From January 1, 2022, a new Belgian expat regime for inbound taxpayers and researchers is active. There is a tax-free reimbursement of 30% of the gross taxable pay for expats, similar to the Dutch 30% tax rule regime. Furthermore, the Belgian expat rule may appear to be more beneficial than the Dutch because the 5-year grant can be extended to three years. The grant can only be extended if you apply within 6 months of the end of the 5-year period and still meet the Belgian tax rules.
However, whether or not this new tax structure is more advantageous remains to be seen. Because of the €75.000 annual requirement, not every foreigner can apply for this scheme.
Employees and directors should earn at least €75.000 in gross pay, variable remunerations, and benefits. Researchers may not be required to achieve this criterion, but at least 80% of their work should be dedicated to research and development. Researchers should also have a master’s degree in a specific science discipline or at least 10 years of relevant experience in that field. Remember that all expats (workers, directors, and researchers) must have no ties to Belgium for at least 60 months previous to their assignment or employment in Belgium.
The 30 percent tax-free reimbursement of €90.000 per year is also limited, which may make it less appealing to high-income workers. On the plus side, moving and relocation charges, as well as the price of equipping a home in Belgium and some school fees, are not subject to the €90.000 annual limit. Because they are regarded Belgian tax residents under the new expat regime, expats may also benefit from Belgian tax incentives and claim tax treaty protection for income taxed overseas.
The disadvantage of becoming a Belgian tax resident is that your international income is taxed in Belgium.