A proposal for a digital services tax in Belgium has been reintroduced.
The proposal for a digital services tax was initially introduced in Belgium in January 2019, but put on hold with the general elections in May 2019. The proposal was then reintroduced in July 2019, but was not discussed in the parliament.
An amended version of the initial digital services tax proposal was added in June 2020 to the agenda of a parliamentary committee. The amendments to the proposal generally reflect a May 2020 conclusion of the Supreme Administrative Court that the original digital services tax proposal could possibly be contested as state aid in violation of the EU Treaty and possibly also interfere with the principle of equality in the Belgian constitution.
As proposed, a digital services tax would impose a tax at a rate of 3% on enterprises that generate revenue from the following activities:
Entities subject to the proposed digital services tax would have worldwide revenue for the relevant financial year exceeding €750 million and revenue derived from digital activities in Belgium exceeding €5 million. The tax would be proposed to apply until such time that a digital services tax is enacted at the EU or OECD level.
Following last year’s elections, a “caretaker” government is still in place in Belgium. Thus, members of parliament can undertake legislative initiatives and form majorities to pass legislation, including the digital services tax proposal. Whether the current proposal would have sufficient support to be passed remains to be seen. According to reports in the general press, it appears that support in parliament is growing.
With the summer parliamentary recess approaching, discussion on the proposal for a Belgian digital services tax may be delayed until the autumn. The national holiday on 21 July marks the formal start of the summer break in Belgium.
Read a July 2020 report prepared by the KPMG member firm in Belgium
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