Article

24.01.2018

Benefit in kind is a taxable benefit!

A benefit in kind is a benefit granted by an employer to an employee free of charge or at a low price. Examples include a laptop, mobile phone or company car. The employer and the employee must pay tax on the amount corresponding to the value of the benefit in kind.

How are employers taxed when they provide a company car?

Employers are taxed when they provide a company car that can be used for private purposes. This is done in the form of an additional non-deductible expense and amounts to:

  • 40% of the benefit in kind if the employer contributes (partly) to the fuel costs and the employees can use their leasing vehicle for private purposes.
  • 17% of the benefit in kind if the employer doesn't contribute to fuel costs.

The total ‘theoretical’ benefit in kind serves as calculation base for the additional non-deductible expenses. An eventual own contribution of the driver cannot be deducted. The additional non-deductible expense is added to the non-deductible expense that arises from the deduction restriction on the vehicle costs (in terms of the CO2 emissions, a minimum of 60% and a maximum of 120% of the costs of a lease car can be deducted from the taxable amount).

The increase in non-deductible costs for the employer results in an increase in the taxable amount. The company therefore pays more corporation tax. The effective cost is calculated as follows:

17% or 40% x benefit in kind x 33.99% (corporation tax at the standard rate)

How are employees taxed when they drive a company car that they use for both work and private purposes?

If you have a company car that you use both for professional and private purposes (including commuting to and from work), you are enjoying a taxable benefit. Your employer declares this benefit on your payslip under 281.10 or 281.20.

The benefit can never be less than EUR 1.280,00 per year (2017 income – 2018 tax year). If you pay a monthly own contribution to your employer for the private use of your company car, this contribution will be deducted from the taxable benefit. You can deduct a one-off own contribution from your personal income tax. The taxable benefit is calculated annually using the following formula:

age-based percentage x list value of the vehicle x 6/7 x CO2 percentage

  • Age of the vehicle 

The age of the vehicle is taken into account when calculating the benefit in kind. The older the vehicle, the lower the benefit in kind. The list value is multiplied by a percentage that takes into account the time that has elapsed from the date of initial registration of the vehicle. 

Time elapsed since the initial registration of the vehicle (a month that has already commenced counts as a full month)

Percentage by which the list value is multiplied

From 0 to 12 months

100%

From 13 to 24 months

94%

From 25 to 36 months

88%

From 37 to 48 months

82%

From 49 to 60 months

76%

From 61 months

70%

  • List value of the vehicle

The list value is the actual list price of the new vehicle including all optional extras when sold to a private individual plus the VAT actually paid. Discounts and bonuses are not taken into account. A figure of 6/7 of the catalogue value is taken into account when making the calculation.

  • CO2 emissions of the vehicle

The basic CO2 percentage is 5.5%.
If your company car's emissions exceed the reference emissions level*, the basic percentage is increased by 0.1% per gram of CO2 up to a maximum of 18%.

If your company car's emissions are lower than the reference emissions level*, the basic percentage is reduced by 0.1% per gram of CO2 down to a minimum of 4%.

* The reference CO2 emission level for vehicles with a petrol, LPG or CNG engine is 105 g/km (for the 2017 calendar year). The reference CO2 emission level for vehicles with a diesel engine is 87 g/km (for the 2017 calendar year).

Source: Arval
Article

24.10.2016

Kilometervergoeding voor elektrische fiets niet altijd fiscaal vrijgesteld

Werknemers die met de fiets naar het werk rijden, kunnen een fietsvergoeding krijgen tot 22 eurocent per kilometer. De regeling geldt in principe ook voor elektrische fietsen. Sommige modellen zoals de speed pedelec, vallen echter uit de boot.

De elektrische fiets wint terrein: ruim één op vier verkochte tweewielers is een elektrisch exemplaar.  Steeds meer mensen gebruiken hun fiets ook om te pendelen. Werkgevers kunnen hun fietsende medewerkers een fietsvergoeding uitbetalen. Tot 0,22 EUR per kilometer is die vergoeding fiscaal onbelast. Het moet dan wel gaan om een “klassieke” elektrische fiets:

  • met een maximumsnelheid van 25 km/u;
  • met een motor van maximum 250 watt;
  • met trapondersteuning, wat betekent dat de fietser ook moet trappen, er mag dus geen sprake zijn van een autonome motor.

Niet voor speed-pedelecs

Die voordelige regeling geldt dus niet voor speed pedelecs, zeg maar de Formule 1-versie van de elektrische fiets. Speed pedelecs kunnen snelheden tot 45 km/u halen. Sinds 1 oktober moeten bestuurders daarom een helm, rijbewijs en verzekering hebben.

Voor alle duidelijkheid: pendelaars die gebruik maken van een speed pedelec kunnen wel degelijk een kilometervergoeding krijgen van hun baas. Maar die uitkering wordt dan wel  beschouwd als een belastbaar inkomen. De werknemer zal dus zowel RSZ als bedrijfsvoorheffing moeten betalen. Op die regel bestaat één uitzondering: medewerkers die kiezen voor een forfaitaire aftrek van hun beroepskosten. Zij hebben recht op een fiscale vrijstelling van maximum 380 EUR.

Wat met bedrijfsfietsen?

Werkgevers kunnen hun medewerkers een fiets ook ter beschikking stellen. Alle kosten die daaruit voortvloeien, onder andere het onderhoud, zijn vrijgesteld van belastingen. Voorwaarde is dat de medewerker de fiets daadwerkelijk gebruikt voor zijn woon-werkverkeer, al zijn zuivere privé-verplaatsingen ook toegestaan. Deze regeling geldt alleen voor de klassieke elektrische fietsen. Speed pedelecs vallen (opnieuw) niet onder deze fiscale vrijstelling.

(Bron: Partena)
Article

11.12.2016

Why is the European Justice sounding the death knell on "fairness tax"?

The Advocate General of the Court of Justice rules that the "Fairness Tax" contradicts European tax rules. What is the impact on Belgian companies and the State budget?

Since the 2014 tax year, national companies and Belgian subsidiaries of foreign companies have been subject to fairness tax (or "fairness tax"). Introduced by the Di Rupo government, this separate contribution of 5.15% is applied to the distribution of dividends which are not subject to the normal rate of corporation tax. At issue here is the application of the deduction of deferred tax losses or deductions for venture capital.

What is at stake?

When it was introduced, the government wanted to subject companies who paid little or no tax to a minimum tax, by using tax deduction mechanisms. Issue: when this tax was introduced, questions were raised about the compatibility of the legislation with tax law in the European Union.

In February 2014, the Belgian subsidiary of Fortum Project Finance (Finnish company) brought an appeal against this tax before the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court asked the European Court of Justice three questions:

  • Does the fairness tax constitute a withholding tax prohibited by the parent-subsidiary European directive?
  • Do dividends collected by Belgian companies not exempted in Belgium contravene the directive?
  • Does the different treatment of Belgian companies and Belgian subsidiaries of foreign companies contravene the freedom of establishment in the European Union?

A compatible... but problematic tax

The European Court of Justice finally gave its verdict, but the opinion still needs to be qualified in certain respects. The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice in effect deemed the fairness tax "contrary to European regulations", but he considered the measure to be compatible with the principle of free establishment laid down in the texts and treaties. The problem resides precisely around the directive governing parent companies and their subsidiaries in Belgium, the objective of which is an exemption from withholding tax (under certain conditions) for dividends paid by subsidiaries to parent companies, which the fairness tax calls into question.

A highly political issue too

"A skeleton comes out of the closet", commented the Minister of Finance Van Overtveldt after the opinion of the Advocate General. For him, the consequences could be enormous, particularly from a budgetary point of view, without so far giving the slightest indication of these. He added that he has "always had many doubts" about this tax, "a doubt confirmed by the Court." The government has stated that it is currently leaning towards a reform of corporation tax, in a tense atmosphere between the partners of the current majority, particularly to make "this tax fairer for SMEs."

The Socialist Party, for its part, continues to defend this minimal tax through thick and thin. The leader of the Socialist Group in the Chamber of Representatives, Laurette Onkelinkx, in L'Avenir, suspects that the Minister is benefitting from a "technical remark from the Advocate General to give a tax break to the multinationals" and that "this minimum tax should be maintained, (...) a matter of fiscal justice and decency with regard to the efforts required by the population."

Article

13.02.2017

Les conséquences de la taxe douanière américaine

Analyse de Koen De Leus, Chief Economist chez BNP Paribas Fortis.

Au lieu de taxer les entreprises sur la différence entre les revenus et les coûts globaux, les Etats-Unis souhaitent opter pour une taxe portant uniquement sur la différence entre les revenus et les coûts domestiques. Vu que tous les biens consommés aux Etats-Unis n’y sont pas produits, et que tous les biens qui y sont produits n’y sont pas nécessairement consommés, les chiffres nécessitent une correction. Il s’agit de la taxe douanière. Les importateurs paient une taxe de 20% sur les revenus réalisés aux Etats-Unis. Les exportateurs reçoivent un subside de 20% sur les produits exportés. Ce subside est nécessaire pour éviter de pénaliser les exportateurs. Vraiment ?

A première vue, on pourrait qualifier ce système de double protectionnisme : vous augmentez le coût des importations et vous baissez celui des exportations. Mais ce système ne tient pas compte de la probable évolution des taux de change, estime l’agence de recherche BCA. Imaginez que seule une taxe à l’importation soit appliquée : cela réduirait les importations, ainsi que la demande en devises étrangères. Le cours de change de ces devises baisserait et compenserait la taxe. La hausse du dollar aurait ainsi un impact négatif sur les exportations, avec comme conséquence une hausse du déficit de la balance commerciale. Pour éviter ce problème, on introduit parallèlement un subside à l’exportation. Le dollar augmente à un niveau qui ne touche ni les exportations ni les importations. Du moins en théorie.

Dans ce cas, quel est l’avantage d’une telle taxe douanière ? Elle augmenterait sensiblement l’impôt sur le revenu aux Etats-Unis. Aujourd’hui, de nombreuses sociétés internationales évitent de payer des impôts aux Etats-Unis. Les importateurs surestiment la valeur de leurs importations, et les exportateurs sous-estiment celle des exportations. Les importateurs comme Wal-Mart pourront encore surévaluer le prix de leurs importations, mais devront payer une taxe à l’importation. Idem pour les exportateurs comme General Electric. Et vu que le déficit de la balance commerciale américaine se monte à 500 milliards de dollars, la taxe douanière rapporterait 100 milliards de dollars. C’est un montant important comparé aux 350 milliards de dollars d’impôt des sociétés aujourd’hui perçu par le Trésor public, et qui permet de réduire considérablement cette taxe sans perte de revenus.

La question est bien entendu de savoir dans quelle mesure une telle taxe entraînerait une hausse du dollar. Si cette hausse est lente, les importateurs souffriront beaucoup, et les exportateurs seront les grands gagnants. Si le dollar augmente trop rapidement, cela comblera peut-être l’impact de la taxe douanière. La plupart des économistes penchent plutôt pour le premier scénario. Dans ce cas, la facture sera payée par les Américains les moins nantis et les importateurs. Il s’agit surtout de ceux qui consacrent proportionnellement une plus grande partie de leurs revenus à l’achat de biens importés par les grandes chaînes de magasins.

Les principales conclusions de Koen De Leus sont les suivantes :

  • En cas de taxe douanière, le dollar va continuer à remonter.
  • Bien qu’une telle taxe puisse se justifier sur base de considérations macro-économiques, elle sera considérée comme du protectionnisme d’un point de vue politique, et pourrait de ce fait créer un dangereux précédent.
  • Comme les grands exportateurs sont aussi importateurs, cette taxe pèsera sur les grandes chaînes de distribution. Pour Peter Navarro, le patron du nouveau « White House National Trade Council », c’est aussi effectivement l’objectif de l’administration Trump.

Si les Etats-Unis réduisent l’impôt des sociétés, la Belgique se retrouvera en première position d’un nouveau classement : celui du pays occidental dont l’impôt des sociétés est le plus élevé.

(Source : Economic Express Koen De Leus)

Article

06.03.2017

The crowdfunding law: what has changed in Belgium

New rules on crowdfunding entered into force on 1 February 2017. What is the framework and what does it mean for investments?

New rules on crowdfunding entered into force on 1 February 2017. The law passed in December by the Parliament now regulates the legal status of crowdfunding platforms and how they function.

"Crowdfunding is a type of participative financing that consists of requesting private investment to gather funds to finance a specific project through an internet platform."

In Belgium, in addition to direct investment, a tax reduction will be granted for any financing for an SME starting up, starter funds or financing vehicle. However the law does attach several conditions. For example, it is only possible to invest in companies founded less than four years ago. The investment must be made for a period of four years. The SME may only raise EUR 250,000 this way. Finally, each individual or entity may only invest a maximum of EUR 100,000 per year.  

The Minister for SMEs, Willy Borsus, points out that SMEs make up the "backbone" of the economy, as they account for 99.2% of companies: "It is crucial to invest in these young companies, in these starters, and to support this type of system that is an addition to more traditional financial services."

Platforms may request authorisation

Since 1 February, platforms wishing to set up in crowdfunding have been able to lodge an authorisation request with the FSMA. Alexander De Croo, the Minister for the Digital Agenda, believes that with the authorisation of alternative financing platforms, "the system is now complete."

In concrete terms, a tax reduction is now granted for investments in the capital of a young SME of up to 45% for microbusinesses (10 employees per year and EUR 700,000 annual turnover) and 30% for SMEs.

The four ways to invest are:

  • Direct investment in a target company (in stocks or shares, which has already applied since 1 July 2015);
  • Investment in a target company through marketing on a platform (here, the investor is a direct shareholder in the company);
  • Investment in a financing vehicle that then invests in a target company through a platform (the investor isn't a shareholder in the company, it is the 'vehicle' that remains the shareholder);
  • Finally, investment in a starter fund that then invests in several companies (with risk spreading).
   

All the details are available on the FSMA website

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