On 26 February 2021 a new annual tax on securities accounts entered into force. The TSA applies to securities accounts. Its application does not depend on the person who holds the account.
For the TSA, securities accounts are accounts to which financial instruments (of whatever kind) may be credited or debited, regardless of whether the securities account is held in undivided ownership or in split ownership (bare ownership / usufruct). The latter is considered to be a matter for the parties.
With regard to Belgian residents, the TSA applies to their worldwide securities accounts (of whatever kind). Residents include natural persons, legal entities with a separate legal personality taxable in corporate income tax (companies), not-profit generating legal entities with a separate legal personality taxable in legal entities income tax (such as vzw – asbl – VoG, foundations, …) and natural persons or legal entities (taxable in legal entities income tax) that are founders of legal structures for the cayman tax.
With regard to non-resident natural persons, companies or legal entities taxable in non-resident income tax, the TSA applies to the following securities accounts:
- Belgian securities accounts, i.e., securities accounts held by a Belgian intermediary
- Securities accounts of a Belgian establishment of a non-resident, regardless of where the intermediary is situated
The taxable financial instruments include the cash on the securities account. The taxable base is the average value of the taxable financial instruments during the reference period. The tax must be paid if the average value exceeds 1 million EUR (the threshold).
The annual reference period is the period from 1 October to 30 September. Since the TSA entered into force in 2021, the first reference period started on 26 February 2021. Within the reference period, the reference times to calculate the average value are 31 December, 31 March, 30 June and 30 September.
The tariff of the TSA is 0,15 per cent, although a correction mechanism applies to avoid that due to the payment of the TSA the taxable base would decrease below the threshold.
When a securities account is opened or closed during the reference period, the reference times at which the account existed are taken into account for the calculation of the TSA.
The closing includes the situation where the holder becomes a resident of a state with which Belgium has concluded a double taxation treaty and whereby that treaty has the effect that the power to tax the assets in the securities account accrues to the other state. Is also targeted the situation where the securities account no longer forms part of the business assets of a Belgian establishment of a non-resident, if the result is that Belgium would no longer be competent to tax the assets on the securities account. A ‘closing’ also takes place if the account no longer meets the definition of a securities account.
Anti-abuse rules are put in place to avoid merely artificial arrangements to avoid the TSA.
It must be noted that the law implementing the TSA also installed a general anti-abuse rule for the other miscellaneous taxes than the TSA, comparable to the general anti-abuse rule in income tax.
The tax must be withheld by the Belgian intermediaries. In such circumstances the resident or non-resident holder of the securities account does not have to fulfill any other formalities. Foreign intermediaries may appoint a Belgian representative. In other circumstances the above-mentioned residents and non-resident holders of a securities account have a duty to declare in their annual tax declaration.