The legal, tax and reporting obligations are practically the same for all types of companies with limited shareholder liability. On the other hand, corporate forms without limited shareholder liability or without legal personality are subject to more limited legal and reporting obligations since creditors have a right of recourse against both the legal entity itself and the natural persons behind it.
From a tax perspective, companies with legal personality are subject to tax in Belgium on their worldwide income and will need to file a corporate tax return annually. On the other hand, companies without legal personality, such as non-stock corporations (maatschap/société de droit commun),are transparent for tax purposes, meaning their profits are taxed solely in the hands of the shareholders or partners and, therefore, only the latter need declare the profits on their personal income tax return. If you choose to operate via a branch or sales office, you will only be taxed in Belgium on Belgian source income. The question of whether a tax return must be filed will in this case depend on the facts, ie the type of income sourced in Belgium. If no tax return need be filed, the tax due in Belgium will be withheld at source.
In addition, various forms may need to be filed for tax purposes, eg, withholding tax returns for dividends or interest, pay slips for wages or commissions, and other specific forms to claim certain tax benefits such as the notional interest deduction (aftrek voor risicokapitaal/déduction fiscale pour le capital à risque) or the patent deduction (aftrek voor octrooi-inkomsten/déduction pour revenus de brevets). Moreover, depending on the nature of your business, you may also be required to register with the VAT authorities and file VAT returns on a monthly or quarterly basis.
If you operate a business in Belgium, you are generally required to keep books of account. The nature of your accounting obligations will depend on the type and size of your business.
Most legal and tax obligations must be fulfilled periodically and can thus be anticipated. It is advisable to compile a chart or table of all deadlines to ensure that none are missed.