Investing: what changes in 2017?

  • Changes regarding fiscal legislation
  • Changes in the area of fiscal transparency

At the start of every new year, new rules and legislations apply, also on January 1st 2017. We will list the most important changes about investing here

Changes regarding fiscal legislation

In October 2016 the government approved a number of measures regarding fiscal legislation.These will apply as of January 1st 2017.

  • Dividends on shares will yield less profit next year. The withholding tax rate will rise from 27% to 30%. This rate has to be applied on most dividends and interests. The government does not touch savings accounts. Withholding tax does not have to be paid on the first 1800 euro of interests. On any amount on top of that 15% withholding tax will be charged.
  • Taxation on stock market movements will be adjusted: for every transaction the upper limits will become twice as high and the tax will also apply to Belgians doing transactions abroad. The upper limit will rise from 800 euros per transaction to 1600 euros per transaction. The 0.27% tax rate will remain the same.
  • If you would sell your shares within six months after purchase, you would have to pay 33% tax on the profit. The speculation tax on listed shares within 6 months after purchase will be abolished. Also, if you buy shares now and sell them on January 1st, you will avoid having to pay the speculation tax. The tax will be abolished because of its disappointing yield. The government even suffered losses because investors have traded fewer shares in 2016. This is why there were lower revenues from stock market taxes.

Changes regarding fiscal transparency

All member states of the European Union participate in the fight against tax evasion. Therefore, the exchange of financial information between national tax authorities of the member states will happen according to a new exchange standard in 2017. This will not only apply to interest rates, but also to dividends and profits.

This is about applying the new international “Common Reporting Standard” drafted by the OECD. Every person with a foreign bank account residing in one of the European member states is subject to this guideline. The adjustment will have no consequences for those who fulfill their tax obligation the way they should, through the declaration of movable income abroad.

Tax paradises have also signed Common Reporting Standard. Amongst others Liechtenstein and the Cayman Islands will also provide financial information to other member states.

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Author: San Meuleman

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