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Expat Q&A: What changes in 2024

11:59 12/02/2024
In collaboration with the Expat Welcome Desk (Commissioner’s Office)

New year rhymes with new legislation. On the agenda for 2024: on the employment front, days off can now be carried forward in case of illness. Fees for mortgage loans will go down while dental fees will go up. In the Brussels-Capital Region, new measures apply to inheritance, donation, and the sale of a rented property. The Expat Welcome Desk takes stock of some of the new developments.

Changes at federal level

Real estate

  • Reduction of application fees for mortgage loans

    As of 1 January 2024, the application fees for mortgage loans will be reduced from €500 to a maximum of €350 so as to make it even easier for people who wish to become homeowners.


  • Days of leave carried forward in the event of illness

If you fall ill while on leave, you can ask your employer to have your days off carried forward, subject to a number of conditions:

- The measure applies only to statutory leave

- The doctor must provide a medical certificate for you

- The employer must be notified as soon as possible (as if you were ill during your working hours).

You must ask your employer to carry your leave forward during the current year (up to the end of the year maximum). This period is extended to two years in case of long-term illness.

  • New employer, same telephone number

Employees who had their own telephone number before starting work and used it for professional purposes during their employment contract can keep the same number when the contract is terminated, regardless of the reason for termination.

Medical matters

  • Increase in dental fees

The fees of dentists who have contracts with health insurance funds will be indexed by 6.05% under the 2024-2025 dental mutual insurance agreement. However, reimbursements will also be indexed accordingly.

Changes in the Brussels-Capital region


  • Generation skipping transfer tax is now lower

In generation skipping, a parent who has received an inheritance can renounce it entirely so that his or her child can benefit from it. This procedure is intended to avoid paying inheritance tax twice on the same inheritance. Pursuant to the Ordinance of 6 July 2023, inheritance tax will be based directly on the share of the new heir (from the next generation).

  • Lower inheritance tax rate for de facto cohabitants

Up to now, de facto cohabiting partners could not benefit from the regime applicable to spouses and legal cohabitants. If a de facto cohabitant died, his or her partner was taxed at the highest rate, up to 80%!

As of 1 January 2024 de facto cohabitants will benefit from the inheritance tax rate applicable to "partners" (such as spouses and legal cohabitants) if they can prove that they cohabited for a minimum of one year with the deceased.

De facto cohabitants who have been living together for at least three years will benefit from the reduced rate for the acquisition of the family home (main residence) by inheritance and the reduced rate for the inheritance of family businesses and companies.

Legacy to a friend

If a person wishes to pass part of his or her inheritance on to someone with whom he or she has no family ties, the latter will henceforth pay lower inheritance tax than before. A person can thus choose one or more (natural) persons to whom he or she wishes to pass on part of his or her estate free of charge at a low rate of 3% on the first €15,000. The total amount cannot exceed €15,000, however, and will be distributed according to the wishes of the deceased.


  • Unregistered donations

The Brussels government wants to encourage donors to register their donations. To that end, there are plans that in 2024, a person who has made an unregistered donation (without going through a notary) will have to live on for five (instead of three) years (after making this donation). If the donor dies during this “suspicious” period as it is known, the donation will revert to the estate of the deceased and will be subject to inheritance tax. This measure is not yet in force, however.

Real estate

  • Preferential right for the tenant if the rented property is put up for sale

Under the preferential right to purchase, the tenant (signatory of the lease) can buy the rented property before anyone else, under the terms and conditions proposed by the landlord who puts it up for sale. This measure applies to residential leases of the main residence for a nine-year term and to sales concluded after 1 January 2024.

For more information, see our newsletter “New preferential rights for tenants in Brussels

The Expat Welcome Desk is a free service that advises internationals on the practicalities of daily life in the Belgian capital, from accommodation and residence permits to employment rights and taxation, among a number of topics.


Written by Expat Welcome Desk in collaboration with The Bulletin