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Julie Permeke

Julie Permeke is a partner in the Tax Practice Group of the Brussels office. She joined Baker McKenzie in 2016 after several years of experience as a tax lawyer in other well reputed Benelux law firms. She also works as a voluntary researcher in the tax department of the Free University of Brussels (VUB). Julie has been listed as a recommended tax lawyer in Legal 500.

Anti-dumping and anti-subsidy rules are a powerful tools that Belgian/EU goods manufacturers can employ to support their business. Anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures take the form of additional import duties that are due on competing imported goods. These duties, which are in force for an average of 12 years and are at an average level of 30%, reduce the import volume of imported goods by an average of 85%. They thus significantly reshape markets for prolonged periods.

In this webinar session, we discussed the latest audit trends and focus areas of the cell for large enterprises, the Transfer pricing cell and the Special tax investigation office (e.g., tax treatment of reorganizations, EBITDA 30%-rule, group contribution, transfer pricing implications of financial transactions, hard-to-value intangibles, etc). We analyzed the triggers leading to a tax audit and best practices on how to best handle a tax audit. Finally, we looked ahead and discussed the impact of new regimes, such as CFC, Pillar two, the public CbCR, and multilateral tax audits.

EU flag in front of parliament

At the end of last year, the Belgian Parliament adopted a new Program law, which includes new rules on the controlled foreign company regime in Belgium applicable as of tax assessment year 2024.
In this webinar, we briefly explain the new rules, how they will impact you, and what the remaining uncertainties are.

On 24 May 2023, the Belgian Data Protection Authority (DPA), the authority responsible for enforcing the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation in Belgium, issued a major decision (“Decision”) concerning information exchanges pursuant to the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The Decision declares the information reporting required of the Belgian tax authority and Belgian financial institutions under FATCA to be unlawful because it violates the privacy rights and protections afforded to Belgian residents under the GDPR, as well as the rights to a private life and protections of personal information guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

At the beginning of this year, the European Parliament proposed certain amendments with respect to the EU initiative to target so-called “shell” entities (i.e., entities which are considered to be devoid of economic substance). The European Commission published already in 2021 a proposal for an EU Directive intended to neutralize the misuse of such shell entities in the EU for tax purposes (also known as “ATAD 3” or “Unshell Directive”). The tax world raised, however, a lot of concerns regarding this initiative and such in particular in light of the many uncertainties on how to interpret the proposed text.

Since the decisions of the European Court of Justice in the so-called “Danish cases”, passive income streams are being scrutinized more than ever across Europe. This is not different in Belgium, where we have seen a substantial increase in tax audits focusing on passive income streams where withholding tax is being claimed also in the framework of business-driven structures.

Various new corporate income tax measures entered into force in Belgium as of 1 January 2023, the most impactful being a temporary increase of the minimum corporate tax base under the so-called “basket rule”. This measure will be in force until the European Minimum Tax Directive (Pillar Two) is implemented into Belgian legislation and takes effect (in principle as of 1 January 2024).

On 8 December 2022, the Court of Justice of the EU rendered its first judgment with respect to the EU directive n° 2018/822 of 25 May 2018, i.e., DAC 6. The CJEU ruled that the legal obligation for a lawyer-intermediary, subject to legal professional privilege, to inform other intermediaries is invalid in light of the right to privacy, as protected by Article 7 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

As a follow-up on the second Action Plan for the fight against social and tax fraud, a bill was recently submitted to the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, which contains a number of relevant tax controversy measures. Amongst the main measures is a significant extension of the tax investigation and assessment periods for income taxes and VAT. Overall, the bill significantly extends the powers of the Belgian tax authorities and limits to a certain extent the taxpayer’s procedural rights.