Measures taken by regional authorities
The Belgian federal authorities launched a first series of measures to address the COVID-19 outbreak on 6 March 2020. Several other measures followed. The regional authorities have also announced certain measures.
Hereafter we provide you with a summary of the recent measures that have already been taken by the regional authorities.
Measures taken by the Flemish government
- The assessment notices regarding immovable withholding taxes for businesses will only be sent in September 2020 (instead of March 2020)
- When small businesses are forced to close their business or stay open (or reopen), but suffer a loss of turnover of at least 60%, they can apply for a tax-free premium to compensate for their loss of business (‘hinderpremie’ and ‘compensatiepremie’)
- Businesses can defer payment of the annual road tax for 4 months
- Individuals investing in the Flemish ‘Welvaartsfonds’ can benefit from a tax reduction. The shares in the fund are also subject to reduced inheritance tax. Businesses can go to the fund for a capital increase or a loan.
- The conditions and tax incentives linked to the ‘Winwinlening’ are loosened and made more attractive. A similar regime will be introduced for share participations (‘vriendenaandelen’).
- The Flemish Tax Authority has granted a general extension of the deadlines for inheritance and registration tax purposes. The deadlines are extended to two months after the end of the period of application of the corona measures. For example, heirs that had to file an inheritance tax return by 28 March 2020 at the latest, must now file this return at the latest on 3 July 2020 (two months after the end of the period of corona measures). The filing deadline will be automatically extended if the corona measures remain in force for a longer period.
- The Flemish legislator has introduced an additional possibility for the heirs of a deceased person whose inheritance contains an investment portfolio of listed securities. The heirs already had the choice to declare in the inheritance tax return (1) the value of these securities at the date of death, (2) one month after the date or (3) two months after the date of death.
The Flemish legislator has now introduced a temporary possibility to opt for the value these securities have three months after the date of death. This additional option is available if the deceased passed away between 13 September/October/November 2019 (depending on the place of death of the deceased) and 30 September 2020. If the heirs filed the inheritance tax return before 21 April 2020, they can file a new return in which they can ask to modify their previous choice in order to make use of this new possibility.
The Flemish authorities will show flexibility regarding the conditions for support measures and subsidies which have already been granted to businesses.
Measures taken by the Walloon government
The Walloon government has created a crisis fund of 100 million EUR to support sectors affected by the coronavirus crisis.
- Taxpayers will benefit from a suspension of the tax filing and payment deadlines during the crisis. For example, deadlines for inheritance and registration duties will be postponed by (maximum) 4 months and the first notices of assessment of immovable withholding tax (AY 2020) will only be sent in August.
- Deadlines for claims against assessment will be frozen
- Negative administrative decisions will be frozen. However, all positive decisions will be applied.
- Moderation of current recovery procedures, payment plans will be facilitated
- All physical and correspondence audits are eliminated
- Administrative fines for the mileage tax will be moderated.
- Conversion of mortgage mandate into mortgage reduced to 0%
- Period of 2 years for partial reimbursement of registration rights in case of resale suspended as from 18 March 2020.
- (Very) small businesses in certain sectors can ask for a tax-free compensation if they are forced to close
- Compensation of 2.500 EUR for self-employed / companies that benefited from the “overbruggingsrecht/droit passerelle” and had to interrupt their activity substantially
- Mobilization of regional agencies (SOWALFIN, SOGEPA-Wallonie Santé Group, SRIW) via loans, guarantees, frozen reimbursements, etc.
- Overview of additional support measures taken by the Walloon government
Measures taken by the Brussels government
- A one-off tax-free premium for some sectors (horeca, travel, retail, …) which are affected by the emergency measures and are forced to close.
- A premium for small businesses whose activities have been considerably reduced because of the corona measures.
- The postponement of the payment deadline for road taxes and immovable withholding tax.
- Extension of filing and payment periods for inheritance and registration duties.
- The abolition of the regional City Tax for the first semester of 2020.
- Government guarantees on bank loans for 20 million EUR.
- The accelerated treatment of grants of expansion support for certain sectors (horeca, tourism, culture and events).