Belgium has extended the scope of the withholding tax exemption for dividends in its internal tax law since 1 January 2007. Dividends paid to companies in non-EU tax treaty countries can benefit from the exemption if that treaty or any other treaty provides for the exchange of information necessary for the application of the national legislation. So far, the tax treaty with Switzerland did not meet that condition.
However, Switzerland has recently ratified the OECD/Council of Europe convention on mutual administrative assistance in tax matters. It will enter into force as from 1 January 2017. This convention provides for such an exchange of information .
As a result, dividends paid to a Swiss company can benefit from the extended internal withholding tax exemption as from 1 January 2017, provided that the following conditions are met:
In addition, dividends from participations of less than 10%, but at least 2,5 MEUR can benefit from the reduced withholding tax of 1,6995% under similar conditions (implementation of the Tate & Lyle case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union).
So far, dividends paid to a Swiss company could only benefit from an exemption of withholding tax based on the agreement concluded between the EU and Switzerland in 2004.
This exemption is only granted if the following conditions are met:
A comparison shows that, as from 1 January 2017, the conditions for the withholding tax exemption of dividends will become much more beneficial.
 Belgium and Switzerland have also concluded an amendment to their tax treaty which also contains such a provision, but that treaty will not enter into force in the immediate future (ratification still pending).
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