- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
When do I need to file my Belgian income tax return?
The tax return on paper must be filed by 29 June. This means the tax return must hit the letterbox of the scanning centre in Jambes or in Ledeberg on that day. Don't leave it to the last minute. Putting the tax return in the mail on the 28th may be too late.
If you are too late, you can always give a power of attorney to an accountant or tax adviser (that is done online). He can file online until 25 October. However, on behalf of all tax advisers, please do not bring your shoebox with your payslips and tax documents on the 20th of October
If you aren't resident in Belgium, or if you have the expatriate tax status, the deadline is much later, on 8 November (on paper) or, if you or your tax adviser file online, on 6 December.
When do I receive my tax return?
The tax authorities have to send your tax return to you five weeks before the deadline. They are being sent out between 7 and 25 May.
It's 1 June and I haven't received my tax return yet
If you filed your tax return online last year, that is normal. Once you file online, the tax authorities assume that you want to continue filing online and they do not send you a paper tax return anymore.
Otherwise, you should contact your local tax office and ask them to send you a form. If you have difficulties locating your tax office, check page 2 of last year's tax bill, check the website of the Finance Ministry or call 0257 257 57. This is a call centre that answers most tax questions.
This is also where you should go if you lost or misplaced your tax return. Do not use a photocopy of a friend’s tax return; that would only get you both in trouble.
We received a tax bill instead of a tax return
For many people, the tax authorities already have all the information that they would put in their tax return. To make life easier for retirees, people with an invalidity or unemployment allowance, or students over 18 who have some limited income, instead of a tax return, they send them a letter with a provisional tax bill calculating how much tax they will have to pay based on the information the taxman already has. About a million taxpayers will receive a "proposal of a simplified tax return" (see model in Dutch / French / German).
All you need to do is check whether the information is correct; if so, the definitive tax bill will come quite soon. If there is something missing, you have to report that by 29 June (or online before 12 July). What the taxman does not know is that you have overseas bank accounts or insurance policies or that you receive maintenance.
I am late
If you forget to file (or to sign online), you risk a penalty that can go up to €1,250 and a tax increase of 10 to 200%. The 200% is really for persistent repeat offenders. What is more important is that the taxman can just ignore your tax return when he assesses the tax.
If you have other income that isn't mentioned in the letter, such as rental income, income as a self-employed person, as a company director, etc, you must report that to the tax authorities. You can complete the answer form and return it by 29 June. Alternatively, you can ask for a tax return or you can correct the information online via Tax-on-web.
In either case, you will receive the tax bill later in the year, or at the latest on 30 June 2019. If the calculation shows a payment in your favour, you will receive that two months after you receive the bill. And if you have to pay, you have two months as well.
Some information the tax authorities will probably not have is that you have overseas bank accounts or insurance policies and you have to report that you have these.
More from our 2018 income tax guide
- When do I need to file my Belgian income tax return?
- Online or on paper?
- Filing online
- Understanding the paper tax return
- Checklist: What documents do you need?
- The return in detail
- Belgian income tax: There's nowhere to hide
- A guide to cross-border taxation
- Belgian income tax returns for families
- Help! Where to get assistance with your tax return
- Understanding your Belgian income tax bill
- How do I appeal?
- This guide was written by Marc Quaghebeur, lawyer and partner at De Broeck, Van Laere & Partners (www.taxation.be). It is a general introduction based on current understanding of the law. It is not to be taken as a suitable alternative for individual advice.