Belgium: Tax measures in budget 2015, 2016 agreements

Belgium: Tax measures in budget 2015, 2016 agreements

The Belgian government announced that it has reached an agreement on the budgets 2015 and 2016 and on the implementation of the “tax shift.” Most measures would be effective 1 January 2016, with the expectation that Parliament would pass these measures before the end of the year.

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Tax, social security reductions

The following summarizes the reductions of taxes and social security contributions:

  • Employer social security contributions would be reduced from the current rate of 33% to 25%. 
  • Small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) with a maximum of six employees would not pay social security contributions for the first employee. 
  • Self-employed individuals would only pay social security contributions on the first bracket of their business income at a rate of 20.5% (instead of 22%).
  • The individual income tax rate would be reduced, to benefit low and medium wages; there would be changes to the tax-free sum, repeal of the individual tax bracket of 30% and an increase of the lower threshold of the individual tax bracket of 45%, and an increase of the lump-sum deduction of business expenses.

Tax increases

The following taxes would be increased or introduced: 

  • An increase in the rate of excise tax (duties) imposed alcohol, tobacco and diesel beginning 1 November 2015
  • A new tax on soda drinks (sugary drinks, light drinks and drinks without sugar), and possible extension of this tax on other “other unhealthy food” in the future
  • Withholding tax on “movable income” (interest, dividends) to increase to 27%, up from 25%, effective 1 January 2016 (but no changes expected for the “classical savings deposits”)
  • Introduction of a capital gains tax at a rate of 33% on stock-market quoted shares realized within six months (no “compensation” for capital losses)
  • Introduction of a new round of fiscal regularization


Read an October 2015 report prepared by the KPMG member firm in Belgium: Tax shift and budgets for 2015 and 2016 agreed upon by Belgian government

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