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Work Permits and Taxation in Belgium

Before you start working in Belgium, read this InterNations guide! We have all the info you need — from work permits and taxes to social security for expats. Find out: which permit you require, if you qualify for expatriate tax allowance, and which healthcare options are available!
Expats working in Belgium may require a visa and valid work permit.

The Steps to Getting a Work Permit

As previously mentioned, employers are responsible for sorting out the work permit situation for their foreign employees. The latter merely need to fill out the application form. They must also provide a medical certificate from a doctor approved by the Belgium embassy or consulate in the applicant’s country of residence. A signed work contract is required in support of the application as well.

However, people who already have a B Permit and would like to “upgrade” to an A Permit should take matters into their own hands. The forms to be filled out are available at the regional job centers: the FOREM for Wallonia, the VDAB for Flanders, the Arbeitsamt for the German community and the Ministère for the Brussels-Capital Region.

How to Pay Your Taxes

How you are taxed in Belgium depends on your residency status. Foreigners who qualify as Belgian residents are taxed on their entire income; those who don’t are only taxed on income arising from Belgian sources. Criteria for evaluating your residency status are your physical presence (registration) and/or the place where your assets are managed. If either of the above is in Belgium, you will be classified as a resident for tax purposes.

A special clause exists for those who are granted expatriate status by the tax authorities. They are entitled to a tax-free allowance to cover additional costs commonly associated with a temporary expat lifestyle. Expatriate allowances are capped at roughly 11,000 EUR per year, or 30,000 EUR in certain cases, i.e. for activities of a controlling or coordinating nature or for scientific research. Furthermore, expats who qualify under this scheme are treated as non-residents for tax purposes.

If you are liable to pay income tax in Belgium, you will be notified by your community’s tax authorities. Belgian residents have to file a tax return by 30 June each year for income earned during the previous calendar year. This can be done online via FPS Finance (French and Dutch).

Avoiding Double Taxation

EU nationals working in Belgium are protected against double taxation by EU treaties. However, regulations may differ slightly by member state.

Apart from that, Belgium has also concluded double taxation treaties with several countries outside the EU. You can download a complete list of taxation treaties from the FPS Finance website. These treaties guard citizens of both contract partners against double taxation, which might otherwise arise if the tax authority of the country of residence interferes with that of the “source” country.

 

We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Kelly Powell

"I loved moving to Brussels. But after a while I felt homesick. On InterNations I met a bunch of people from the US. That helped a lot."

Maria Lombardi

"You can really get lost in the "capital of Europe" - InterNations helped me to get settled and to make a lot of expat friends."

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