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Thursday, 27 October 2022

Breaking News - Constitutional Court’s decision on the annual tax on securities accounts (ATSA)

Dirk Coveliers

Dirk Coveliers

Counsel
Antwerp
Yannick Cools

Yannick Cools

Associate
Antwerp
Ellen Vandingenen

Ellen Vandingenen

Senior Associate
Antwerp
Bart De Cock

Bart De Cock

Partner
Ghent

This afternoon, the Belgian Constitutional Court has delivered its long-awaited judgment on the constitutionality of the annual tax on securities accounts introduced by the Act of February 17, 2021.

Already from the beginning, several objections could be raised concerning certain constitutional principles, for example regarding the principle of equal treatment (non-discrimination), the fiscal legality principle, the prohibition of double taxation (ne bis in idem principle) and some aspects of European law. 

A total of 7 separate annulment appeals were filed, causing a broad group of taxpayers to await with interest the outcome of the procedure before the Court. 

Although there was hope for several fundamental corrections to or even the annulment of the ATSA, the Court apparently sees far fewer problems regarding the ATSA. 

The Court decides (only?) to annul the specific anti-abuse provisions regarding the splitting of a securities account into several securities accounts held with the same financial intermediary and regarding the conversion of financial instruments held in a securities account into registered financial instruments. 

In addition, the Court also ruled that the retroactive effect of the general anti-abuse provision regarding the period prior to the entry into force of the law, i.e., from 30 October 2020 to 26 February 2021, was not permissible and should therefore be annulled. 

Given the Court's decision described here above, this implies that all other provisions of the ATSA remain legally valid with (for example) also the subjection of branch-23 life insurance contracts. 

As a result, the ATSA should therefore still be declared and paid for the 2022 reference period, which just ended at the end of September 2022. 

Of course, we remain at your disposal for further questions and/or comments. 

Dirk Coveliers (dirk.coveliers@tiberghien.com

Yannick Cools (yannick.cools@tiberghien.com)  

Ellen Vandingenen (ellen.vandingenen@tiberghien.com

Bart De Cock (bart.decock@tiberghien.com

Dirk Coveliers

Dirk Coveliers

Counsel
Antwerp
Yannick Cools

Yannick Cools

Associate
Antwerp
Ellen Vandingenen

Ellen Vandingenen

Senior Associate
Antwerp
Bart De Cock

Bart De Cock

Partner
Ghent
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