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19 February 2021

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Belgian Parliament Adopts New Annual Securities Account Tax

The Belgian parliament adopted on 11 February 2021 the bill providing for the introduction of a new annual securities account tax, which will enter into force the day after it is published in the Official Gazette. As previously reported, the proposed tax is levied at a rate of 0.15% on the average value of taxable financial instruments in securities accounts held by resident and non-resident individuals, companies, and other legal entities where the average value is greater than EUR 1 million.

When applicable, the amount of the tax is limited to 10% of the difference between the taxable base and the threshold of EUR 1 million. Securities accounts held by financial undertakings, such as credit institutions, insurance companies, investment companies, brokerage firms, and pension funds or collective investment undertakings are exempt. Nominative securities are also excluded in general.

The reference period for the tax is the 12-month period from 1 October of a tax year to 30 September of the following year or:

  • An earlier date when an account is closed; or
  • The date an account holder becomes a resident of a tax treaty country and the tax treaty allocates the taxing rights to such treaty country.

In general, intermediaries are required to act as withholding agents to withhold, declare, and pay the tax due by the 20th day of the third month following the end of the reference period. In the case of foreign intermediaries, a Belgian representative may be appointed. If an account holder declares the tax themselves, payment is required by 31 August of the year following the reference period. Failing to declare or making an incorrect or incomplete declaration may result in penalties of 10% to 200% of the tax due.

Lastly, an anti-abuse provision is included to counter certain actions taken to avoid the tax, such as moving taxable financial instruments to multiple security accounts to avoid exceeding the EUR 1 million threshold, converting taxable financial instruments into non-taxable nominative securities, or transferring to foreign securities accounts, among others. The anti-abuse provision applies retroactively from 30 October 2020 unless a taxpayer can prove such actions were not taken to avoid the tax.

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