Belgium: New law reflects CJEU judgment on dividends-received deduction

New law in Belgium

A law that implements into Belgian tax law a judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) was published in the Belgian official gazette on 28 December 2015. The Belgian income tax law has been changed to comply with the CJEU judgment that addressed the different treatment allowing resident companies to claim a dividends-received deduction (DRD) and to credit the withholding tax on dividends from participations below 10%, but above €1.2 million (at that time, currently €2.5 million) against Belgian corporate income tax, but not allowing a non-resident company to claim the same treatment.

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The new law implements the judgment of the CJEU in the Tate & Lyle case. The new law also extends the Belgian rules for companies resident in certain other countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA). A “movable” withholding tax rate of 1.6995% is introduced for Belgian-sourced dividends paid to qualifying foreign companies. [The rate of 1.6995% is the product of 5% (being the part of the dividend for which the DRD cannot be claimed) multiplied by the standard corporate tax rate (including additional crisis contribution) of 33.99%.]

Even before enactment of this implementation legislation, taxpayers could in principle file claims for refunds of excess withholding tax based on the CJEU judgment. In a circular letter of 28 June 2013, the Belgian tax authorities provided some guidelines for such claims.

 

Read a January 2016 report prepared by the KPMG member firm in Belgium: Law implementing Tate & Lyle judgment published in Belgian Official Gazette

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