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The Belgian government adopted a bill which makes significant changes to the Belgian investment deduction regime that will take effect as of FY 2025. The changes will make this tax incentive significantly more attractive given the current economic environment and climate policies. In this webinar, we discussed the changes in the investment deduction regime that are relevant for your companies, with specific attention to the important new “thematic” investment deduction of 30% and the “technology” deduction that can go up to 20.5% of your investment cost.

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.

In this session, we covered the expected implications for VAT audits going forward and gave an overview of the expected areas of focus. VAT and customs often go hand in hand, hence we also covered customs audits and investigations which are very complex and are often difficult to handle for groups due to limited compliance resources in this field. We also took this opportunity to touch upon the difficulties faced by companies regarding the different sanction packages adopted by the EU Commission and uncovered what a typical trade investigation looks like and what the focus areas are. Finally, we provided recommendations on how to best avoid an adverse outcome by implementing quality control and monitoring procedures.

On 8 February 2024, the Belgian Parliament adopted an Act “containing various provisions regarding the Economy” (“Act”), the final text of which was published on 21 March 2024 in the Belgian Official Gazette.
Article 29 of the Act extends the list of information that is to be included in the pre-contractual information document (PID) as required under the Belgian Disclosure Act (“Belgian Disclosure Act”).
The aim of the PID is to function as a “red flag document” that alerts the counterparty to important contractual provisions prior to committing itself by signing a legally binding commercial cooperation agreement. The amendments to the Belgian Disclosure Act further specify the important contractual provisions that need to be included in the PID.

A new law introducing a banker’s oath and deontological regime for directors and certain bank employees was published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 15 January 2024.
The oath requires directors and certain bank employees to make an individual declaration, by which they undertake to respect, in the exercise of their professional activities, some important new deontological rules.

In a landmark decision rendered on 20 November 2023, the Antwerp Labour Court of Appeals ruled that no Belgian employee social security contributions are due in relation to equity-based compensation (RSUs in the case at hand) granted by a US parent company to employees of its Belgian subsidiary. In essence, the Court concluded that the RSUs under review were not granted in return for services provided by employees under their employment contract with and were neither borne by the Belgian subsidiary. Rather, the Court found that the RSUs were granted on the basis of an obligation undertaken by the US parent company towards the Belgian employee-beneficiaries with a view to binding these employees to the group on a long-term basis, with the US parent company also taking full financial and legal responsibility.

The Belgian Financial Services and Markets Authority has developed a new handbook on outsourcing.
The handbook applies to UCITS management companies, alternative investment fund managers and portfolio management and investment advice companies. It sets out several principles of sound management for the outsourcing of functions.
The handbook repeals and replaces the old Circular PPB 2004/5 of the former Banking, Financial and Insurance Commission dated 22 June 2004 on sound management practices in outsourcing by credit institutions and investment firms.