Working and doing business internationally

Both privately and professionally, people have become much more mobile. Law, on the other hand, is to a large extent a national matter. This can lead to conflicts of laws in cross-border situations: two different legislations can apply to one and the same situation.

Within the European Union, legislation has been passed to combat such conflicts in family relationships. Conflicts of laws regarding contracts are also dealt with at a European level. The same applies to the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments and foreign deeds.

Taxes are also a national matter, potentially resulting in double taxation for those who work or do business abroad. Belgium has an extensive network of double taxation treaties to combat double taxation, but also to combat double non-taxation. A tax specialist with international expertise can advise you on this.

If you are going to do business, work or migrate internationally, it is wise to be well informed in advance. You can do this based on the following questions.

Working abroad

  • When am I a Belgian resident for tax purposes and therefore taxable in Belgium on my worldwide income? You are a resident if your principal place of residence is situated in Belgium or if the “seat of your fortune” is located in Belgium. You are also a resident if you are registered in the Belgian national register. For partners, they are assumed to be Belgian residents if the family abode is in Belgium.

  • How do I prove my physical presence in the country of employment? This can be done with all kinds of means: from your employment contract to receipts, account statements, invoices, etc.

  • How many days can I telework from my Belgian residence without being taxed on my wages in Belgium? This varies from country to country, but is (in normal times) usually limited to about 20 days.

  • Where is my foreign pension taxed?
  • As an artist or sportsman I have foreign income. Where is it taxed?
  • I am a professor and teach abroad. Where is my foreign income taxed?
  • Where is a foreign property taxed?
  • My child lives abroad. How do I handle a donation of a family business? Among other things, it must be ascertained whether the child has to pay foreign gift tax.

International businesses

  • When do I have a permanent establishment abroad as a company or company? And where is the profit taxed? Example: a Belgian lawyer who also has an office in the Netherlands or works there as a lawyer has a permanent establishment in the Netherlands. The profit that can be allocated to the permanent establishment is then taxed in the Netherlands under the double taxation treaty. Belgium exempts that profit. This prevents double taxation.

  • Is a Belgian holding company interesting from a tax perspective? In Belgian corporate income tax, capital gains on shares are completely exempt (under certain conditions). In Belgian personal income tax, non-speculative private capital gains are not taxable.

    And many other questions that may concern you as an international entrepreneur:

  • I want to integrate a Belgian holding into an international group? Or vice versa. What are the tax consequences in Belgium?
  • How will my foreign interest or dividends be taxed?
  • I am a director of a foreign company. Where are directors’ fees taxed?

How do we handle your question?

We provide structure (what first), involve the important aspects of the subject and advise you on the tax regime, the various steps and possible optimizations. If necessary, we will assist you in judicial proceedings.


Do you need a solution for your question? Please feel free to contact us.