It is essential for companies planning to run Payroll Services in Belgium to have a clear plan and make the right moves from day one. Belgium may lie on the Northwestern coastline of Europe – but it plays a central role in the continent’s economy. Belgium’s capital Brussels is within 500 miles of 500 million Europeans and 140 million consumers and is just hours from major financial centres such as Paris, Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Madrid. The potential is obvious – but not so obvious are the issues facing companies planning to make their first move into the economy. Payroll is one of the issues, and companies must decide whether to open a subsidiary to hire staff and manage all their tax and social security obligations.
Foreign companies must tread carefully as they consider moving into one of Europe’s leading business and commercial centres, with a world-class infrastructure underpinning its role as a ‘gateway to Europe’. Belgium’s nominal Gross Domestic Product was €507.2 billion, 25th globally and 11th among fellow European Union members. Belgium is a wealthy nation, with its world ranking jumping to 18th with a per capita GDP of US$50,413. Belgium’s international status is underlined by Brussels being considered the ‘capital’ of the EU and the headquarters of NATO. Other memberships include the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Belgium’s place among Europe’s significant economies attracts numerous multinationals with their headquarters in its major cities.
These attractions for foreign companies come with risks. However, there is a no-risk alternative to accessing Belgium’s rewarding market. Bradford Jacobs’ Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) and Employer of Record (EOR) platforms and networks answer every question your company will encounter, especially regarding operating payroll. Bradford Jacobs will be at your side every step of the way with expert advice and guidance. Our specialists become your employees’ effective EOR while your Belgian staff remain under your daily operational control.
Remote payroll – This option allows businesses to operate under a single payroll system by adding employees in Belgium to the parent company’s payroll. However, these employees must operate under different regulations, which is likely to cause problems.
Internal payroll – You may operate payroll for your subsidiary, especially if you are committed to growing your company’s presence in Belgium. However, this does require hiring dedicated HR staff who understand the Belgian employment and compliance laws.
Belgian payroll processing company – If you are considering outsourcing, then working with a Belgian payroll company will help in processing your payroll – but not when it comes to compliance.
Belgian payroll outsourcing – However, another option is available to solve both concerns – by working with Bradford Jacobs. We can handle payroll and compliance for all your employees in Belgium. We lift the administrative stress from your shoulders so you can focus on what you do best.
Foreign companies planning to extend their global reach by moving into Belgium will access one of Europe’s leading economies. Belgium is a wealthy nation, with its world ranking jumping to 18th with a per capita GDP of US$50,413. The capital, Brussels, ranks alongside major financial centres such as Paris, Frankfurt, London and Amsterdam, with Belgium’s world-class infrastructure underpinning its role as a ‘gateway to Europe’ and the continent’s 500 million inhabitants. In 2021, Belgium’s nominal Gross Domestic Product was €507.2 billion, 25th globally and 11th among fellow European Union (EU) members.
Belgium, however, poses unique issues. Dutch or Flemish speakers in the northern region of Flanders account for around 60% of the population, with French speakers in southern Wallonia making up most of the balance, plus a minority of German speakers in the east. Different regulations may apply, and these factors must be considered. Making mistakes will be costly in time and money. The demands are even more significant when foreign companies establish a subsidiary as their route into Belgium – the usual option before they hire staff and run payroll services in Belgium.
When launching a subsidiary, investors typically open the equivalent of a limited liability company, either an SRL in French or a BV in Dutch. Once the company incorporation process moves, employers must prepare to register employees. Firstly, employers must be registered with the Belgian social security portal. Although international companies need not operate through a local entity to recruit employees, they must comply with payroll regulations on taxes and social insurance contributions.
The following registration procedures to put employees on the payroll include:
This list highlights why most foreign companies are moving into the Belgian economy and links with EOR experts such as Bradford Jacobs to handle their payroll. By outsourcing payroll, your company complies with employment regulations without risking sanctions or financial penalties for late, incorrect or incomplete registration and filing. You focus on your expansion goals while your staff are happy and confident they can concentrate on work with all compliance issues dealt with.
The limited liability company is the most popular business structure for foreign companies establishing a subsidiary in Belgium. The Belgian Companies and Associations Code (BCAC) simplified the number of company structures to four. The SPRL / BVBA is the default option, with flexibility for both large and small companies and is especially suitable for foreign-owned subsidiaries. The SPRL / BVBA offers protection against liability for the shareholders, except for incorporators, during the first three years due to misrepresenting the financial plan.
Establishing a subsidiary in Belgium is complicated by regional differences, which can affect registration procedures. The Brussels-Capital region is considered bi-lingual with French and Dutch. Dutch or Flemish speakers in the northern part of Flanders account for around 60% of the population, with French speakers in southern Wallonia making up most of the balance, plus a minority of German speakers in the east.
As a guide, incorporation procedures generally include the following steps for an SPRL / BVBA: