For the first time, Belgium has introduced a tax on wealth: the tax is due on securities accounts, held by individuals. The tax becomes applicable for accounts with a value in excess of €500,000 per account holder (so of €1,000,000 for married couples and registered partners). The tax is calculated on the amount invested on the account, regardless of the actual return. For Belgian resident tax payers, the tax is applicable on Belgian and on foreign accounts (for non-residents only Belgian securities accounts are subject to tax).
Who is an account holder: full owners, co-owners, bare owner and usufructuary of a securities account all are treated as ‘account holder’ for the levy of the tax. Proxy holders are not considered as account holders for the tax.
Taxable basis: not all invested funds are subject to the tax. Only the following financial instruments are taken into account to determine the threshold of €500,000 and to calculate the tax:
Exempt are for example, savings accounts, term deposit accounts, stock options or investments held in an insurance wrapper or in a pension savings accounts, cash amounts, commodities, etc….
The tax is calculated at 0,15% of the average value invested on the accounts (not just on the balance exceeding €500,000).
Belgian banks automatically report the values of the securities and the tax due per account holder, but only IF the value per accountholder is over €500,000.
In the case that the account holder has more than one Belgian securities account (less then €500,000) while the total value of all the Belgian and foreign accounts exceeds the threshold of €500,000, he can authorise Belgian banks to deduct and pay the tax (‘Opt-in’ clause), or select to report the tax in a separate tax return. Opting-in, however, is often not possible for foreign accounts (except if they appointed a Belgian responsible representative).
If a tax return is required for the new tax, the account holder will have to report the value of his securities accounts online before the deadline of his regular annual income tax return, and pay the tax according to the instructions of the authorities (in most cases, the payment deadline will be 31 August 2019).
Author: Jan Coupé