Belgium company registration
24 June, 2014
According to the 2013 Doing Business Survey by the World Bank, Belgium is positively ranked as the world's 33rd easiest place to do business. The country is also perceived as the world's 16th least corrupt country, according to the 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International. If properly structured, Belgium company formation enables entrepreneurs to legitimately conduct tax-efficient international business by taking advantage of the EU Parent/Subsidiary Directive and the country's double taxation treaty network.
Doing business in Belgium brings multiple advantages. Firstly, under the terms of the EU Parent/Subsidiary Directive, dividends paid to a Belgian holding company by European Union subsidiaries are exempt from dividend withholding tax. Secondly, if properly structured, a Belgian subsidiary company can legitimately allow corporate shareholders (holding more than 10% of the Belgian company) to repatriate profits exempt from dividend withholding tax provided the corporate shareholder is resident in one of Belgium's 80 double taxation treaty partners. Thirdly, company formation in Belgium only requires a minimum of one shareholder and one director, corporate shareholders are permitted.
New companies registered in Belgium can take advantage of income tax incentives from Belgium or the EU. Moreover, Belgium boasts a technologically advanced air, land and sea transport network, allowing quick delivery of goods and raw materials within the country. Also, Belgium is an excellent location to register intellectual property (IP), including global trademarks and patents. Last but not least, a foreign owned company can invest in every business sector without restrictions.
Before entering the Belgian market, global entrepreneurs should take into account the following compliance regulations. First, according to the Companies Act, a Belgium company must have at least one director and one shareholder of any nationality. The Memorandum of Association is a contract between the shareholders and comprises i) company activities ii) registered office address iii) shareholder and director details iv) share capital v) profit distribution method. Secondly, it is compulsory that a Belgium company must lodge annual return and tax return. A private Belgium company is required to maintain both a local registered address and a local resident company secretary. Third, each time a change occurs in the particulars of the company or to its officers, the change must be lodge with the Belgium company registry. It should also be noted that the process of deregistering a company is dictated by the Government and will take a minimum of 6 months.
Due to the vast concentration of international headquarters and NGO, Belgium is the right place to network or lobby and registering a Belgian company offers an ideal gateway to enter the European market.
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