Ruling Commission launches own newsletter

The last couple of years, the Belgian Ruling Commission (“Commission”) has invested heavily in expanding open communication with taxpayers. This is evidenced by, for example, the publication of an annual report as well as draft ruling requests on a variety of topics. The Commission now continues that practice by introducing its own newsletter.

With the introduction of a periodically published newsletter, the Commission aims at bringing its most recent rulings and insights to the attention of the taxpayers and their advisors in a timely manner, so as to keep the latter up-to-date in everyday practice. After all, there is quite some delay in the publication of the annual report of the Commission. The last annual report that was published (i.e. the report relating to 2015) dates back from August 2016 already.

The first edition of the newsletter was launched on 27 March 2017 and can be found on the website of the Commission ( by clicking the tab “notifications” (kennisgeving/ décisions), section “opinions and newsletters” (adviezen en nieuwsbrieven/avis et bulletins d’information). As is the case with the annual report, the newsletter does not only discuss positive ruling requests, but also requests for rulings that have not been granted, even when the so-called “pre filing method” has been used. The newsletter also contains news on the voluntary disclosure procedure as well as information on the functioning and staffing of the Commission.

The full newsletter can be found here. Requests that have received a positive ruling include the so-called “Cayman Tax” and the subject-to-tax condition for purposes of the participation exemption and exemption for capital gains on shares in relation to shares held in Serbian subsidiaries. Requests that have not been granted include a case relating to the compensation for the transfer of copyright for the study, design, manufacturing and commercialization of agricultural equipment and machinery.

This new initiative of the Commission is laudable since it increases transparency in the functioning of the Commission and allows tax advisors to take into account the most recent insights when advising their clientele, thus strengthening legal certainty. We are awaiting what the next edition of the newsletter will bring.