Belgian tax laws hitting teleworkers employed abroad

The health crisis has forged many changes, with greater lenience towards teleworking being among those with the biggest positive impact for employees, but not for those employed by companies across the border in France. Employees who work from their home in Belgium are now taxed in Belgium, at a higher rate than colleagues who reside in France, RTBF reports.

Belgian residents who work in France ordinarily pay taxes on their earnings in France. During the pandemic, people living abroad and working in Belgium (or vice versa) could work from home without this impacting their social security or taxes. Such an agreement was also made between France and Belgium.

However, from 30 June, the situation reverted to the pre-pandemic system, meaning that employees who work from their home in Belgium and are not physically working in their office abroad, are now taxed in Belgium, at a higher rate than colleagues who reside in France, RTBF reports.

Teleworking when employed by a company abroad but living in Belgium is therefore less attractive, as employees aren't able to keep the same net salary as their co-workers in France.

One woman who works for a company based in Lille and lives in the Walloon municipality of Estaimpuis, says this tax discrepancy is having a detrimental effect on Belgian employees.

"My whole team is working from home two days a week, it's only me who has to go into the office every day", she says. “I'm forced to refuse working from home because I have a sword of Damocles hanging over my head in the form of taxes."

Meanwhile, French employers also fear having to pay social charges in Belgium when their staff telework.

Cross-border workers are therefore calling for a new agreement between France and Belgium regarding teleworking to take into account the fact that more employers are allowing for this. Belgium and Luxembourg have already made such a deal.


© PHOTO Mathieu Thomasset / Hans Lucas


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