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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…...

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In our newsletter of January 24, 2017, we informed you of the extension of the Belgian tax on stock exchange transactions (hereafter “TSET”). As from January 1, 2017, certain stock exchange transactions, entered into or carried out by intermediaries established outside Belgium, are also targeted by the Belgian TSET. Meanwhile, the tax return of the TSET has been published and the term for the submission of the tax return and…...

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This publication is only available in Dutch and in French....

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The Program Law of December 25, 2016, published in the Belgian Official Gazette on December 29, 2016, has extended the existing Belgian tax on stock exchange transactions (hereafter “TSET”). From now on, certain stock exchange transactions, entered into or carried out by intermediaries established outside Belgium, are also targeted by the Belgian TSET. In addition, the limit of the TSET has been doubled. 1. Old legislation applicable up to and including December…...

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On 10 November 2016, Brussels Court of Appeal (the “Court”) annulled the decision of the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) to impose a fine of more than € 37 million on bpost for abuse of dominance. The Court held that BCA’s decision breached the fundamental human rights principle of ne bis in idem, according to which no one may be punished twice for the same illegal behaviour. Bpost is Belgium’s historical…...

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The full set of regulations relating to the Specialised Real Estate Investment Fund (fonds d’investissement immobilier spécialisé / gespecialiseerde vastgoedbeleggingsfonds) has now been approved and published. Click here to read more in this respect....

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On 26 October 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union has rendered a decision (case C-195/15) on the interpretation of “rights in rem” under article 5 of the Insolvency Regulation (Regulation 1346/2000). Meanwhile, this provision has been replaced by Article 8 of Regulation 2015/848, which will come into force on 26 June 2017. The same interpretation can reasonably be expected to apply to the latter article. Article 5…...

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This publication is only available in French....

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Privacy advocacy group Digital Rights Ireland is challenging the EU-US “Privacy Shield” (allowing for EU-US data transfers based on self-certification by US companies) before the EU’s General Court, accusing it of failing to provide sufficient guarantees to ensure adequate data protection. 1                 Background – invalidation of the EU-US “Safe Harbour” On 6 October 2015, in the “Schrems” case (C-362/14), the EU Court of Justice (the “CJEU”) ruled that the EU…...

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Click here to read the Real Estate Quarterly Q3 or view the document below....

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The notary public has the monopoly to organize a public sale of real estate. If real estate is sold through a public auction website, such sale can be annulled. In its judgment dated 9 June 2016, the Belgian Supreme Court  confirmed the legal monopoly of a notary public to organize and sell real estate through a public sale (“vente publique/openbare verkoop”). A public sale implies that the notary awards the…...

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As already mentioned in our Quarterly dated 1 July 2016, the Flemish Parliament adopted a new Decree on short-term retail leasing on 8 June 2016. By doing so, Flanders is the first Belgian Region to use its legislative competences in relation to lease legislation after such competence was attributed to it pursuant to the 6th State Reform. The new Decree on short-term retail leasing proposes an alternative to commercial leases…...

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As you may recall, in January 2016, on the occasion of the international “Data Protection Day”, we sent a news update reflecting on the highlights in the field of privacy and data protection in 2015 and briefly looked ahead at what to expect for 2016. Now that the summer holidays are over and as work, school, court cases, and legislative discussions resume, we would like to take a moment to…...

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This update aims to provide you with a practical overview of the most relevant changes resulting from the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), applicable as from 25 May 2018. This month’s issue discusses (new) rights of the data subject: Enhanced right to information and transparency Right of access and rectification Right to erasure or “right to be forgotten” Right to restriction Right to data portability What do these changes mean…...

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As of 1 August 2016, new specific legislation on fiscal regularisation entered into force in Belgium. For more information, we refer to our newsletter of 2 August 2016. Meanwhile, the model forms for submitting a regularisation declaration have been published in the Belgian Official Gazette. It is now possible to submit a regularisation declaration with the “Contactpunt regularisaties” in Brussels in accordance with the new legislation....