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Question

Hi,

I am Belgian citizen. I live in the UK since September 2019, where I do my postdoctoral research studies (which is my temporary 2-years job). I also do other jobs in other countries and all is payed via UK. All my documents in the UK are in order and I rent an apartment in the UK. I had to give up my Belgian address in December 2019.

However, due to the Covid-19 outbreak and an advice of the Belgian government to Belgian citizens living abroad I return to Belgium in the mid March. I have reported my presence in Belgium in late May and registered at the same address in BXL where I lived before moving to the UK, that is with my partner. Having an address in Belgium helped me get my health insurance back in Belgium, a very important issue during this pandemic as my international insurance was suspended due to covid. But, I did not cancel my residency address in the UK, because this is simply not possible due to my job contract. In the meantime, I continued to work in the UK from home in Belgium, which is kind of a normal situation now.

So, I afraid that I will be penalised both in the UK and in Belgium. I am not sure how to regulate my situation in the UK - I am outside of the country of my residency since mid March, and how the one in Belgium - I work from Belgium, meaning that I would have to pay taxes both in Belgium and in the UK. Also, I afraid that I can be penalised for having two addresses (It is not possible to keep the address in Belgium as the principal address when moving to another country, as I did). As for the health insurance card I am registered now in Belgium with my UK European Health Insurance Card as a Belgian citizen who return to the country of origin.

So, how long can I officially stay outside of the UK (I got a settlement status)? What should I do with my residency in the UK and what with the one in Belgium? What should I do with regard to tax issues because I afraid I will have to pay tax both in the UK and in Belgium? I am not even sure which authorities to contact.

Hope anyone could have an advice about this complex issue.

Thanks
Gordon

wezembeekwanderer

You need a good accountant. and one used to dealing with people working between Belgium and U.K. There may be some extra flexibility due to Covid.
But in effect you have simply moved back to Belgium and registered as a resident here. The fact you have a rental property in the U.K. should not be a problem.
So probably you should pay UK tax until May and then tax here from May on your U.K. salary. But I am not a tax specialist so take professional advice.
Social security may be more complicated.
More importantly with Brexit you need to get a plan in place for next year..

Aug 19, 2020 23:37
anon

You're mixing up a number of things here, 1) your tax status in the UK and Belgium, 2) your residency status in Belgium and 3) your immigration status in the U.K. They are all separate, and although each can affect the other, they are all independent of each other.

1) the fact you have a rental property in the U.K. has no bearing on your tax status in either the UK or Belgium.

2) Your "settlement status" (sic) is an immigration status, not a tax status and you should speak to the UK Home Office / immigration authorities about this.

For your taxes:

The tax year in the UK ended on April 5th 2020. So your income in the remainder of April and May (when as far as the Belgian's were concerned, you were still tax resident in the UK) would have been in the UK 2020 / 2021 tax year for which you are entitled to your full £12,500 tax free personal allowance. Therefore unless you earned more than £12,500 in two months, your income will be tax free. (You will still need to pay National insurance contributions but by the sounds of it, it's going to be almost nothing.)

You are now "officially" in Belgium since the end of May, therefore for the 2020 Belgian tax year, you'll only be declaring taxes from June - December. However, you are still entitled to the full personal tax allowance in Belgium for 2020.

Therefore, it is quite possible that your taxes will be significantly lower this year than last.

Be sure to file your UK tax return online for the 2019/2020 year before January 2021. In fact, you should contact the UK authorities now and you can file an early return.

Aug 20, 2020 10:26
gronman

I'm in a similar situation to yourself in that I've been stuck in Belgium since March. I normally travel to the UK twice a month for work and therefore pay about half my taxes there. Since I'm now working from home I'm taxable on that income in Belgium rather than in the UK, but it's of course not possible to just ask your UK payroll to stop deducting taxes! Hopefully Belgian tax authorities will issue proper guidance on this.

That is a worry for next tax year but probably the only thing you need to worry about. The UK won't penalise you for having an address there, I've had one for years.

The suggestion above that you could actually benefit from the situation by getting two tax-free sums, one per country, is incorrect. You won't pay taxes on the same income twice, but both the UK and Belgium will use the income derived from the other country to push up your local wages into a higher tax bracket. (If you fill out a self-assessment in the UK. In Belgium that is of course mandatory)

Sep 14, 2020 13:02
anon

@Gordon - My suggestion that you could benefit from the situation by getting two tax-free sums, one per country, is absolutely correct.

This is really basic tax law. But if you don't agree, then please as GRONMAN suggests, go and ask the Belgian tax authorities who will confirm it.

Oct 6, 2020 19:26