Last night’s seminar organized by the British Chamber of Commerce provided expats with exclusive insight from expert tax and employment lawyers.
The event, which took place at BnP Paribas’s headquarters, brought together numerous expats who felt they were in similar situations. They are often on business trips abroad or they have to work in two or more countries. Several of them had also been temporarily posted from one country to another. The seminar was of special interest also to corporate representatives (HR, financial) who have responsibility over those employees who have to travel often. What does this imply?
These situations have obvious implications regarding these expat’s tax status, social security and labor law issues, as well as formalities that need to be observed in order to avoid criminal liability. Participants heard how to find the best solution for their situations by Sophie Maes, international employment lawyer at Claeys & Engels, and Marc Verbeek, tax consultant at Crowe.
Major points of discussion were social security regulations which pertain to Europe, tax considerations, European Health Insurance card, and the Limosa declaration. Mrs. Maes stated: “Nowadays, it has become very easy for employees to work internationally. However, that does not necessarily mean that no formalities must be observed. For example in case of business travel to Belgium, a Limosa declaration must be made for meetings exceeding 20 consecutive days per meeting or 60 days in total per calendar year. Heavy criminal penalties may be imposed to both the foreign employer and the Belgian end-user in case of non-compliance.”
Considering that Belgian social security is the second highest in Europe — second only to France’s — it is only understandable that expats try to find legal ways around it.
The overflow of commuters in Belgium made commuter agreements another major point in the discussions. Mrs. Maes discussed employment law considerations to consider in case you are working under a company in a foreign country, but you have a contract with a company back home. Sophie Maes added: “Expats often have commuter arrangements according to which they e.g. work 2 days from home abroad and 3 days in Belgium. However, organisations should be aware that such arrangements may also have an impact on applicable social security and employment laws. For example, in case employees work in 2 or more countries, they are subject to social security in their residence state if they work at least 25 % in their residence state.”
In addition to getting tips on international tax, social security and labor law issues, participants got to network with peers and exchange ideas over a glass of wine during the light reception.
The event was sponsored by BnP Paribas Fortis, Claeys & Engels, and Crowe.