Yes, if you are a Belgian tax resident, you must report your foreign bank accounts to the Belgian authorities. This is a compliance requirement separate from the obligation to annually report the actual income received on these accounts. Non-resident taxpayers do not have to comply with this legal requirement.
As resident taxpayers are taxed on their worldwide income, their reporting obligation also extends to bank accounts located abroad. There is a one-time report you need to submit to the Central Point of Contact (CPC) of the National Bank of Belgium (NBB), as well as an annual report in your resident income tax filing.
The info to submit to the CPC is the following: (i) beneficiary of the account; (ii) IBAN / routing number; (iii) BIC / SWIFT code; (iv) country where the account is held; and (v) year of first opening of the account. In your tax return you only need to mention (i) beneficiary of the account; and (ii) country where the account is held. No balance or transfers need to be disclosed.
The legal reporting requirement includes all checking, savings, term deposit, and securities accounts with any foreign bank, exchange, credit, or savings institution. Online accounts like PayPal, Stripe, Skrill, Payoneer, etc. do not need to be reported if the funds on it are only held very briefly by the foreign financial institution as part of the transaction by the taxpayer. However, if the online account is a business account, it must always be reported.
You must also report the accounts of your partner with whom you are married or in a registered partnership, and those of your minor children. Even bank accounts that are rarely used or have (almost) no balance on them, must be reported due to the mere holding of such accounts. If you accurately disclose your bank account information, this does not mean that the tax authorities will automatically get access to your deposits and transactions.
Failing to comply could have significant financial consequences. Foreign bank accounts whose existence (and often the income on them as well) has not been fully reported in Belgium, may result in tax evasion charges and an administrative fine of up to €1,250. If such financial information is received by the tax authorities from abroad through the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) system, they will often state you have acted with fraudulent intent. This will allow the Belgian authorities to investigate you for the past 7 years, or potentially even 10 years.
If you did not previously declare your foreign bank accounts to the Belgian authorities, it is recommended to duly include it in your next tax return. As long as you report it spontaneously, it will show that you are willing to comply and you will normally not be fined for it.
TAXPATRIA® can assist you with your foreign bank account reporting and any necessary dealings with the Belgian tax authorities.