The tax treaty with Belgium
Do you live in the Netherlands and enjoy income from Belgium? Or do you live in Belgium and enjoy income from the Netherlands? The tax treaty between the Netherlands and Belgium contains rules and agreements about where you pay tax in your situation. The agreements in the tax treaty are binding and always take precedence over national legislation in the Netherlands or Belgium.
Belgium is also subject to the multilateral tax treaty (known as the ‘multilateral instrument’). This instrument replaces or amends certain parts of the tax treaty between the Netherlands and Belgium. More information on this is given at rijksoverheid.nl (Dutch only).
You may have to file a tax return in Belgium and in the Netherlands.
You pay tax in the country where you work
The treaty prevents you from paying double tax, but also prevents you from paying tax in both countries. You therefore pay tax on your income either in Belgium or in the Netherlands. The main rule is that you pay tax in the country where you work (your country of employment). Read the exceptions below.
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You are temporarily employed in the Netherlands or Belgium
Do you live in the Netherlands and pay tax on your wages in the Netherlands? And are you going to work temporarily in Belgium for your Dutch employer? In that case, you will continue to pay tax in the Netherlands. This scheme also applies the other way around, so if you live in Belgium, pay tax on your wages in Belgium, and temporarily work for your Belgian employer in the Netherlands. In that case, you will continue to pay tax in Belgium.
You must, however, meet these conditions:
- During a 12-month period, you do not stay in the country of employment for more than a total of 183 days for your job.
The period of 12 months does not have to be in 1 calendar year. The maximum number of days does not have to be consecutive either. Regular work stoppages while staying in the country of employment, such as sick days, weekends and public holidays, also count towards the total of 183.
- You do not work in the country of employment on behalf of a permanent establishment of your employer.
Your employer has a permanent establishment if he permanently uses a business space such as a factory, workshop, warehouse or sales area in your temporary work country.
If you are in Belgium for more than 183 days or if the Belgian permanent establishment pays your wage costs, you will pay tax on your wages in Belgium.
You work for an enterprise of your employer
Is your employer asking you to move to the Netherlands or Belgium to work there temporarily for an enterprise of his company, for example, a subsidiary? In that case, you pay tax on the wages you earn with that work in the country where the (subsidiary) enterprise is located.
By 'working for your employer's enterprise' we mean that this (subsidiary) enterprise pays you the wages itself, or that your employer passes on the wage costs to that (subsidiary) enterprise.
You work for the government
If you work for the government, you pay tax on the income you earn from that work in the country in which you work for the government. It doesn't matter which country you live in.
You work in education
Do you live in the Netherlands and are you going to work in education in Belgium? Or do you live in Belgium and are you going to work in education in the Netherlands? In that case, you pay tax in your country of residence for a maximum period of 2 years from the day you start working.
You must, however, meet all of the following conditions:
- You reside in the country of employment for your work as a professor, teacher or primary school teacher.
- You teach in the country of employment or you conduct scientific research at a university or other officially recognised educational institution.
The scientific research must be in the public interest and not primarily for the personal benefit of an individual.
- You do not live in the country of employment during the period that you are working there.
You work on board a ship or aircraft
Do you work on board a ship or aircraft in international traffic, or on board an inland vessel? In that case, you pay tax in the country where the enterprise is established (Belgium or the Netherlands).
An 'exclusive source state tax' applies to this work. This means that the country where the management of the enterprise is located may tax the income. In the other country, this income does count towards determining the tax rate on any other income to be taxed in that country. This is called the 'tax progression clause'. In the Netherlands, we also take that foreign income into account when granting income-related benefits.
You work as a freelancer
If you live in the Netherlands, you pay tax on your income as a freelancer in the Netherlands. But if you have a 'fixed base' in Belgium, such as an office or a shop, the income from that base is taxed in Belgium. This scheme also applies the other way around, so if you live in Belgium with a 'fixed base' in the Netherlands.
If you enjoy tax exemption in your country of residence, the country of employment may still levy tax on your income. In that case, you must file an assessment in the country of employment. Call the Tax Information Line if you want to know whether you qualify for an exemption for your freelance income in the Netherlands.
You work as an artist
Do you live in the Netherlands? And do you personally deliver an artistic performance in Belgium as an artist, and do you receive a fee for this? In that case, you usually pay tax in Belgium. This also applies if someone other than you receives the fee, for example, the leader of the company for which you work. This scheme also applies the other way around, so if you live in Belgium and work in the Netherlands as an artist.
If at least 30% of your work is financed by or on behalf of the government of your country of residence, you will pay tax in your country of residence. This is the case, for example, if the orchestra or theatre company of which you are a member receives a subsidy.
Pension, annuity or benefit
Do you live in the Netherlands and do you receive a pension, annuity or national insurance benefit from Belgium? Or do you live in Belgium and do you receive a pension, annuity or national insurance benefit from the Netherlands? In that case, you usually pay tax in the country of residence. An exception applies if the total amount of all your benefits together is more than €25,000 annually.
You also receive a pension or annuity from your country of employment if you accrued your pension or annuity in your country of employment and then transferred it to an insurer in your country of residence.
The €25,000 limit
Is the total amount of all your benefits (including your AOW or Anw) together more than €25,000 annually? If so, you may have to pay tax in the country from which you receive the benefit.
Only in the following situations will you pay tax in the country from which the income originates:
- When you accrued your benefit, you did enjoy a tax advantage in the country where you accrued the benefit (your country of employment). This is not important for the accrual of your AOW or Anw.
- Your benefit will not be taxed at the standard tax rate applicable to (former) employment income or less than 90% of your benefit will be taxed.
Lump-sum pension or annuity payment
Have you surrendered the right to your pension or annuity? In that case, you pay the tax on the lump-sum payment in the country where you previously deducted the premiums for the accrual of this right from your income.
Social security benefit
Do you live in the Netherlands and receive a benefit from Belgium in connection with redundancy, illness or disability? And that benefit can’t be regarded as a pension? In that case, you pay tax in Belgium over a period of 1 year. You do need to have a job in Belgium and pay wage tax there.
If after that 1st year, you still enjoy income from wages from the same job in addition to your benefit, you will also pay tax in Belgium after that year. You pay tax on the benefit in the Netherlands only from the moment you no longer enjoy any income from wages in addition to your benefit.
This scheme also applies the other way around, so if you live in Belgium.
You pay tax on your state pension in the country where you worked for the government. However, if you have the nationality of your country of residence, you will still pay tax in your country of residence on the state pension from the other country.
Compensation schemes for Dutch cross-border workers
Do you live in the Netherlands and pay tax on your employment income in Belgium? In that case, you may be eligible for financial compensation from the Netherlands.
General compensation scheme
Under the general compensation scheme, you receive compensation for missing out on certain deductible items that you would receive if you were to work in the Netherlands, such as mortgage interest tax relief or a personal budget. You may also receive compensation for the tax credit from a tax partner who does not earn a lot or earns little.
You are eligible for general compensation if you enjoy remuneration or income from work in Belgium.
Special compensation scheme for cross-border workers
You are eligible for special compensation if you were subject to the so-called 'cross-border worker scheme' on 31 December 2002.
You are no longer entitled to special compensation if you change employer or if your income has not decreased due to the cancellation of the cross-border workers scheme.
Are you changing employers due to, for example, a company takeover or merger? Or have you been involuntarily fired and found a new employment in Belgium within 6 months? In that case, you continue to be entitled to special compensation. This also applies if you resume your employment in Belgium after being posted to another country for a maximum of 12 months.
How do I receive general or special compensation?
Apply for compensation in a provisional assessment or in your tax return.
Converting Belgian wages into Dutch wages
If you enjoy Belgian wages, you must first convert this into Dutch wages before submitting a tax return. To that end, use our Converting Belgian or German wages into Dutch wages tool (hulpmiddel Belgisch of Duits loon omrekenen naar Nederlands loon, Dutch only). On your tax return, you must enter the Dutch wage calculated using this tool.
The text of the tax treaty between the Netherlands and Belgium
Read the text of the tax treaty between the Netherlands and Belgium (Dutch only).
Read the text of the multilateral tax treaty (Dutch only).