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Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Filing a Belgian non-resident income tax return for the very first time? Register before 1 June 2020!

Individuals receiving income taxable in Belgium but who do not qualify as Belgian tax residents, are in principle required to file a so-called Belgian non-resident income tax return.

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 a tax return. The content and the taxable basis will differ, but the tax form to be filed is the same.

The due date for the filing of this tax return is usually in the month of November or December of the year following the income year.

Non-residents filing this Belgian non-resident income tax return for the first time have to register at the FPS Finances using a registration form in order to receive their first Belgian non-resident income tax declaration form. Up until recently, it was not clear when this registration ultimately had to take place.

The Belgian Court of Cassation now recently ruled (on 13 February 2020) that this registration should take place ultimately on 1 June of the tax year irrespective of whether the non-resident tax return form is at that time already published in the Belgian Official Gazette or not.

For example: a non-resident who started working in Belgium in 2019 should thus register at the FPS Finances ultimately on 1 June 2020.

Based on this decision, in case of a belatedly submitted tax return due to a late registration (after 1 June), the Belgian tax administration can in principle make a so-called ex officio assessment. In this case, the administration makes an assessment on the amount of the taxable income which it suspects on the basis of the data at its disposal. The burden of proof of the correctness of the taxable income then shifts to the hands of the taxpayer himself.

Note that Belgian non-residents benefiting from the special expat status are in principle not required to register. Once the request for the expat tax regime is submitted, the Belgian tax authorities in principle dispose of all the information required and a non-resident income tax return is then automatically sent to the expat.

For other Belgian non-resident individuals who received income taxable in Belgium in 2019 for the very first time, it is thus important to ensure a timely registration at the FPS Finances before 1 June 2020.

We are happy to assist you in this regard!

Katrien Bollen- Senior Associate (

Laurine Vanherck - Associate (

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