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Thursday, 17 December 2015

Is a non-resident required to file a so-called "exit-tax" declaration when he or she leaves Belgium?

B. Lievens

There are misunderstandings about when to file your non-resident tax declaration if you leave Belgium.

Recently, it has been that time of year when non-residents have to file their yearly income tax declaration. Non-residents come in different types (living in Belgium or not living in Belgium; benefiting from the special tax status or not,…) but they all must fill in and file the same tax declaration. The content and the taxable basis will differ according to the personal situation, but the tax declaration to be filed itself remains the same.

This short article focuses on when to file your non-resident income tax declaration (either as a paper version or using the Tax-on-Web online tool), and, more specifically, on when it should be filed if you have been living in Belgium and are now in the process of leaving the country.

In general, tax declarations must always be filed by a certain deadline. However, as you may know, sometimes an extension may be granted if special circumstances have occurred.

Specifically, for non-resident tax declarations, the deadline for filing the tax declaration for the 2014 income was 26 November 2015 (for both the paper version and the Tax-on-Web online tool). 

The question arises about which filing obligations non-residents have when they live in Belgium and their tax file “ends”. For example, suppose you have lived in Belgium for a number of years as an “expat” and qualified as a non-resident. You then decide to move again and so are leaving Belgium. Some people have heard of the so-called “exit-tax declaration” and believe they have to file it… Is this true?

The “exit-tax declaration” is a special tax declaration in which a taxpayer declares the income earned from January until the date of departure. Such an “exit-tax declaration” must be filed within the first three months following the person’s departure from Belgium. In this situation, the taxpayer should not wait for the normal tax return period to file his or her income tax declaration.

Such an obligation to file an exit-tax declaration applies to Belgian tax residents who leave Belgium before 31 December of the same year. Please note that this rule, however, does not apply to non-residents. 

Non-residents continue to fall under the general rule of a “normal” annual tax declaration, which must be filed around October-November, even when they leave Belgium before 31 December of that same year!

These rules can be illustrated as follows. If you are a:
-    tax resident and you have left Belgium by 30 September 2015, then you must file an exit-tax declaration covering the January 2015 to September 2015 period by 30 December 2015;
-    tax non-resident who left Belgium by 30 September 2015, then you must file a non-resident income tax declaration on your 2015 income by October-November 2016 (the exact date has yet to be determined).

If you would like more information on this issue, then please do not hesitate to contact our HR Tax team.

Brigitte Lievens - Counsel (


B. Lievens

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