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What do I need to pay attention to before coming to Belgium and starting a new self-employed business?

– First, are you a citizen of the EU or will you need a professional card?
– Do you have a work contract from your employer or an agency?
Rent contracts? When choosing a place to live it is VERY IMPORTANT to pay attention to the rent contact, especially the phrasing pertaining to the percentage for a business: is it acceptable or not?

1/ Rent contract information

  1. The majority of Belgian residential contracts are standard and don’t allow a tax deduction for professional rent. It is clearly stipulated. Tax deducting the rent nonetheless would then be a breach against the signed rent contract and is therefore not advisable.
  2. Is it possible to do something about this clause? YES, regularly Leuven Accountants will see that clients negotiate the rent contract and succeed to tax deduct (part of) the rent. However occasionally landlords simply don’t want to cooperate. If the landlord is a legal entity, they have a tendency to cooperate more.
  3. Leuven Accountants is willing to consult with you before the signing of the contract.

2/ Rent tax deduction from a general fiscal perspective

  1. Leuven Accountants has clients who commute to Belgium Monday through Friday for professional services. These clients can either stay in a hotel or look for a temporary professional business flat. Tax deduction of the rent is 100%. It may be more expensive, however it will guarantee the 100% tax deduction. If you chose to find a less expensive place, please be aware of the rent contract clauses (especially if landlord is an individual).
  2. The client is not a “commuter”, but now is an expat having no other home address except for the rent contract that will be signed in Belgium. What is the difference in regard to the rent contract? It is no longer 100% tax deductible, because there is private use. There is a possibility of up to 35% deduction of the rent depending upon the ratio of the area used as work office space in comparison to total home surface area. Again the rent contract will need to allow this. If you have further questions, please contact Leuven Accountants.

Once you have chosen a city to live in, you must go and register at the commune (city government building) for an identity card. Lastly, while traveling keep your expenses and receipts in order so that they maybe used for setting up the business.