Belgium.
What do I need to do?
Regardless of earned income, everyone must complete and submit a tax return. Not doing so means a possible €50-€1,250 fine plus increased taxes. While most people receive a brown envelope containing the necessary forms, others receive a letter headed ‘a proposal of simplified declaration’ (proposition de déclaration simplifiée in French or voorstel van vereenvoudigde aangifte in Dutch). This will have a calculated amount of taxes you will have to pay or a refund that you will receive. Check it carefully! If by the beginning of June you haven’t received anything, contact your local tax office and ask them to send you a form. Contact your commune to find out details of your nearest tax office.
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