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Why Invest in Belgium

Why Invest in Belgium

Belgium is located at the center of Europe and is also home to some of the most important institutions within the EU. But the reasons to invest in Belgium include much more than the country’s geographical location. Its open economy, good tax regime and the quality of life here are just some of the reasons why investors decide to open a company in Belgium

Some of the top reasons to invest in Belgium include the following:

  1. An open economy: Belgium is a globalized country, it has a highly open economy and it is an overall developed marketplace;
  2. Gateway to many consumers: basing a company in Belgium means having access to the entire EU market, with opportunities to export the products and services;
  3. Good logistics: the country has a well-developed transport network, and all chosen means, whether by road, train, sea or waterways, allow for an efficient distribution;
  4. Decisional power: Belgium is one of the founding members of the European Union and many international organizations are located here;
  5. Skilled labor force: the country has a high percentage of skilled labor force and many employees speak multiple languages;
  6. Educated specialists: Belgium has a high concentration of universities and successful research institutes; there are many specialists in important fields;
  7. Ease of company formation: the process to open a company in Belgium is a simple one and it poses no issues with international investors, given the transparency of the institutions and the fact that many key agents in the formation process are multilingual and accustomed to working with foreigners;
  8. Quality of life: lastly, a noteworthy feature is the fact that Belgium has one of the top quality of life standards in Europe.

All these reasons make Belgium an attractive investment destination in Europe. 

In this article, our specialists detail some of these important points for investors as well as provide more information on the general incorporation process. 

If you have decided in invest in Belgium, our experts can help you with company incorporation advice and assistance.

Advantages for businesses

The company incorporation procedure in Belgium is straightforward and investors have access to a large variety of companies which they can form to serve their specific business needs. Belgium has simplified the administrative procedure to open a company and the online registration for one-stop shops makes it even easier and faster to open a business. Many international companies have opened branches or subsidiaries in Belgium

Businessmen who would like to invest in Belgium should know that this country has a qualified workforce and many talented expatriates live and work in the country. The good living conditions and the presence of many international companies encourage talented individuals to come and work in the country.

The tax system in Belgium includes taxes for individuals and companies that derive income from activities performed in the country. Our company registration experts in Belgium can give you tax consultancy and advice of you open a company here. Foreign investors in Belgium can also benefit from the extensive double tax treaty network which protects them from unnecessary double taxation.

Other advantages

Businessmen who want to invest in Belgium should know that the quality of life is very high in this country. Belgium is balanced in terms of wealth, literacy, education, life expectancy and other quality of life factors. Real estate prices make most foreigners decide to buy a property in Belgium rather than rent one. 

Approximately 60% of Europe’s purchasing power and around 30% of European Union consumers are concentrated in an area very accessible from Belgium. Important European capitals, such as Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Paris and even London are only hours away from Brussels. 

Tax incentives in Belgium

The standard corporate income tax rate in Belgium was reduced from 29% for taxable periods that ended on or before December 2020 to 25% for taxable periods that start on or after January 2020 (the tax year 2021). Some of the taxation highlights include the following:

  • • 25%: the corporate income tax rate with no surcharge, available for most types of companies;
  • • 20%: the corporate inform tax for small and medium-sized companies on the first 100,000 EUR of income (subject to certain conditions);
  • • 21%: the standard value-added tax in Belgium with reduced rates of 0%, 6%, and 12% for certain types of goods and services;
  • • 100%: this is the exemption that can apply to dividends received by a Belgian company from a domestic or a foreign company. 

Special conditions apply to the exemption applicable in case of dividends received by a Belgian company. The following are relevant:

  • – The company that receives the payment must hold at least 10% of the share capital of the company making the payment; alternatively, the participation should have an acquisition value of at least 2.5 million euros;
  • – The company that makes the payment must be subject to corporate income tax on the profits from which the distribution is made;
  • – The shareholder company (the one that receives that payment and holds shares in the company making the payment) must have continuous ownership or must have had full ownership of the qualifying shares for an uninterrupted period of no less than one year.

These rules can apply in a different, more complex manner in case of subsidiaries. Our team of agents who specialize in company formation in Belgium can give you more details on this dividend received deduction.

Noteworthy tax reductions include the following:

  • – A possible interest deduction for companies that take out a loan to acquire participation;
  • – Investment deductions for investments in new assets;
  • – Exemptions of 85% of net income for innovation income derived from patents, copyrighted software, or the rights of plant breeders; 
  • – Federal tax exemption for certain subsidies granted by the Region in which the company is based.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of the available tax benefits in Belgium. We encourage investors to reach out to our team specializing in company formation in Belgium for more information.

Investing in Belgium’s regions

Belgium is divided into three main regions: the Brussels Capital Region, the Flanders in the north of the country and the southern region of Wallonia (French-speaking).

The Brussels Region is mostly bilingual and many international companies choose to base their office here, particularly because of the proximity to the capital city and the important institutions that are based here. Approximately 1,500 international companies have already established their headquarters in Brussels and enjoy the favorable business ecosystem in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Investors who choose Brussels will enjoy not only the generally applicable tax incentives and the easy company formation process but also the fact that most of the country’s talented and multilingual pool of highly skilled professionals in based in the Capital Region. What’s more, the quality of life In this city is high and Brussels is welcoming both for businesses as well as expats and foreign entrepreneurs. 

Flanders, with its mostly Dutch-speaking population is known for several main investment sectors: automobiles, logistics, the production of foodstuffs and logistics. Investments in the R&D and Innovation sectors are highly encouraged in this region and it hosts several research centers that form partnerships with important Belgian higher education institution such as KU Leuven. According to the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, Flanders is included in the top 20 worldwide regions with important company spending in research and development as well as the availability of the latest technology and capacity for innovation.  Some of the top cities to invest in this region are Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven, Ostend or Hasselt.

Wallonia enjoys investments in applies scientific research, transport or energy. Moreover, starting with 2015 the region encourages the digital sector through a special plan, the Digital Wallonia plan. It is the French speaking region of Belgium and it offers easy access to the Capital Region. Some of the most important cities in this region are Charleroi, Liege, Namur and Mons.

All of the regions have qualified, bilingual workforce and offer special incentives for start-ups and certain types of business activities. 

Most Attractive Investment Industries in Belgium

Invest in Belgium biotechnology industry  

One of the main investment fields in Belgium refers to biotechnology. It is important to know that the biotechnology companies in Belgium are very developed, as their services and products accounted for 16% of the turnover registered within the European Union. 

The region of Flanders is specialized in genetics and botany, while Wallonia is considered a scientific centre; our team of Belgium company formation agents can offer assistance on how to register a company in this field. 

Invest in Belgium automotive industry  

Those who want to set a company in the automotive field can invest in Belgium, as the country is a main player in this sector. There are numerous well-known companies which have set their operations on the local market, as the Belgium environment provides a highly trained workforce and developed logistics, necessary for the activities of such companies. 

Invest in the pharmaceutics industry in Belgium  

Businessmen operating on the pharmaceutical market are welcomed in Belgium, as the country is a world leader in the field, having developed the largest number of medicines per capita. At the same time, Belgium provides the highest concentration of employees specialized in the biopharmaceutical field. Another important aspect is that this industry represents 10% of the total Belgium exports

Businessmen interested in receiving more details on other important investment sectors in Belgium can contact our team of company incorporation consultants.  

You can contact our company registration experts in Belgium if you would like to know more about setting up a business in Belgium. Our partner law firm in Belgium can help you with detailed information about the laws and regulations in the country.