Aid areas extended by eighteen months

Author: Peggy Criel (Legal Expert)
Date:

Earlier this year we informed you that the application period of the aid areas was extended due to the corona crisis. The Royal Decrees confirming this extension have now been published. Time for an update.

Which tax measure is this?

Employers who invest in an establishment located in an aid area benefit from a tax reduction. They are temporarily exempted from paying 25% of the withholding tax to the Treasury. This exemption only applies to the withholding tax calculated on wages paid in response to new jobs that were created thanks to the investment.

This exemption only applies to the withholding tax calculated on the wages paid following jobs that have been created thanks to the investment. Only the wages of employees paid within two years from the time the new job is occupied qualify for the measure.

Extension of the aid areas

The corona crisis put an unexpected brake on investments in aid areas so that companies could not fully benefit from the tax relief. Extending the period of application of the aid areas should therefore give companies extra time and oxygen.

Flemish Region

The Flemish Region has three aid areas. They are situated around Genk, Turnhout and Zaventem-Vilvoorde. The application period of each aid area is extended by eighteen months with the exception of the aid area around Zaventem-Vilvoorde. Contrary to what was originally announced, the application period of this aid area is extended by only six months: 

Aid area

Initial period of application

Extended until

Genk

01/05/2015 – 30/04/2021

31/10/2022

Turnhout

01/05/2015 – 30/04/2021

31/10/2022

Zaventem-Vilvoorde

01/12/2018 – 30/11/2024

31/05/2025

To get an accurate view of the defined aid areas, we recommend you consult the web application Geopunt which has been developed by the Flemish Region (right click on Landbouw, visserij en economie – Bedrijven – Steunzones).

Walloon region

The four aid areas in the Walloon Region are situated around Seraing, Sambreville, Charleroi and Frameries. The application period of each aid area is extended by eighteen months:

Aid area

Initial period of application

Extended until

Seraing

01/11/2017 – 31/10/2023

30/04/2025

Sambreville

01/11/2017 – 31/10/2023

30/04/2025

Charleroi

01/11/2017 – 31/10/2023

30/04/2025

Frameries

01/11/2017 – 31/10/2023

30/04/2025

 

The Walloon Region has developed a web application on its geoportal that makes it easy to check whether a given lot or address is located in an aid region.

For which employers?

The measure mainly applies to employers belonging to the private sector. They are divided into two groups: SMEs and large enterprises. SMEs enjoy more favourable conditions for the application of the exemption.

A number of employers and sectors are excluded from the application of the measure.

Conditions

Investment in an establishment in the aid area

Only employers who invest in an establishment located in an aid area are eligible for the measure. Furthermore, regional aid must have been granted for the investment and the investment must meet specific conditions.

Moreover, for large enterprises, the measure is only applied provided that the investment is made in an establishment located in Group A of the aid area. These are parts of the aid areas which fall within the aid regions included in the regional aid map.

Creation of new jobs

The investments must give rise to the creation of new jobs. Only a new job which is created as a result of the investment and which is taken up within the period of 36 months on the completion of the investment, is eligible for this measure.

Retention of the new jobs

The exemption from advance payment is only definitively granted after the employer demonstrates that the new job has been retained for at least three years. In large enterprises, the new job has to be retained for at least five years.

Submit form

In order to claim the exemption, a form, more specifically form no. 274SZ, must be submitted in a valid manner, at the latest in the third month following the completion of the investment. The exemption can only be calculated from the time of submission of the form at the earliest.

Any questions?

Would you like to know whether your company meets the conditions to be eligible for the exemption from advance payment of the withholding tax? Contact our Legal Partners at legalpartners@partena.be for a concrete analysis of your situation.

Sources: Royal Decree of 2 September 2021 for a one-time extension of the application period of the aid areas around the sites of Arcelor Mittal, Saint Gobain Sekurit, Caterpillar and Doosan, Belgian Official Gazette, 7 September 2021; Royal Decree of 2 September 2021 for a one-time extension of the application period of the aid areas around Genk, Turnhout and Zaventem-Vilvoorde, Belgian Official Gazette, 7 September 2021.

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