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Foreign savings should be taxed the same as Belgian accounts, court rules

20:10 12/02/2020

A Belgian court has ruled that foreign savings accounts should be taxed in the same way as Belgian accounts - in a judgment that could bring good news for anyone with money abroad.

Antwerp's court of appeal made the ruling in the case of a Belgian taxpayer, who held two savings accounts in the Netherlands, for which they did not benefit from the same tax advantages as a Belgian account.

Holders of regulated Belgian savings accounts can earn up to €990 in tax-free interest. Otherwise, savings interest is taxed at 15%.

The court ruled that the same taxation should apply to both foreign and Belgian savings accounts, or Belgium would be in breach of the European principle of free movement of services.

A spokeswoman for the federal finance department said: "The court decided in this particular case that foreign savings accounts were analogous to a Belgian savings account."

She said the finance department was "currently examining" whether to appeal against the ruling at Belgium's supreme court.

A similar appeals procedure is ongoing at Ghent appeal court - again over taxation of foreign savings interest. Both sides are due to give their arguments in court next week.

In 2016, a group of experts commissioned by the federal government recommended removing the tax advantage for savings accounts - but politicians are reluctant to do so.

Despite record low interest rates, Belgians remain keen on saving. The total balance across all Belgian savings accounts was €281.5 billion at the end of last year - an all-time high.

Written by The Bulletin