Budget agreement: An overview of the main measures

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The federal government reached a new budget agreement for 2022 on various social and tax measures. It has turned into a post-COVID-19 agreement that seeks to relaunch the Belgian economy and to keep budget deficit under control. This agreement also continues the road to a more sustainable and ecological tax system. We are pleased to list the most important measures for you.

First employee

Currently, the employer benefits from an unlimited exemption from social contributions for the first employee recruited. This exemption will be limited to 4,000 EUR euro per quarter.

Sick note

For the first day of absence from work, the employee will not have to submit a sick note anymore to his or her employer. However, this possibility will be limited to three times a year and does not apply to SMEs with less than 50 employees. It will also still be possible to send a control doctor to visit the employee.

Reduction of charges

A reduction of charges for employees will be introduced. It will result in 50 EUR extra net income for a single person with limited income, and 150 EUR for a couple. This is achieved through an additional work bonus and the reduction of the special social security contributions.

Energy bill

The agreement provides for a reduction in the energy bill through the introduction of an excise duty linked to a cliquet system that will replace the current federal taxes. Such a cliquet system is intended to ensure less violent price fluctuations. In fact, using this system, the taxes will decrease when prices increase.

Professional diesel

The tax advantage for diesel in the transport sector will be phased out. In return, there will be an increased investment deduction to support investments in zero-carbon emission trucks and charging infrastructure.

Excise duties on tobacco

In addition to the already announced increase of excise duties on tobacco products as of 2022, a legal framework will be enacted for new tobacco products such as e-cigarettes. The intention is to introduce a new excise category for this type of tobacco products as of 1 January 2024.

Favourable tax regime for high-level athletes

After a lot of commotion, the tax advantage for e.g. professional football players, whereby their social security contribution is calculated on a fictious gross salary of 2,352 EUR, will disappear. The government is also limiting the tax deduction of professional expenses on brokerage commissions.

Favourable regimes for expats

Foreign executives currently benefit from a double tax advantage in Belgium, with this favourable regime being applied unlimited in time. The government intends to tackle this favourable regime by introducing stricter conditions and a time limitation.  

Exemption of withholding tax on wages

The system providing an exemption for the payment of withholding tax on wages will be reformed. This wage subsidy is now used for, among others, night or shift work and overtime.

VAT for Airbnb’s

The owners of furnished accommodations can currently, under certain conditions, opt for the VAT exemption for small businesses. This came in for criticism from the hotel sector, which faces fierce competition from businesses such as Airbnb. The government has now decided to remove this advantage, which means that there is no longer an option to benefit from this VAT exemption.

Amicable settlement no longer tax deductible

The government will clearly state in the law that amicable settlements leading to the suppression of the criminal procedure will no longer be tax deductible as a business expense.

Fight against tax fraud

The FPS Finance is stepping up its fight against tax fraud by hiring extra staff. This investment must ensure a better tax collection through additional audits on multinationals and transfer pricing regulations.

It is important to note that these measures are still a draft law. This means that they still have to go through the entire approval process and can therefore, in principle, still be amended.

If you have any questions regarding these measures, please do not hesitate to contact our experts.