How to open a regional office in Brussels?

Opening a regional office in Brussels involves a wide range of formalities. Before opening an office, we suggest to contact Karin Impens, Deputy director of the Europe.Brussels Liaison Office, at kimpens@vbbe.be or 02 234 57 41.

At present, regional and city offices have no official status in Belgium, which means that their staff do not enjoy the privileges and immunities of national representations. It therefore can be very useful to apply for a regional certificate at the Brussels-Capital Region, which will simplify your administrative contacts here in Brussels.

We have summarised some other practical hints in this section.

Taxes
  • Federal tax

Regional representation offices are staffed by people who have been sent by their region for a fixed period. This can be for a maximum of five years. Employees in this position maintain the social security rights of their country of origin and can choose whether they are resident in Belgium for tax purposes. Those who come from an EU region can register with a Belgian health insurance fund by filling in the relevant form issued by their country of origin (such as form E106, E128 or the blue cart).

  • Regional tax imposed on companies and the self-employed

Regional tax is paid by individuals who on 1 January of the tax year are using a building in Brussels Region to carry out a professional activity at their own expense. This includes self-employed professionals. The activity in question can be profit-making or not. The regulation applies to entities or associations which have the use of a building in Brussels Region on 1 January of the relevant tax year as a seat of social, administrative, business or production activity. This tax was set at €89,90 in 2007. The regional tax is used for services provided by the region, such as public transport, the fire department, household rubbish collection and job creation.

  • Regional tax imposed on heads of household

This is a tax on private indivuduals rather than businesses. Every head of household in the Region has to pay an annual tax of €89,90, unless they fall into a category that allows them to claim an exemption. This tax is based on the household situation on 1 January of the tax year. The tax is imposed on all heads of household who are using a building in Brussels Region on 1 January 2007 as a principal or secondary residence. The tax authorities determine the head of household on the basis of the municipal population registers.

  • Property tax

Owners of buildings not used for housing are required to pay a property tax, which is determined by the number of square metres. Regional representation offices in Brussels would pay this tax if they were renting a building from an owner who had incorporated the tax into the rent. The tax rate was set in 2007 at €7,01 per square metre, but an exemption is granted in the case of properties less than 300 square metres (or less than 2,500 square metres in the case of industrial premises or workshops). Exemptions are also granted for buildings used for social activities, such as churches, cultural centres, sports centres and crèches.

Vat reimbursement

A regional office can in certain circumstances apply for VAT to be repaid. To be eligible, the regional representation must pay VAT in the country of origin. The following office deals with VAT reimbursement:

Bureau central de T.V.A. pour assujettis étrangers (service remboursements)
Tour Sablon- 25th floor
Rue J. Stevens 7
1000 Brussels
Tel.: (+32) 2 552 59 77 or 82

More intormation is given on www.fisconet.be. The databank (available in French and Dutch) has information on subjects such as VAT, Belgian legislation, European directives, the 8th European directive on reclaiming VAT (for EU citizens) and the 13th directive on reclaiming VAT (for non-EU citizens)

Limosa declaration

If you are a non-Belgian employee or self-employed person and you carry out temporary or partial assignments in Belgium, you must declare these activities in advance. Apprentices who do all or part of their work placement in Belgium must also be declared. Looking for more information? Visit www.limosa.be or call  00 32/2 788 51 57

Work permits

In Belgium a distinction is made between a residence permit and a work permit