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The Legal & Taxation Committee and its Subcommittees: A strong advocacy program in 2020

Ferenc Ballegeer, FB-Tax & Private Wealth Law, An De Reymaeker, Vandendijk & Partners, and Karolien Vandenberghe, PwC Legal

The Legal & Taxation Committee, one of AmCham Belgium’s advocacy Committees, monitors significant legal and tax developments in Belgium, taking into account relevant EU and international aspects. The Committee’s goal is to assist the Chamber in formulating informed positions on legislative and administrative measures that affect its members and, more generally, the international business community in Belgium.

The Committee’s work is spread through several topical Subcommittees, as the program is both highly specialized and diverse.

The Digital Tax Subcommittee, for example, is focusing on the digital services tax. Its position paper on this topic will be published in March. This Subcommittee also recently provided extensive input into the public consultation on the OECD’s Pillar I and Pillar II proposals to reform international tax rules.

At the same time, the OECD’s ‘BEPS 2.0’ initiative will continue to be monitored by the Tax Horizon 2025 Subcommittee.

As the UK formally exited the EU on January 31, the negotiations between the two parties on their future relationship are followed closely in the VAT and Customs & Trade Subcommittees. Alongside Brexit, the VAT Subcommittee is reviewing the Belgian Circular Letter on the implementation of the ‘EU VAT quick fixes,’ published in December 2019.

The Employee Tax Subcommittee has already drafted several position papers. Over the coming months, it will continue to focus especially on solutions to ensure Belgium's attractiveness for highly-skilled foreign executives and professionals. The Subcommittee will also continue to underline the importance of safeguarding Belgium’s R&D tax incentives – particularly the withholding tax exemption for qualified employees – in order to attract and keep foreign investments in Belgian innovation. AmCham Belgium’s position paper on R&D tax incentives will be the subject of an upcoming blog post.

Regarding regional taxation, the Regional Tax Subcommittee program is growing, reflecting the existing complexity in Belgium resulting from diverging tax rules in the three regions of the country. In January, the Subcommittee issued a position paper on the Flemish property tax on mat & out.

Finally, since its successful (re-)launch in 2018, the Legal Subcommittee has continued to monitor and inform the membership on pertinent legal developments, such as the new company code and GDPR.

In addition to staying informed, exchanging views and developing and advocating appropriate positions, the Legal & Taxation Committee organizes seminars, roundtables and webinars on topics relevant for the international business community in Belgium. Currently, the Committee – which dedicated a Subcommittee to Customs & Trade – will support a specialized trade event on export controls and sanctions on March 5. Furthermore, a timely Brexit webinar will be hosted later in March.

About the authors

Ferenc Ballegeer, Lawyer, FB-Tax & Private Wealth Law

Ferenc is Chair of the Regional Taxation Subcommittee.

An De Reymaeker, Tax Lawyer-Partner, Vandendijk & Partners

An is Chair of the Employee Taxation Subcommittee and a Vice-Chair of our Legal & Taxation Committee.

Karolien Vandenberghe, Customs & Trade Attorney, PwC Legal

Karolien is Chair of the Customs & Trade Subcommittee.