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Resident in Belgium, working in UK


I will shortly move to Belgium with my partner for c. 18 months. We currently live in the UK and I plan to continue my work in the UK remotely with the occasional commute back. I know that as a Belgian resident I will be liable for local income taxes on foreign income. I'm struggling to find practical info on how to go about my tax affairs and wondering if anyone in a similar situation has any guidance? Specifically can I claim tax relief at source in the UK or will that all happen in Belgium? Any pitfalls to look out for when proving foreign income and how it has been taxed abroad? And last but not least: what sort of financial hit can I expect? Income tax levels are considerably lower in the UK and after looking at various calculators it looks like where in the UK I'd pay about 25% in taxes overall in Belgium this would be more like 37%. Many thanks


Start by talking to the UKRC tax people about the situation. Even once you move to Belgium, it will take several weeks for you to become officially resident, so, by default at least, you will be officially resident in the UK for part of the next tax year, and, if you will only be here for 18 months, part of the next one as well. Given that, you may have difficulty in persuading the UKRC that you shouldn't be taxed in the UK (because you have only left the UK on a temporary basis and the fact that your income continues to originate there indicates that you are retaining strong links). Once you have that sorted, you can talk to the fisc in Belgium - who will, of course, have the starting point that you are resident in Belgium so you should be taxed in Belgium. Presumably you are currently self-employed in the UK so you will also need a Belgian accountant to take you through that minefield including the almost certain need to register for TVA and the social security arrangements.

Mar 7, 2018 13:58

Hi gronman, I would strongly suggest that you speak to an accountant about how to set yourself up. There are a variety of ways to do this, and what's best for you will depend on whether you remain an employee of a UK company, or if you are now a freelancer.

Yes the tax rates here are higher, but as someone who knows they're going to be moving between two tax jurisdictions in the next 18 months, there may be ways that you can save VERY significant amounts of income tax. For example, you may want to delay "officially" moving to Belgium until after April 5, so that you can still declare some of your UK income in the UK for the 2018/2019 tax year and take advantage of your tax free allowance in the UK, as well as in Belgium. By planning when you actually register in Belgium, you you can take advantage of tax free allowances in the UK and Belgium. Timing will be as important when you leave, as you also want to take advantage of stradling 2 tax years, and 2 personal allowances when you return.

The other issue that you'll need to sort out is National Insurance, and again, speaking to a properly qualified accountant is the best thing to do here.

If you are sure that you'll only be here for 18 months, and will be returning to the same job in the UK, my advice to you would be to do everything you can to remain "resident" in the U.K.

I'm assuming that you are going to be here as a trailing spouse, get their HR department to recommend an accountant who you can speak to.

Mar 7, 2018 16:23

Thanks for your replies. I will remain an employee of the UK company so hopefully that will simplify things. Also not moving until well after the start of the new UK tax year. I wasn't initially aware that you even needed to register in Belgium as an EU citizen but was planning on keeping my main residence in the UK. Far too easy! Good advice on how to find an accountant.

Mar 7, 2018 18:11

OK well if you are remaining an employee of your UK employer, you'll be considered as "détachement temporaire en Belgique". You absolutely need to speak to an accountant.

Mar 7, 2018 19:30

Happens quite a lot with people living in Ireland and working in the UK, so check with the inland revenue - they ought to be able to advise.

Of course, come 1st April 2019, you'll be stuffed, but that's a problem for the long term.

Mar 8, 2018 07:46

There may be a more simple way to deal with this. If your partner is working in Belgium, they will registere at the commune and get an ID card. Your partners tax affiars may be more complex depending on where they will be paid. For you, being paid in the UK, and just "visiting" your partner for long periods in Belgium, you should register with the same commune (law when you are in town for more than eight weeks). All social taxes will be charged via your partners financial transactions. You will have to make sure you both have the right health insurance. The Expat Welcome Desk will deal with this Amelie Bovy - +32.2.430.6613 - Office is close to Schuman. good luck. We meet every Thursday for a coffee morning 10h00 to 13h00 - 47, Blvd Saint Michele, 1040 Brrusles - Montgomery Metro.

Mar 8, 2018 09:14

I see, I would register under the family reunification rules as a spouse? I suspect that the tax authorities would still want to know what I do for a living though...? Those are very helpful links, thank you.

I can see how I could be considered a "posted" worker but it would be a very misleading interpretation. I could work from my car for all my employer cares as long as the job gets done. I've just found out that we have a Belgian accountant acquaintance so will post back about any findings.

Re Brexit nobody really knows how things will look on the 1 April 2019. I've made sure I won't be stuffed and hope agreements will be reached to ensure that not many others are either.

Mar 8, 2018 22:34

@ GRONMAN "I can see how I could be considered a "posted" worker but it would be a very misleading interpretation."

It's not really about how you perceive your job. It's about the fact that you will be living and resident in Belgium here for tax purposes, but you will be an employee of a company that does not have a Belgian payroll. So long as you remain employed by a non-Belgian company, your status will be as a "posted" employee.

For example, normally, as an employee in Belgium, there are employer social security contributions to be made, you are paid 13.92 months every year, you have taxes and social security deducted at source etc. etc. As an employee of a non resident company, you and they will have to comply with certain regulations, which are all covered by the "posted worker" status.

Mar 9, 2018 09:57