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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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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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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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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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We would like to inform you about the details of the tax reform based on the draft bill submitted to the Council of State for comments. Click here to read our newsflash. Interested by this topic? Do not forget to subscribe to our dedicated seminar of 23 November 2017, where the corporate law reform shall also be discussed ! We will keep you informed of any further developments. Please contact…...

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Heeft u in 2016 een investering in een startende micro-onderneming gedaan via een financieringsvehikel en claimden u of uw boekhouder slechts een belastingvermindering van 30% in de aangifte personenbelasting, zal u alsnog aanspraak kunnen maken op de resterende 15% en uw belasting over 2016 bijkomend kunnen verminderen. Daartoe zal u een bezwaarschrift of een verzoek tot ambtshalve ontheffing te tot bijkomende belastingvermindering moeten richten aan de bevoegde belastingdienst. Wij doen…...

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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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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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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…...

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Dear Reader, We produce a quarterly newsletter to keep you updated on legal developments and important trends in the real estate sector. In this issue, you will read about what expected changes in international tax arena and Belgian tax law shall mean to your business: Belgian corporate tax reform Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive Option to subject leases to VAT Infrastructure Transfer taxes in the Walloon Region Click here to download the…...

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Today, a Royal Decree was published confirming the entry into force of the new Belgian Pledge Act . The Belgian Pledge Act introduces a major reform of the Belgian regime of security interests on movable property. The main innovation of the Pledge Act is the introduction of a central register, enabling a pledgor to grant a register pledge on its movable assets without having to hand over its goods to…...

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On 21 September three rulings have been issued by the ECJ which will have a significant impact on the costs structure of businesses in the financial sector. The ECJ explicitly ruled that the CSGs scheme cannot be applied in the banking and insurance sector, in which businesses often rely on the CSGs scheme to mitigate VAT leakage. The CSGs scheme now seems to be blocked for such businesses, which will…...

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On Tuesday 5 September 2017, the Grand Chamber of European Court of Human Rights has announced a judgment in the Bãrbulescu case. Mr Bãrbulescu was terminated after his employer had discovered through monitoring that he had been using Yahoo Messenger during working hours for personal purposes, which was prohibited by a company policy. The termination was confirmed by the Romanian employment tribunal. The ECHR has now ruled that the national…...

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Alternatief einde voor Lieve Lieve nadert de pensioenleeftijd en voelt dat ze het binnenkort wat rustiger aan wil doen. Ze is net grootmoeder geworden en wil er graag zijn voor haar uitbreidend gezinnetje. Wat zijn haar mogelijkheden in dit opzicht? Zij kan eventueel in het kader van tijdskrediet eindeloopbaan haar prestaties met 1/5 of 1/2 verminderen tot op het moment dat ze met pensioen gaat indien ze aan de gestelde voorwaarden…...

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On 30 November 2016, the Commission presented its long-awaited “Winter Package”, which contains a set of legislative proposals fostering the implementation of the Energy Union (see our newsflash on this topic here). One of the legislative measures introduced by the Winter Package is a proposal for a recast of the Renewable Energy Directive (Directive 2009/28). The latter is for the most part drafted so as to enter into force on…...

1. Flemish government rejects deduction of debt towards the surviving spouse in the estate of the predeceased spouse On 14 July 2017 the Flemish government approved a bill that makes the deduction of a debt to the surviving spouse in the estate of the predeceased spouse, in accordance with the marriage contract, impossible for the calculation of the inheritance tax. The Flemish government is responsible for the levying of inheritance…...

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Lieve gaat naar Nederland: eenvoudig implementeren van salary split Lieve moet regelmatig voor haar bedrijf naar Nederland. Waar moet ze op letten? Is Lieve minder dan 183 dagen in een periode van 12 maanden fysiek actief in Nederland, dan blijft België (als woonstaat) heffingsbevoegd over het totale inkomen. Dat loopt anders van zodra die 183 dagen grens is overschreden. In dat geval is Lieve in Nederland belastbaar op het deel…...

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Zoals bericht in onze nieuwsbrief van 23 mei jl., heeft het Hof van Cassatie in het arrest van 5 mei jl. bevestigd dat een A.O.W.-uitkering slechts kwalificeert als een in België belastbaar pensioen indien en in de mate dat er een band is met een beroepswerkzaamheid. Hieruit volgt dat wie in België woont en een A.O.W.-uitkering geniet, in België enkel verzocht kan worden om belasting te betalen over de uitkering…...

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Advocate General CAMPOS SÁNCHEZ-BORDONA recently rendered his opinion in the case ‘Champagne sorbet’ (case C-393/16). As expected, the AG confirmed that it is for the national courts to assess, on a case by case basis, if the use of a protected term (in this case, ‘Champagne’) in the name of a food product (in this case, a Champagne sorbet) was not unduly exploiting the reputation of the protected term, taking…...

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On 20 July 2017, the bill concerning the reform of Belgian inheritance law has been adopted by parliament. The reform is intended to update the inheritance law, in line with the needs and aspirations of modern society. 1                 Scope The inheritance law determines who inherits what part of the estate of a deceased person, if there is no will. The law also determines the limitations of a will. It gives…...

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Belgian Corporate Income Tax rate to decrease from 33.99% to 25%. Other measures to guarantee budget neutrality. On 26 July 2017, the Belgian government agreed on a far-reaching Belgian tax reform aimed at stimulating economic growth & attractiveness for foreign investment, job creation and overall fairness in taxation policy. The most important measures include a reduction of the corporate income tax rate, a minimum effective tax rate, a tax consolidation…...

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Trein, tram, bus, fiets of voet: mobiliteit vanuit vennootschapsbelasting en compensation & benefits Recent heeft Lieve beslist om haar woon-werkverkeertraject af te leggen gebruik makend van het openbaar vervoer. Helaas is er geen bushalte dichtbij het werk en moet zij nog een eindje fietsen of gaat ze te voet. Hoe ziet haar terugbetaling in de verplaatsingskosten voor haar woon-werkverkeer er nu uit? Het volledige bedrag van de werkgeverstussenkomst in de…...

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The digitalization of healthcare services is generally applauded, as it leads to increased efficiency, better quality of care, lower administrative costs, and patient empowerment. However, the digitalization of such services is not without risk from a data protection perspective, in particular given the ‘sensitive’ nature and strict legal protection of personal health information. Belgian doctors and hospitals have recently learned the hard way that they are indeed a hacker target.…...

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Lieve scoort: een goed bonusplan motiveert en beschermt Lieve trok een jaar geleden op eigen houtje de social media-kaart en dat werpt zijn vruchten af: 20% meer sessies in één jaar tijd. De CEO, Patrick, wil Lieve voor haar social media-plan belonen, maar wenst ook dat Lieve haar creativiteit blijft aanspreken en geen andere oorden opzoekt. En het mag ook geweten zijn, zowel binnen als buiten het bedrijf, dat enthousiasme…...

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Lieve pleit voor harmonisatie: over harmonisatie van arbeidsvoorwaarden In de voorbereiding van de fusie tussen Cynalco Medics en Vandam Pharma blijkt dat de werknemers van Vandam Pharma recht hebben op maar liefst 10 extralegale vakantiedagen en dat zij daarenboven geen eigen bijdrage hoeven te betalen voor hun aanvullend pensioen. Voor zover de extralegale vakantiedagen individueel werden toegekend aan de werknemers van Vandam Pharma is er in principe geen wettelijke verplichting…...

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Belgian private investors welcome the ruling of the Belgian Supreme Court dated 16 June 2017 allowing them to significantly reduce the tax burden of their French sourced dividends: up to 12.7%. Background The treaty for the avoidance of double taxation concluded between Belgium and France on 10 March 1964 provides in Article 19.A.1. that « […] The tax due in Belgium on the income, after deduction of French tax […]…...

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Een aanvullend pensioen voor Lieve: met of zonder persoonlijke bijdrage? Wanneer Lieve’s werkgever beslist om een aanvullend pensioen toe te kennen aan het personeel, zullen er enkele belangrijke beslissingen genomen moeten worden, o.m. of er al dan niet een persoonlijke bijdrage gevraagd zal worden van de werknemers. De persoonlijke bijdrage wordt afgehouden van het nettoloon en geeft recht op een belastingvermindering van 30% van de betaalde bijdrage. Deze vermindering wordt…...

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The European Commission is willing to introduce Mandatory Disclosure Rules (MDR) for intermediaries designing and promoting potentially aggressive cross-border tax planning arrangements. Who will have to notify these arrangements? What about tax intermediaries whose advice are legally privileged? Which arrangements fall within the scope of this proposal? Will this new set of rules have an impact in Belgium? Context On 21 June 2017, the European Commission submitted a proposal for…...

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On 14 June 2017, the European Court of Justice gave a very strict interpretation of the rules laying down the conditions for the use of designations reserved to milk and milk products (‘milk’, ‘yoghurt’, ‘cream’, ‘cheese’, …). The Court indeed decided that it is in all circumstances prohibited to use dairy names in association with plant-based products, unless those names are included - in the same language - in a…...

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We produce a quarterly newsletter to keep you updated on legal developments and important trends in the real estate sector. In this issue, we address the following topics: Real Estate Investment and Taxation -   Planned major reform of Belgian company law -   Capital gain due to a review of the sector plan – Walloon Region -   VAT regime of real estate (asset/property) management services Real Estate Management -    Repurchase right under economic…...

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On 18 May 2017, the Belgian Federal Parliament adopted a new Act on actions for damages for competition law infringements (the “Competition Law Damages Act”).[1] The Competition Law Damages Act transposes  Directive 2014/104/EU (the “EU Damages Directive”) into Belgian law, which aims to make it easier for victims of competition law infringements to claim damages for the harm they suffered.[2] The Competition Law Damages Act was published in the Belgian…...

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Trap net als vele andere werkgevers, je werknemers naar een gezondere, snellere en handiger vervoersmiddel. Laat de (elektrische) fiets een prominente plaats krijgen in uw bedrijf! Om het fietsgebruik te stimuleren heeft de wetgever voorzien in tal van (para)fiscale incentives. Hieronder lijsten wij kort de parafiscale en fiscale behandeling op van de elektrische fiets. Vooreerst is het zo dat de (para)fiscale incentives die gelden voor de gewone fiets gelden ook…...

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The European Commission’s Regulatory Committee on Medical Devices has adopted a Commission Decision on the qualification of cranberry products. According to the Decision, cranberry products do not fall within the definition of medical devices set out in the Medical Devices Directive.   The European Commission’s Regulatory Committee on Medical Devices has adopted a Commission Implementing Decision on the qualification of cranberry products. The Decision states that products “whose principal intended action,…...

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On 17 May 2017, the Court of Justice of the EU (ECJ) has ruled that the Belgian fairness tax is not fully in accordance with EU law. In particular the ECJ finds that the fairness tax partially violates Article 4 of the Parent-Subsidiary directive (PSD) and can violate the freedom of establishment. The ECJ hereby confirms the position that was taken by the Advocate-General (AG) in its opinion of 17…...

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In a recently delivered judgment in Case C-339/15, the Court of Justice of the European Union found that the Belgian legislation prohibiting in strict and absolute terms any advertising with regard to the provision of oral and dental care services is incompatible with the EU law. The case concerned a Belgian general dental practitioner accused of having, during the period from 2003 to 2014, advertised the dental services he provided…...

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This publication is only available in Dutch.  ...

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Last weekend’s cyber-attack has caused significant technical and operational problems worldwide. And while the main issue in these cases is of course IT-security, such attack also gives rise to important legal / data protection issues that should not be neglected. What is everyone talking about? Over the past weekend, IT-systems around the world were hit by a highly-effective ransomware-attack labelled “WannaCry”, disabling entire computer systems and databases and in some…...

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1  History of the tax shelter for equity investments in starting companies Since mid-2015, Belgian legislation provides for a very interesting tax incentive for Belgian-resident private individuals who invest in the capital of a Belgian or EEA startup that is less than four years old. The first move was the tax shelter law of 10 August 2015, providing the framework and the many conditions for the personal income tax reduction of…...

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On May 20, 2015, the fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. In execution of this European measure, the Belgian government has adopted a preliminary bill on March 31, 2017. This preliminary bill introduces a UBO register in which the ultimate beneficiaries of companies and other legal entities need to be identified. 1.           Principles of the Directive 1.1.       UBO register Pursuant to the fourth…...

On 22 March 2017, the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) imposed a fine of EUR 5.489.000,00 on Algist Bruggeman NV and its parent companies (“Algist”) for resale price maintenance and for hindering competition from low-price brands of fresh yeast. Algist is Belgium’s largest supplier of yeast products, supplying industrial, semi-artisan and artisan bakeries. It sells its products directly to large industrial bakeries, but for semi-artisan and artisan bakeries it sells through…...

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On 15 March 2017, the European Parliament adopted a codified legislation on official controls, which tightens rules on financial penalties, establishes more and better inspections, and creates a legal framework for the data processed during controls. The new Regulation comes as a response to the horsemeat scandal which hit several EU Member States in 2013 when food labelled as containing beef turned out to contain horsemeat instead. It does not…...

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Since 1 July 2016, people participating in the sharing economy benefit from a new tax and social framework. The Royal Decree of 12 January 2017 (Belgian Official Gazette of 24 January 2017) was the last component required for the new legal framework to be applied. In brief, this specific regime provides for a 20% taxation on some revenues from the sharing economy after deduction of a 50% lump-sum expenses, leading…...