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Company Formation in Belgium

Overview :

Belgium has a well-developed free market economy, based on both industrial and service sectors. The euro (EUR) is the only official currency in use within Belgium. The nation’s exports are equivalent to almost two-thirds of its GNP. On a per capita basis, Belgium exports twice as much as Germany and 5 times as much as Japan. In 1999, the nation ranked number 11 among the world’s top exporters. In spite of its small size, Belgium’s economy has consistently placed among the top 20 economies of the world and remains strong. The kingdom’s exports have given it an account surplus that is the sixth largest among the highly developed economies of the world. Belgium is world famous as a producer of fine chocolate and some of the world’s most popular beers. Smoking is banned in Belgian restaurants, but is still allowed in pubs and bars.

Advantages of Incorporating a Business in Belgium
  • Belgium is strategically located in the heart of Europe due to which it is an international hub for economic and political institutions.
  • Belgium boasts highly developed infrastructure of airports, ports, roads and railways.
  • Belgian road network is world famous with its seven international motorways.
  • The port of Antwerp is the second largest sea port in Europe.
  • The Fiscal Department for Foreign Investments provides free, confidential advice and assistance on tax matters to potential foreign investors and those already established in Belgium.
  • The quality of Belgian staff is internationally renowned. Belgians are flexible and innovative and are excellent at problem-solving.
  • The Belgian authorities will be delighted to assist you, providing a strictly confidential service that is tailored exactly to your needs. The various Belgian authorities – both federal and regional – will support you with free advice, based on a flexible, unbureaucratic and investor-centred approach.

Tax Regime

Belgian companies, as well as those Belgian branches of foreign companies, are taxed on their foreign source income. Foreign companies are taxed at a rate of 33.99%. Individuals are taxed on their worldwide income. It is based on salaries and wages, property (real estate) income, self-employment income and any other income earned. Possible tax deductions include professional expenses, special deductible expenses and personal deductions and allowances. The individual income tax rate varies hugely, relating to the net taxable income from 0% to 50%.

Types of Entities
Public Limited Company :

This type of company is often chosen by large businesses when expanding into Belgium. It must be set up by two or more people who contribute a fixed amount of money to the business in return for shares. Liability is limited to the amount that is contributed. The assets of the owners are protected through a limited liability of shareholders and offer investors  

Limited Liability Company:

This type of business is set up by two or more people, who may only give up their interest in the business under certain conditions. It is favoured by family run businesses and Small to Medium-sized enterprises (SME). In return for shares in the company, the shareholders contribute a fixed amount and liability is limited to that amount.

Cooperative company with unlimited liability :

This is similar to the cooperative company with limited liability as it be set up by three or more shareholders but in this case it has unlimited liability. Often suitable for SMEs and family run businesses. Although they contribute an amount of money to the company there is no legal requirement.

General Partnership:

This type of company may be incorporated and set up with at least two partners. Partners are liable for any debts of that business, may result in bankruptcy of the partners should be business suffer with bankruptcy. There are no restrictions on how the partnership is organised in the articles of association, provided that the partners are still liable and that the shares cannot be transferred without limitation

Limited partnership:

Limited partnerships are slightly more complicated compared to other types when starting up a business in Belgium. They are broken down into general partners, who are jointly liable for business debts and limited partners, who are only liable for the amount their have contributed.

Non-stock Corporation :

This type of business is made up of two or more shareholders. These shareholders are liable for the company’s debts without limitation. Often used in a portfolio of properties, cash asset management and managing a family fortune. This form of company has no legal personality and is therefore transparent for tax purposes.

Time Required

It usually takes 4 days to incorporate a business in Belgium.