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Posted Thu, 10 Mar 2022 19:48:15 GMT by Elizabeth Somerville
Hi I am trying to assist an elderly friend of 90yrs of age He has been here for over 20 yrs and has always paid his tax on his Belgium pension here in the U.K last year he was sent a tax form from Brussels he did not understand how to fill it in I sent it back unfilled with proof of the last 5yrs tax paid here and heard nothing we just found out that they stopped his pension in January this year so has no income he phoned the Brussels tax office but between his hearing and not being able to explain his problem I asked him to see if they had someone who spoke English they came on the phone and would not speak to me I don't know how else to help him and he is really upset and nervous as he has no money coming in any suggestings would be most welcome
Posted Mon, 14 Mar 2022 13:51:03 GMT by HMRC Admin 17

The Belgian tax authority now requires any individual who is not a resident of Belgium and who is in receipt of any source of income from Belgium (e.g. employment income, pension, interest etc.). to complete a ‘Non-Residents Declaration tax form’ for every tax year.

This change only effects the 2019 and subsequent tax years, and as a result, customers should expect a very similar form (if not identical) to arrive in late
2021 to complete in respect of the 2020 Belgian tax year.

If you are unsure why your friend has been sent a form, they will need to try and contact the belgian authorities again as foreign tax authorities are completely free to set their own rules as to what paper work their customers are required to complete, and HMRC has no authority to intervene in this regard.

In terms of the form itself,  the Belgian tax authority has confirmed that more information on this form, along with instruction on how UK residents should complete it, can be found online (in English) using the link shown below


All Belgian sourced pensions (including Belgian State Pensions) are taxable under Article 18 (a) or (b) of the UK-Belgium double taxation treaty.
To summarise:

• Belgian Pension started (or was paid) BEFORE 1 January 2013 = Taxable only in the UK and exempt from Belgian tax
• Belgian Pension started (or was paid) ON OR AFTER 1 January 2013 = Exempt from UK tax and taxable only in Belgium

If you then believe your friend's Belgian pension has been taxed in the UK incorrectly and that it should be taxed only in Belgium, please write to HMRC to make a formal repayment claim via our usual Overpayment Relief Provision at Schedule 1AB TMA 1970:

Self Assessment tax returns  .

Thank you.

Posted Mon, 14 Mar 2022 13:57:10 GMT by Gary Coombs
Hi, I thought I posted a reply to this but it has not appeared for some reason - how strange... Have a look at the thread on here called "UK Belgium Tax Treaty" and in particular the HMRC entry as the 4th one down on page 5. The treaty has been re-interpreted and Belgian State Pensions that came into payment before 2013 are now agreed to be taxable in Belgium, not in the UK. Hope this helps.
Posted Mon, 14 Mar 2022 14:49:49 GMT by Gary Coombs
Hi HMRC Admin 17, The two bullets at the end of your post above appear to conflict with the position set out in the "UK Belgium Tax Treaty" thread where your colleague said, "Hi, HMRC has now had further discussion with the Belgian tax authorities. This response will provide further details on the taxation of Belgian State pensions as well as the options available for those who are affected by the issue. Treatment of pensions in UK/Belgium Double taxation agreement (DTA) Under the pre-2013 DTA, all pensions (apart from Government-service pensions) were taxable only in the country in which the recipient was resident. This changed from 1 January 2013 so that all pensions (apart from Government-service pensions) became taxable only in the country in which the pension arises (that is, the country from which the pension is paid). Pensions that were already being paid prior to 1 January 2013 are dealt with by a “grandfathering clause” in the amended DTA (sub-paragraph (b) of Article 18). You can find the full text of the UK/Belgium DTA here: Belgium: tax treaties The ”grandfathering clause” in sub-paragraph (b) of Article 18 applies to pensions and other similar remuneration “under a pension scheme”. This does not include State pensions. The definition of a UK pension scheme explicitly excludes State pensions (or “social security pensions”). Although the corresponding Belgian definition is not as explicit, the Belgian tax authorities have confirmed that a Belgian State pension (which they refer to as a “first pillar” pension) does not meet the conditions and is therefore not considered to be a pension constituted under a pension scheme. While both governments had intended a different outcome from the 2013 protocol (as is clear from the explanatory notes of both governments), the unfortunate reality is that the intended outcome was not achieved by the legal drafting. This means that both the UK and Belgian tax authorities are legally obligated to apply the actual terms of the agreement. Belgian taxation The realisation of this error coincided with new rules in Belgium that require all non-residents to submit tax returns in Belgium if they have any Belgian-sourced income (that is, income that arises in Belgium). That has led to the Belgian tax authorities implementing this change for the Belgian tax year 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. It should be noted that under Belgium’s domestic law, they are able to assess earlier years if they make a specific intervention, though we have seen no reports of this having happened where the only Belgian-source income has been a State pension. For 2020, 2021 and future years, Belgium will be taxing all Belgian State pensions received by UK-residents regardless of when they were first paid. That income will not be taxable in the UK. What you should do if you have been receiving a Belgian State pension It is likely, at this stage, that you have only been taxed in Belgium on your Belgian State pension from the Belgian tax-year 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. However, we understand from the Belgium authorities that they can also assess the income for the tax-year 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. You do not need to wait for a further assessment from Belgium to reclaim the UK tax paid on your Belgian State pension for the past 4 years. You should therefore make a claim for repayment of UK tax for the following years: 6 April 2017 to 5 April 2018 6 April 2018 to 5 April 2019 6 April 2019 to 5 April 2020 6 April 2020 to 5 April 2021 You can claim a refund up to 4 years after the end of the tax year to which it relates. You can find details of how to make a claim here: Claim a tax refund Thank you." To summarise, although HMRC thought Belgian state pensions paid before 2013 fall within Article 18(b), thus being taxable only in the UK, that is no longer the agreed interpretation of 18(b) and such pensions are also taxable only in Belgium. Or am I missing something?
Posted Tue, 15 Mar 2022 08:03:10 GMT by HMRC Admin 17

Apologies for the confusions.

State pensions are not covered by the granfathering law and are theefore taxable only in Belguim.

General pensions will be based on whether the payment was in place in 2013 or not. 

Thank you.

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