17 Mai 2018
The modification of the way to value the fringe benefit resulting from the gratuitous disposal of an immovable property (house, apartment,studio) could impact the Belgian taxes some expatriates will have to pay.
The ones having purchased their house, apartment while transferred in Belgium on the basis of a gross remuneration.
As this valuation is used to compute one element of the amount of non taxable "indemnities", more specifically the housing allowance, and leads now to a lower amount of this allowance.
A new computation of the non taxable indemnities must be done to check if this change in fact impact the taxes. Will this new method of valuation ( May 15th, 2018 Circular of the Belgian tax administration ) change the fringe benefit amount (and the way to compute the housing allowance as well) to report for the 2017 income year ? We may support (and the administration will support) this new way of valuation applies to the current situation meaning the 2017 income year. Indeed as the salary fiches 281.10 or 281.20 for the 2017 income year must have been issued on or before March 2018 they have to be adapted accordingly. Applying this May 15th Circular on the fringe benefit of the 2017 income year does not trigger a "retroactive" effect as it was published May 2018 while the salary fiches for the 2017 income year must have been issued March 2018 at the latest. We are still in the same (2018) year. So this new way of valuation of the fringe benefit resulting from the gratuitous disposal of an house or apartment will apply for the computation of the housing allowance and taxable basis when filing the 2017 income year tax returns of the expatriates owners of their house or apartment.
As a conclusion we can say that (1) some expatriates benefiting from the gratuitous disposal of an house could see a decrease of their taxes, (2) some expatriates owning their house could see and increase in their taxes while (3) definitely the Belgian residents will see a decrease of their taxes.
Stephen G Hürner