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Inscription in the Commune, or not?

Question

Hello everyone,

I'm having some trouble finding out if I should really make my inscription in the Commune or not. These are the facts so far for me:

- I work for a portuguese company, who pays my salary and do all my discounts for tax purposes and social security in Portugal. My fiscal address is in Portugal, and my wife and daughter both live here (in Portugal).

- Last August, my company was hired by another Consultant company working in the EU (Council), and I was given "the gigg" to go to Brussels and start working there, as an external consultant (no nice commodities included, as all interns in the EU institutions have).

- I stayed in Brussels until November, and my company and I decided before that, in September, to rent an apartment near the Council for two reasons: easy access to work and less expensive than staying in hotels for months.

- Now, at this time, my landlord told me I should make my inscription in the commune, so I send an email (it's for Brussels center - 1000) with already the rent contract, my portuguese ID and a declaration from my company that I am working in Brussels since August (but not all the time...).

- After all these months, in February, the Commune sent an email with a rendez-vous to go there and sign the request of inscription and provide an annexe 19 bis with my employer's data.

- My company has no inscription whatsoever in Belgium, even more because we are being subcontracted by the other Consultant company from Luxembourg that provides officially the services to the EU Council. I'm basically a subcontracted by a subcontrat (if this makes sense to you).

- Now everyone is saying that I should have never asked for an inscription. In the commune, I asked that my request would be annulled, but they told me that they had already created a number for me, that I had to pay the €25,00 (I did) and gave me two choices: I continue the process and ask my company to fill the 19 bis or... and this is where I got scared: I cancel my inscription, but because they already have my rent contract (that lasts until this September) they will charge me (or my company) with a fee of €1.700,00 for "having a second house in another country of the EU".

- My questions: Is this law for real, or where they just trying to scare me to stay inscribed? Should I try to inscribe again (I ended up cancelling it)? If I'm inscripted, should I have to pay double taxation (in Portugal and in Belgium)?

- My maximum stay in Belgium until now has been of 3 months, but it can increase to 4/5 months, maximum. Then I return to Portugal where I usually stay for 1, 2 or 3 months until I have to get back to continue working in the EU project.

I really apreciate any opinions from everyone.
Thank you in advance,
Nuno

R.Harris

Just go down to the borough hall as requested and sign. How can it hurt you in any way?

Mar 4, 2017 19:11
xpto2k3@gmail.com

I already did sign, but immediately asked to cancel the inscription, as asked by my company. How can it hurt me? I really don't know, but they told me that all money I do in Belgium has to be taxed in Belgium. I work in Belgium but I'm payed by a portuguese company with no ties to Belgium.
They said in the Commune that they're not treasury experts... ok, but I need to know if that's gonna affect me in some way.
Thank you for your answer.

Mar 4, 2017 19:41
xpto2k3@gmail.com

Also, something I didn't like was the way I was faced with the two options: I had 10 minutes to decide, literally!! Apparently because it was a rendez-vous and couldn't wait more than the previewed time.
I called my company and this was a decision made quickly because they said so.

Mar 4, 2017 19:43
shortof

If your money comes to Portugal, you pay your NATIONAL INCOME TAXES to Portugal.

Furthermore, you must also complete (it will indeed arrive as you are now inscribed on the foreigners' register) a Belgian tax return, you should get the paperwork around April/May 2017 for the months you were inscribed in 2016.

On the Belgian tax return, you will declare your Portuguese income earned within Belgium, providing proof it is going through the Portuguese tax system. You request this income is EXONERATED of BELGIAN NATIONAL INCOME TAX.

I'm not sure where the stuff about who said you would be charged 1.7k for having another home in the EU or who is going to take the 1.7k. If you receive rental income for a 2nd home in the EU, indeed you declare it, you declare you CANNOT LIVE IN THAT HOME for practical purposes and if you receive rent from it, you ask also for that rent to be exonerated.

You are likely to be billed for regional and communal taxes on your Portuguese income which is exonerated of national Belgian tax. It's roughly 7%.

There is no double taxation on national income tax, but indeed you might be taxed by commune/region on top of Portuguese income tax.

Mar 4, 2017 19:48
xpto2k3@gmail.com

Thank you for your answer. Much appreciated.

Mar 4, 2017 21:02
shortof

I do think though on balance there is an argument you are not living here at all, as you are coming and going. Regarding this question, I do not have an answer for you. I can only answer the question IF you are subjected to being registered here. As you have already registered, I do not know who you go about cancelling registration, nor what will happen to any tax return for 2016 - the tax office however on my own personal experience has been fabulous in my commune, tax office employees work on only one commune, no idea about ones which work on 1000.

Mar 4, 2017 21:52
CC_R

As far as I was always told it's a requirement to register in Belgium that's why you were told to inscribe by your landlord. You don't say that you're returning home regularly in your post, like I'm only here weekdays I wouldn't class as living here, so you are living here even temporarily. I have no idea why your company didn't make the necessary enquiries to meet local regulations.
Yes they can fine people for breaking the laws and do for example for having cars registered outside Belgium but residing here in order to avoid car tax the fine is massive, people I know have been charged for this and we aren't talking about €50 fine here we talking a couple of thousands. However i don't know in this case but I don't understand why it's a problem to be legally here and declare your status as none national and not with any finically interests. This is something your company should seek legal advice on not ask a bunch of strangers on a forum who may not know all the relevent facts

Mar 6, 2017 07:34
becasse

The second home tax is payable to the commune (who fix the rate to be paid - it is standard for every second home owner in the commune) and is intended to compensate them for the local element of income tax. The tax was originally quite low, a couple of hundred euros perhaps, but most communes have increased the level very substantially in recent years to discourage second home ownership (which is seen as a waste of scarce housing resource).

It does seem that you are in a situation where you are required to register since you have a housing rental contract which exceeds three months.

Mar 6, 2017 10:32