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Belgium - Taxation

One of the drawbacks of living in Belgium is its very high tax rates. Tax, social security contributions and other deductions often amount in total to more than half of an employee's monthly salary.

Foreign nationals who are living in Belgium will normally be required to pay tax in Belgium on their income from employment or other sources. There are certain exemptions for people working temporarily in Belgium for relatively short periods.

Tax rates are set on a sliding scale according to income, and are currently between 25% and 50% of salary after social security deductions. The highest rate is payable for anyone earning more than EUR30,210. Individuals are allowed to earn up to EUR5,660 tax free, with additional exemptions for spouses and children. There are also exemptions for professional expenses, usually to a maximum of EUR3,050.

Other types of tax payable include property tax, gift tax and succession duty. Property tax, payable by Belgian homeowners, is usually around 6%, but varies by locality.

The Belgian tax year is from 1st January to 31st December, and tax returns are sent out during April to be submitted by a specified date, usually within two months.

VAT is 21% on most goods and services, with a reduced rate of 6% on some items including food and transport costs.

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