Following a number of changes to the Belgian legislation governing the application of dividend withholding tax exemptions at source, which are effective as from 22 January 2019, Ageas SA/NV has decided to update its policy in this respect.
For any future dividend payments, Ageas SA/NV will provide template attestations via its website and through its paying agent, for shareholders intending to claim any of the following exemptions from Belgian dividend withholding tax:
the Belgian domestic law withholding tax exemption for dividends paid to certain foreign corporate shareholders under Article 264/1 of the Belgian Income Tax Code of 1992;
the Belgian domestic law withholding tax exemption for dividends paid to certain pension funds under Article 106, §2 of the Royal Decree implementing the Belgian Income Tax Code of 1992;
the withholding tax exemption for dividends paid to certain pension funds under Article 10, (3), (b) of the Belgium – United Kingdom Double Taxation Convention of 1 June 1987; or
the withholding tax exemption for dividends paid to certain pension funds under Article 10, (4), (b) of the Belgium – United States Double Taxation Convention of 27 November 2006.
a reduced withholding tax rate under any applicable Double Taxation Convention.
Through these template attestation(s), shareholders are required to confirm that all applicable conditions to benefit from the relevant dividend withholding tax exemption or reduced dividend withholding tax rate are met.
As concerns the possibility to exempt the dividends paid to certain pension funds from withholding tax on the basis of the legal ground mentioned under (ii) above, the relevant shareholders are, among others, required to confirm that they have held the ageas SA/NV shares in relation to which the dividend withholding tax exemption is being claimed in full legal ownership for an uninterrupted period of at least 60 days, either:
on the date at which the dividends were attributed or made payable; or,
on a date within the period of 15 days as from the date at which the dividends were attributed or made payable.
ageas SA/NV will only consider the application of any of the aforementioned dividend withholding tax exemptions or reduced dividend withholding tax rates at source, at its sole discretion, if the shareholder duly completes the appropriate template attestation(s) which should be in the possession of ageas SA/NV within 10 days following the dividend pay date, together with any supporting documents which may be required.
To the extent that ageas SA/NV is not in a position to apply the dividend withholding tax exemption or reduced dividend withholding tax rates requested by the shareholder at source, the shareholder can file a reclaim with the Belgian State with a view to obtaining a (partial) refund of the tax withheld.
The aforementioned template attestations will be made available in the coming weeks on the website of the AGEAS group.