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On 22 December 2017, the Belgian parliament approved the Corporate Income Tax Reform Act that includes among others a reduction of the corporate income tax rate, a minimum taxable basis, a reform of the holding regime and a tax consolidation regime. The Income Tax Reform Act was published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 29 December 2017. Some of these new measures are briefly described hereunder. For a complete and…...

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Following the increasing difficulties with the enforcement of the legislative framework applicable to Food for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP) reported by national authorities of Member States, the European Commission has published on 25 November 2017 the Notice on the classification of FSMP. This gives the opportunity to take a closer look at this type of products. FSMP vs ‘common’ food National authorities have been faced with an increasing number of…...

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The Belgian VAT exemption has been restricted since December 2017 upon request of the European Commission. While article 148 of the EU VAT Directive provides in a VAT exemption for “vessels used for navigation on the high seas” the Belgian VAT exemption only spoke of ‘seagoing vessels’[1] so that it did not matter whether those vessels were effectively used for an activity on the high seas. This interpretation was considered too broad and…...

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For effective estate planning at international level, one needs to get an in-depth understanding of a series of legal systems. It is only by comparing the pro’s and con’s of each system that one will be able to take the best informed decision. Given the increased complexity of tax and legal systems and the increased scrutiny of tax authorities, advising private clients becomes an even more delicate matter. With this…...

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Holiday accumulation is the next step for employees to plan their career and work – life balance. Since these provisions of the law on agile and workable work come into effect on 1 February 2018, this newsflash briefly explains what the system of holiday accumulation means, how it is introduced, what needs to be done in the event of a possible termination of the employment agreement and a short introduction…...

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The draft Belgian Companies Code is expected to be approved before summer. It provides for a number of fundamental changes in the key principles governing the legal situation and functioning of directors of Belgian companies. The aim of this seminar is to provide you with (i) a survey of the main changes, from both a corporate and employment law perspective as well as (ii) tips and tricks to reflect these…...

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This month brought the following interesting data protection developments: Update home market: The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland Update on the draft e-Privacy Regulation International Data Privacy Day 1. Update home market  Please find a brief summary of the relevant developments in all our four home markets these being The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. 1.1. Netherlands   New directors for the Dutch Data Protection Authority As per January 1, 2018, the Dutch Data Protection Authority (Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens, AP)…...

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Belgian ruling commission has just published rulings in which it made explicit in what circumstances the grant of warrants and options (exempted from social security contributions) is not considered to be disproportionate. Reference is made to 20% of the total of fixed and variable salary (benefits in kind excluded) as clearly proportionate. The following grants of warrants are proportionate: Fixed salary of EUR 100,000 gross + variable remuneration of EUR…...

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Recently, on 11 January 2018, an act was voted, which broadens the possibilities for concluding an electronic employment agreement by means of an electronic signature and provides a clear framework for the electronic archiving of documents. For the future, digitisation will be a lot easier in employment relations. Currently, the possibilities of signing an electronic employment agreement with an electronic signature are extremely limited. Electronic employment agreement can only be…...

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On January 25, 2018 a Royal Decree was published, which introduces an exemption from social security contributions for the compensatory indemnity granted to older employees who reduce their workload. As of January 1, 2018, it is now possible for the employer to reduce the workload of older employees and to provide for a compensatory indemnity for the wage loss that these employees suffer as a result of the relief of…...

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Ariane Brohez and Antoine Béchaimont contributed to the Belgium Chapter of the publication EPRA Global REIT Survey 2017. Click here to read their contribution to the Belgium chapter. For further information please visit www.epra.com...

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This article is only available in Dutch....

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Loyens & Loeff provides legal and fiscal services to companies that do business in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and Switzerland. There are a large number of French companies among its clients, and Loyens & Loeff has opened offices in Paris to better meet their needs. It is also the only law firm in Benelux that has a structured organization in the French market. Click here to read more about the…...

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Marga Caproni (Counsel) and Stéphanie De Smedt (Sr Associate), both team leaders of the Loyens & Loeff Benelux-wide Privacy & Data Protection Team in Belgium, have published the practical guide ‘Privacy within companies’ with Kluwer.   With the entry into force of the General Data Processing Regulation or GDPR, privacy and data protection can no longer be ignored from the day-to-day activities of both large and small companies in any…...

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Our early year tax seminar, an event for professionals dealing with domestic and international tax matters. We will guide you through the major developments impacting your business and address a series of hot topics including, among others: Corporate tax reform Interest limitation rule Digital economy Substance requirements New developments in transfer pricing Dawn raids Taxation of share capital reductions Taxation of securities accounts Date: Tuesday 6 February 2018 Time: 1pm -…...

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An amendment to the Belgian law on SME financing introduces very welcome clarifications and changes, especially relevant in the context of financing subsidiaries of corporate groups. On 8 January 2018 the law amending the Belgian law on SME financing of 21 December 2013 enters into force introducing welcome clarifications and changes with respect to the law’s scope, especially relevant for the financing of group companies. The aim of the law is…...

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On 22 December 2017, the Belgian VAT authorities published circular letter 2017/C/91 which aims to provide additional guidance on the VAT status of public bodies when performing certain economic activities. Instead of outlining general principles, the VAT authorities tackle 24 specific situations which can trigger VAT issues for municipalities & social service departments (OCMW / CPAS) and their respective suppliers and ‘customers’. The situations include Q&A like: Should a municipality…...

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With the implementation date of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) around the corner, 2017 has certainly been an eventful year within the field of data protection and privacy. This Data Protection and Privacy Update will fully update you on the various relevant guidelines the Article 29 Working Party (WP29) has provided throughout 2017. We will also provide you with a brief summary of the relevant developments in all our…...

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It has been difficult to miss in the press coverage over the last few weeks: we are on the verge of major reforms in the Belgian corporate and tax laws. During this joint corporate and tax seminar, you will learn more about some of the important changes envisaged by these reforms and what they mean for your business. During this lunch seminar, we shall focus on the following topics: Corporate…...

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Saskia Lust and Barbara Albrecht contributed to the Belgium Chapter of the publication Getting the Deal Through: Private Client 2018. The article is freely accessible via this link. Reproduced with permission from Law Business Research Ltd. Getting the Deal Through: Private Client 2018  (published in October 2017; contributing editors: Anthony Thompson and Sara Walter, Forsters LLP). For further information please visit gettingthedealthrough.com....

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The new Belgian Company Code: (R)evolution in the Belgian corporate landscape requiring changes to the tax and accounting framework On 20 July 2017, the Belgian government approved the draft bill for a new Company Code. The Council of State examined the draft bill and delivered its advice on the 11th of October, effectively clearing the path to introduce the draft to Parliament in the next few weeks. The highly anticipated…...

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This article is only available in Dutch....

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De regering heeft een wetsontwerp ingediend in de Kamer om Nederlandse A.O.W.-uitkeringen van Belgische rijksinwoners altijd te kunnen belasten als pensioen. De regering wil alle A.OW.-uitkeringen van Belgische rijksinwoners kunnen belasten als pensioen. Het huidig Wetboek Inkomstenbelastingen laat dat niet toe. In een in de Kamer ingediend wetsontwerp worden alle inkomsten toegekend in het kader van een wettelijke sociale beschermingsmaatregel, belastbaar gesteld als pensioen. De regering wil zo de (cassatie)rechtspraak…...

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On 6 December 2017, the European Court of Justice delivered its long-awaited judgment in Coty Germany. Coty is a supplier of luxury cosmetics in Germany. It sells its products via a selective distribution network, in order to protect the luxury image of its brands. One of the measures through which Coty sought to safeguard that luxury image was to introduce a restriction on online sales preventing Coty’s distributors from using…...

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Belgian authorities have recently adopted guidelines on the use of the term ‘artisanal’ and its derivatives in the names of products. The guidelines apply to all food and non-food products marketed in Belgium unless other rules apply. Food business operators which are not established in Belgium but operate on the Belgian market are also required by Belgian authorities to adhere to the guidelines. When a product can be called ‘artisanal’?…...

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On 21 November 2017, the European Commission has published the Commission Notice on the application of the principle of quantitative ingredients declaration (QUID) which provides further guidance on the obligation to indicate the quantity of ingredients required by Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers. The Notice replaces and complements the guidelines on QUID adopted in 1998 under Directive 79/112/EEC. Obligation to indicate QUID According to the…...

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Reform of the Belgian Privacy Commission The General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 creates a new privacy regime immediately applicable across the EU as from 25 May 2018. Under the GDPR, national supervisory authorities will have a strengthened role and increased enforcement powers. In order to meet GDPR requirements, the Belgian legislator has adopted a law reforming the current Belgian Privacy Commission. The law was submitted in the Chamber of…...

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Royal VAT Decree n° 57 has been replaced by a new Royal VAT Decree n° 57 aiming to simplify the VAT treatment of B2B freight (and related) services in cases where the transport takes place (partially) outside the EU or where the customer is not established in the EU. It entered into force on 23 November 2017. Under the old Royal VAT Decree n° 57 freight (and related) services that…...

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The Belgian Government proposes legislation to outlaw “platform parity clauses” in the hotel sector. On 23 November 2017, the Belgian Government proposed draft legislation to outlaw so-called “platform parity clauses” in the hotel sector. Price parity clauses, sometimes also referred to as ‘most favourite nation clauses’, have become more and more important in contracts between online platforms (e.g. price comparison websites, online booking websites and e-markets) and the companies which…...

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The long-awaited modifications of the BE-REIT legislation have been published. These modifications, but also the announced tax reform, encourage investments in infrastructure but also facilitate the investments in joint venture by BE-REIT. They are described below. Extension of the authorised activities to infrastructure Investments in joint venture and in institutional BE-REIT facilitated New Social BE-REIT Infrastructure and the tax reform Extension of the authorised activities to infrastructure The list of…...

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Our colleagues Marga Caproni (Counsel) and Stéphanie De Smedt(Associate) at Loyens & Loeff Belgium will be speaking at the M&D Seminar regarding ‘Data protection/GDPR ’ on Thrusday 7 December from 09.30 to 17.00 at the Waerboom in Groot-Bijgaarden. Have a look at the full program via the M&D Seminars website. If you have any questions, you can always contact them. More information on www.loyensloeff.com/gdpr....

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Busy weeks ahead for the International Trade Team which will be acting as speaker and expert in a number of exciting events in trade controls, customs and VAT ! Meet us at: 7 November 2017: Annual Global Trade Controls 2017 Conference London 9 - 10 November 2017: International Customs Conference Düsseldorf 13 November 2017: Loyens & Loeff Harbour Seminar Rotterdam – Brexit Roundtable 16 November 2017: Voluntary Food Information (Loyens &…...

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As of 27 October 2022, a new framework of rules will apply to total diet replacement products, both in terms of compositional and labelling requirements. In addition, total diet replacement products will have to be notified in each Member State where the product is being marketed. Those new rules are laid down in the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/1798 on total diet replacement for weight control, published on 7 October…...

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This article is only available in Dutch....

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As part of its Digital Single Market strategy, the European Commission published on 13 September 2017 a proposal for a Regulation “on a framework for the free flow of non-personal data in the European Union”. Why a Regulation governing “non-personal” data? To make sure that it is safe for businesses to store data anywhere in the EU; To eliminate barriers to trade and to enable a ‘EU data community’; To…...

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The Restructuring & Insolvency Team in Belgium has contributed to the Country Comparative Guide in the category ‘Restructuring & Insolvency’, which The Legal 500 and The In-House Lawyer have launched for the 2nd time. The team has written the country chapter further to a Q&A template created by a leading partner at Kirkland & Ellis (contributing editor for this category). The guide aims to provide In-House Counsel with local expert…...

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Our colleagues Marga Caproni (Counsel) and Kris De Schutter (Partner) of the Loyens & Loeff Employment & Benefits Team will be speaking at the M&D Seminar regarding 'Remuneration Techniques anno 2018' on Friday 8 December from 13.30 to 17.30 in Hotel Van der Valk in Beveren. Have a look at the full program via the M&D Seminars website. If you have any questions, you can always contact them. More information on the topic…...

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On 26 October 2017, the General Court issued its judgment in Marine Harvest v. European Commission. The Court upheld the initial decision of the European Commission which imposed a fine of € 20 million on Marine Harvest for gun-jumping. Background and facts Marine Harvest is a salmon farming company. In December 2012, Marine Harvest acquired 48.5% of the shares in Morpol, a competitor listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. In January 2013,…...

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On 25 October 2017 the Belgian VAT authorities clarified in a Circular Letter that payments specifically made to repair damage caused by a delay in the execution of work have the nature of an indemnity payment. These payments thus fall outside the scope of application of VAT and should not be treated as price reductions that reduce the taxable base. Since contractual fines for delays in the execution of work…...

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This article is only available in Dutch....

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Belgium and the Netherlands. Two friendly neighbours who greet each other daily and share the best they have to offer: chocolate, beer, cheese and waffles. What is more, Belgium is one of the most important export markets for the Netherlands and Belgium is one of the largest investors in the Netherlands. Despite all of this, cross-border employment remains a complex issue. The differences between both countries are substantial, especially in the areas of labour…...

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On 12 October 2017 the Belgian VAT authorities issued guidance on how to interpret the ECJ’s recent judgments on the right to deduct VAT in connection with the requirement to hold a correctly drawn up invoice (Circular Letter 2017/C/64). As you know, in order to exercise the right of deduction a taxable person must, inter alia, hold an invoice mentioning certain mandatory elements (e.g. the date on which the invoice…...

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This article is only available in Dutch....

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Loyens & Loeff is proud to announce that its Employment & Benefits Law practice has won the award for the “Best Employment Law Firm” at the Trends Legal Awards ceremony held on 18 October. Rewarding outstanding law firms for their distinctive features and their major achievements in 2016, the Trends Legal Awards represent the ultimate recognition of excellence in the Belgian legal community. Our Employment & Benefits Law practice was elected by…...

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Loyens & Loeff and the “Institut des Juristes d'Entreprise Belge (IJE)/Instituut voor bedrijfsjuristen (IBJ)” are joining forces to initiate substantive cooperation. Share knowledge and experience regularly on current topics is the will of both parties. Brussels, 16 October 2017 Loyens & Loeff and the “Institut des Juristes d'Entreprise Belge (IJE)” are pleased to announce that they have signed a cooperation agreement. Loyens & Loeff will bring its expertise on a…...

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Click here to read the articles in 'De Tijd' Click here to read the articles in 'L'Echo'...

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This article is only available in Dutch....

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With the act of 31 July 2017, Belgium has introduced the first whistleblowing scheme in the private sector, in execution of the Market Abuse Regulation of 2014. The provisions of the Act have entered into force on 1 September 2017. A Royal Decree of 24 September 2017 approves the procedural rules designed by the FSMA to receive whistleblowing reports. These rules will be applied as from 28 September 2017. Which…...