The tax authorities have just published an administrative circular concerning the timing of the registration with Belspo for the exemption from the payment of the withholding tax for researchers (circular 2023/C/49 of 27 April 2023).
This circular follows a recent decision of the Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) dated January 6, 2023 in which the Court ruled that registration with Belspo must be made prior to the start date of the R&D project or program.
This position of the Supreme is stricter than that of the tax administration, which required the registration to take place before the moment the exemption is applied in the withholding tax returns (and therefore in some cases after the start of the project or program).
In its circular, the tax authorities indicate that they will apply the stricter interpretation of the Supreme Court as of August 1, 2023. Nothing changes for projects or programs notified before this date.
This new point of view may have important consequences for the application of the exemption from withholding tax, in particular when projects or programs are updated on the Belspo platform. To secure the application of the exemption, it is essential to ensure that notifications comply with the new conditions.
Do not hesitate to contact Egide for a review of your Belspo notification process.