Tax cuts and hikes in Brussels

The government of the Brussels-Capital Region presented it 2016 budget at a press conference on Sunday evening. The Brussels Budget Minister Guy Vanhengel (Flemish liberal) has succeeded in balancing the budget. Mr Vanhengel and the other members of the regional government led by the Francophone socialist Rudi Vervoort also announced a number of fiscal reforms that will have an impact on those living in the capital and those with property in Brussels.

As well as the Brussels “tax shift”, an investment plan in the public transport was announced as was a reform to the support the Brussels capital region gives to businesses.

Integration courses that are already obligatory for non-EU migrants in Flanders will also become obligatory in Brussels.

Ter Brussels "tax shift"

The fiscal reforms announced on Sunday evening will be introduced in two stages. From next year the 89 euro/household annual Regional Tax will be scrapped, as will the 1% extra income tax payable as an Agglomeration Tax.

This comes more than a quarter of a century since the Brussels Agglomeration was abolished and the Brussels-Capital Region set up in 1989.

Property tax is set to rise by 12%. However, property owners that live in the Brussels-Capital Region will receive a flat rate rebate of 120 euro/annum.

From 2016 the level of gift tax levied on real estate will be reduced, as was the case this year in Flanders.

From 2017, mortgage tax relief will be scrapped. Instead those buying a property will be given a 22,500 euro rebate on their stamp duty.

The rebate will only be valid for properties under 500,000 euro. Properties above half a million euro will still be subject to the normal rate of 12.5% stamp duty that is valid in the Brussels-Capital Region.

From 2017 those living in the Brussels-Capital Region will enjoy a 0.5% reduction on their income tax.

The idea behind the measures is to make the capital a more attractive place to live for middle class individuals and families.
The price of so-called “service cheques” that can be used to pay for household chores such as cleaning will remain at 9 euro/cheque. However, the percentage of their value that can be set off against tax will be reduced to 15%.

Fares frees on public transport

Next year, the price of tickets and season tickets to use the services of the Brussels public transport company MIVB will not rise. Families will children will benefit from a reduction in the price they pay for their children’s pupils’ season tickets.

The price of a pupils’ season ticket or the first child in a family will fall from 120 to 50 euro/annum. The price for a second child will remain at 50 euro/annum.

Any further children from the same family will be entitled to a free season ticket, as is currently already the case. The Brussels Regional Government also agreed to an investment plan for MIVB that amounts to 5.2 billion euro over the next 10 years.

© Reporters / Michel Gouverneur