A beginner's guide to income tax for employees in Belgium
Taxes are deducted at source every month, which means you are paying as you earn and the sum accrued acts as a deposit on your annual tax bill. That bill is adjusted every year depending on your personal and family situation, so you’ll either be asked to pay more or get some money back. Regardless of earned income, everyone must complete and submit a tax return. Not doing so means a possible €50€1,250 fine plus increased taxes.
While most people receive a brown envelope containing the necessary forms, others receive a letter headed ‘a proposal of simplified declaration’ (proposition de déclaration simplifiée/voorstel van vereenvoudigde aangifte). This will have a calculated amount of taxes you will have to pay or a refund that you will receive (or maybe you will neither pay nor receive anything). If you don’t agree, correct the proposal and send it back before the deadline at the end of June.
Doing your taxes online using the federal government’s tax-on-web application is the most efficient option and means a later filing deadline and a quicker response to tax assessments. You’ll need your electronic resident’s card plus a card reader for your computer, or a token, to be obtained at your town hall. Your town hall should also provide free support with filling in the necessary documents.
To guide English-speakers, organisations such as Taxpatria have translated Belgian tax forms into English on their website. The University of Leuven offers translations for those filing in Flanders.
You can also contact the Federal Public Service Finance on 02.572.57.57, though if you call close to the tax return deadline, expect to be kept on hold for a long time. The Bulletin’s website also contains a comprehensive guide to completing your tax return.