Seasonal work in agriculture and horticulture: modification of the withholding tax for non-residents

Author: Peggy Criel (Legal Expert)
Date:

The withholding tax on the income of non-resident seasonal workers in agriculture and horticulture will be fixed at 18,725% from March 2021.

Concerned workers

Not all seasonal workers are targeted by the new withholding tax percentage. They must be workers who meet the following conditions:

  • they are non-residents of Belgium;
  • they are regarded as seasonal workers in agriculture and horticulture.

Non-residents

These are workers of whom the income is taxable in Belgium under the non-resident tax.

Seasonal workers in agriculture and horticulture

The following workers are regarded as seasonal workers in agriculture and horticulture:

  • workers who are regarded as occasional workers in agriculture and horticulture when it comes to calculating social security contributions. So these are the occasional workers of Joint Committees 144 and 145. Temporary workers employed occasionally by a user of Joint Committee 144 and 145 are also affected;
  • workers in agriculture or horticulture with a contract of limited duration or a contract for a clearly defined work of no more than 6 consecutive calendar weeks immediately following an employment as an occasional worker in agriculture or horticulture with the same employer.

Applicable withholding tax

From 25 March 2021 a withholding tax of 18.725% will be deducted from the remuneration granted to the workers concerned. 

Not only the remunerations for services granted by the employer, but also the following remunerations are subject to the new withholding tax:

  • the end-of-year bonus and the loyalty bonus granted by the Guarantee and Social Fund for Horticulture to occasional workers;
  • the holiday pay to which agricultural and horticultural workers are entitled in the event of a period of employment immediately following the employment as an occasional worker.

Impact for the worker

The remunerations of occasional workers in agriculture and horticulture are generally subject to a withholding tax of 11,11%. So the change in the percentage results in an increase in the withholding tax. The non-resident seasonal workers will therefore see their net wages fall.

Source: Royal Decree of 21 March 2021 amending Annex III of the Royal Decree/CIR 92 as regards the remunerations of non-residents working as seasonal workers in agriculture and horticulture, Belgian Official Gazette of 25 March 2021.

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