A simple story: you live with your family outside Belgium, and for some reason need to file a Belgian non-resident tax return in Belgium. How difficult can this be?
You looked up all required documents and prepared all data to be put in the tax form. And then an unexpected problem arises: you do not get a tax form from the Belgian authorities.
Much publicity is made by the authorities for their superb electronic data platforms (Myminfin and Tax-on-Web). However, to be able to login to the sites, you need a Belgian electronic ID card and the PIN code, provided by a Belgian commune. You can also use the banking app ITSME to get access to the platforms. If you are married or legal co-habitant, each partner must be able to get access.
In case you have no address in Belgium, just like most other non-residents, the task at hand suddenly turns into a huge challenge. This is caused by the simple fact that you have no Belgian E-ID card and do not use the Belgian ITSME app. It then becomes an almost impossible task to gain access to these important tools.
You may consider to get in touch with a Belgian tax advisor or accountant to assist you with the tax filing. This may not help you much further. To be able to provide an electronic proxy to these professionals you again need….. the same E-ID or ITSME app.
The tax authorities point out that there is an alternative method to get access to their precious electronic tools: you can make an appointment with a Belgian commune to visit the town hall, where they will kindly provide you with the access tools. This is of course most friendly of them, but it will cost you all the time and effort to come over to Belgium…. with your partner, because you may need to file a joint tax return (to be signed by both).
After getting desperate, you can always try to get in touch with the foreign tax office. These people are dealing with a substantial workload, likely to be caused by a host of other taxpayers, all doing their very best to obtain a tax form with a fast approaching filing deadline. At last, a paper tax form will be sent to you by regular mail at your foreign home address. Do not get worried if it takes several weeks (!!!) before the form will actually arive in your mailbox at home. This form is only available in Dutch and French language, so this may be very hard to understand and complete. No English translation of the form is available.
Last but not least, the tax authorities have determined an earlier deadline for filing paper tax returns: 2 November 2021 instead of the longer deadline for electronic forms: 2 December 2021.
And so it becomes apparent that filing a tax form for a nonresident taxpayer is one of the most difficult and frustrating tasks in this world to be dealt with.
This problem is dragging on for a number of years. To solve it, a simple system should be created to enable non-residents to get identified and to register with the Belgian tax authorities so that they can request and file tax returns. This does not seem to be difficult at first look, but for many years this appears to be an impossible challenge for the government ICT specialists.