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A beginner's guide to Belgian income tax

If this is the first time you file a tax return, here are a few things you need to know

The big brown envelope

The first time, you will receive a brown envelope with a tax return and some documents to help you file. You can file on paper or online. Four out of five taxpayers file online, but there are still a million of us who prefer to file paper tax returns.

In Belgium married couples and registered partners file jointly but they are taxed separately on the same tax bill.

In your tax return, you declare your income. You don’t report your wealth. If you have overseas bank accounts or insurance policies, all you do is tick a box. You don’t have to give any information about those. Don’t be fooled, the tax man will find out about those soon enough.

You don’t have to calculate the tax yourself and you don’t have to pay the tax immediately or enclose a cheque. This is because most tax is deducted at source; your employer pays your salary net of taxes and social security. And tax is deducted from pensions.

The tax withheld at source will normally cover the tax However, you still have to declare all your income, and the tax bill will show whether you get any tax back. That may be the case if:

  • you have a mortgage,
  • you pay your cleaner with titres services / dienstencheques
  • you have made some donations,
  • you pay alimony or child support,
  • you pay childcare,
  • or you put some money aside for pension saving,

And if you have any savings, the bank deducts the tax “at source”; you don’t have to declare the dividends or interest. However, if you have savings with an overseas bank abroad, you must report the income, and maybe some capital gains.

If you file in time, the tax bill will be sent to you a few months later, at the latest on 30 June 2018. You have two months to pay the bill; if the bill shows a reimbursement, that will come two months later as well.

If you want to calculate how much tax you will have to pay, you can calculate the tax anonymously on Taxcalc.

Categories:   Administration

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