Belgium company registration

DOING BUSINESS IN BELGIUM IN 2017

Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC has assisted our Clients with starting their company in Belgium. Our services include i) Belgium business registration ii) government license registration iii) Belgium business bank account opening iv) employee recruitment strategies v) visa strategies and vi) office rental solutions.

SummaryLLCStarter LLCJoint-stock companyRepresentative officeBranch office
Also known asSociete a responsabilite limiteeStarter SPRLSociete anonymeRepresentative officeSuccursale
Best use of company?All products and servicesStart upsTo secure public fundingMarketing & researchSpecific projects
How soon can you invoice Clients/sign sales contracts?2 weeks2 weeks3 weeksCannot trade3 weeks
How soon can you hire staff?2 weeks2 weeks3 weeks3 weeks3 weeks
How soon can you sign a lease agreement?ImmediatelyImmediatelyImmediatelyImmediatelyImmediately
How long to supply corporate bank account numbers?6 weeks6 weeks6 weeks6 weeks6 weeks
How long to supply company registration/tax numbers?2 weeks2 weeks3 weeks3 weeks3 weeks
Corporate tax rate on annual net profits?33%33%33%0%33%
Limited liability entity?YesYesYesNoNo
Resident director/partner/manager/legal representative required?NoNoYesYesYes
minimum paid up share capital?€18550€1€61500NoneNone
Can bid for Government contracts?YesYesYesNoYes
Corporate bank account location?FortisFortisDexiaING GroupKeytrade Bank
Can secure trade finance?YesYesYesNoYes
VAT payable on sales to local customers?21%21%21%0%21%
Average total business set up engagement costs?€15,550€15,550€20,550US$16,050US$16,050
Average total engagement period?13 weeks13 weeks14 weeks14 weeks14 weeks

See full table

Accounting and tax considerationsLLCStarter LLCJoint-stock companyRepresentative officeBranch office
Statutory corporate tax payable?33%33%33%0%33%
Legally tax exempt if properly structured?NoNoNoYesNo
Must file an annual tax return?YesYesYesYesYes
Must file annual financial statements?YesYesYesYesYes
Access to double taxation treaties?YesYesYesNoYes
Withholding tax on payments to foreign shareholders?30%30%30%None30%
Company RegistrationLLCStarter LLCJoint-stock companyRepresentative officeBranch office
Resident director/partner/manager/legal representative required?NoNoYesYesYes
Minimum number of shareholders/partners?112Parent companyParent company
Maximum shareholding for foreigners?100%100%100%100%100%
Minimum statutory paid up share capital?€18,550€1€61,500NoneNone
Shelf companies available?YesYesNoNoNo
Time to incorporate a new entity?2 weeks2 weeks3 weeks3 weeks3 weeks
Can easily convert to a PLC?YesNoYesNoNo
Public register of shareholders and directors?YesYesYesYesYes
Can have preference shareholders?YesYesYesNoNo
Business ConsiderationsLLCStarter LLCJoint-stock companyRepresentative officeBranch office
Good entity for trademark registration?YesYesYesNoYes
Can secure an import and export license?YesYesYesNoYes

Sponsorship by a local citizen required?No
Our Client needs to travel to Belgium for business set up?No
Temporary physical office solutions available?Yes
You need a local resident as bank signatory?No
Can be wholly foreign owned?Yes
The entity will likely be regulated by?Belgium Registrar of Companies
Government grants available?Yes
Government approval required for foreign owners?No
Security deposit to be kept with Government?No
Minimum number of directors/managers?1
Monthly VAT reporting to the Government?Yes
Must appoint an auditor?No
Group HQ tax incentives?No
Must sign an office lease agreement during incorporation?No
shareholders & directors documents to be attested\translated?Yes
Each foreign director needs a personal income tax number?No
Foreign director needs a residence visa?No
Maximum number of staff allowed?No maximum number for any entity
Expatriate to local staff ratio?None
Can secure residence visa for business owner?Yes
Other useful information
What will be included in my customer sales invoice?Click link
This country has signed free trade agreements?Yes
This country is a member of WIPO/TRIPS?Yes
This country is a member of the ICSID?Yes
Average custom duties suffered?2.7%
Government foreign investment approval required?No
Average monthly office rental? (€ per sq m)€23
Minimum statutory monthly salary?€1,531.93
Average monthly € salary for local skilled employees?€3,000
€ deposit interest rate? (1 year average)1.20%
Overseas remittance currency controls?None
Banking considerations
Multi-currency bank accounts available?Yes
Corporate visa debit cards available?Yes
Quality of e-banking platform?Good
Crowd funding available in this country?Yes

Press the link headings below to read detailed, relevant, up to date information.

  • Advantages and disadvantages

    Advantages of Belgium company registration

    Belgium business facts: advantages and disadvantages

    1. It is easy to register a new company in Belgium, as this can be done with only i) one shareholder, investing a minimum of €18,550 in the company’s capital and ii) one director. Both can be foreigners and do not need to be ordinarily residing in Belgium;
    2. Belgium is a great place to start a trading company because:
      • Our Clients’ sales will benefit from the size of the local market: Belgium has indeed a population of 11 million with a GDP per capita of €37,000 as of 2015. The total market size is €412 billion;
      • Due the country’s EU membership, a Belgium resident company enjoys advantages including i) lack of trade restrictions ii) free movement of capital and labor iii) reduction or exemption from withholding taxes on foreign payments and iv) access to an integrated European market of 500M people;
      • Companies registered in Belgium will also benefit from the country’s excellent transportation infrastructure, ranked as the 21st best in the world according to the World Economic Forum. Ports are notably ranked as the 3rd best in the European Union, after the Netherlands and Finland;
      • While Belgium has no free trade zones, the country does have bonded warehouses located near the main port of Antwerp and the national airport north of Brussels. In addition, with the authorization of the customs authorities, a firm may create a private bonded warehouse and thereby delay and even avoid payment of customs duties;
      • Belgium also shares borders with main European markets including i) Germany ii) Netherlands iii) the United Kingdom and iv) France;
      • For all the reasons listed above, the World Bank currently ranks Belgium as the best place in the world for a company to trade across borders.

    3. Our Clients forming a holding company in Belgium will benefit from the following advantages:
      • Belgium holding companies benefit from a reduced corporate tax rate of 4% on dividends received by both global and local subsidiaries, provided that the holding company has owned at least 10% of their shares during the preceding year;
      • Thanks to EU Parent/Subsidiary Directive, dividends paid to a Belgian holding company by European Union (EU) subsidiaries are also exempt from dividend withholding tax;
      • Belgium has signed double taxation avoidance agreements with over 85 countries, including i) Australia ii) China iii) Germany iv) Hong Kong v) Singapore vi) the United States and vii) the United Kingdom.

    4. It is easy to open global corporate bank accounts to support Belgium company formation. Healy Consultants works with internationally recognized banks such as i) HSBC ii) Standard Chartered and iii) Citibank to provide corporate bank account services in Belgium.

    Disadvantages of Belgium company registration

    1. Our Clients registering a company in Belgium will have to pay a significant amount of tax, because:
      • The standard corporate tax rate of 33% is one of Europe’s highest. The employees and employers social security contributions add up to 38% of the employees’ gross salaries;
      • All companies are required to register for value added tax, which standard rate is 21%;
      • Businesses are also required to pay several other taxes uncommon in other countries, resulting in an average effective tax rates of 58% of their annual earnings according to the World Bank.

    2. According to the location of the company, the official language will either be i) French ii) Flemish or iii) German. Consequently, all corporate documents will have to be translated in at least one of these languages, as well as contracts signed with local employees and customers;
    3. While the local workforce is efficient and well-trained, labor costs are recorded by Eurostat at €40 per hour, the 3rd highest level in Europe. Belgium has also the second highest minimum salary in Europe, fixed at €1,500 per month, just after Luxembourg.
  • Best uses for Belgium company

    A few best uses for our international Clients’ Belgium company is for the following purposes:

    1. As a base to reach the European market:
      • According to 2016 KOF Index of Globalisation, Belgium was ranked 3rd in the world, indicating its limited trade restrictions and openness to foreign trade;
      • Belgium is also among the world’s top 20 exporters with its main export destinations to Germany, France, Netherlands and the UK;
      • A staggering 80% of Europe’s purchasing power lies within a radius of 800km from Brussels; Consequently our Clients can tap into this pool of 500 million consumers.

    2. A distribution channel:
      • Belgium’s dense interconnected transport network offers our Clients’ business efficient distribution solutions;
      • Additionally, Belgium is supported by world-class telecommunication and Internet infrastructures;
      • A Belgium company will be ideal for our Clients who are looking to establish a logistics company or looking to outsource their distribution channels.

    3. Innovation and IP centres:
      • The Belgian government strongly welcomes businesses with R&D, investment in capital goods and innovation activities;
      • With R&D tax credits and IP regime available, companies can expect to deduct up to 85% of net income derived from qualifying assets.

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Company registration

  • Time to incorporate: Two weeks
  • Cost to set up: €13,550
  • Minimum capital: €18,550
  • Physical office required: Yes

Required appointments

  • Shareholders: 1
  • Directors: 1
  • Company secretary: No
  • Resident director: No

Key facts

  • Corporate tax rate: 33%
  • Corporate tax base: Worldwide
  • Shelf companies: No
  • Main company type: SPRL

Contact us

For additional information on our company registration services in Belgium, please email us at email@healyconsultants.com. Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Simon Guidecoq, directly:
brussels, belgium Federation of Belgian Chambers of Commerce belgian government portal belgium tourism National bank of Belgium