Today, the Belgian tax administration has published a new circular letter (Circular letter 2017/C/21 dd. 13 April 2017) in relation to the tax treatment of stock options that are granted directly to managers (physical persons) who operate through a management company.
This circular letter (Dutch; French) follows from the controversy that arose at the end of last year in this respect, and confirms that such grants cannot benefit from the beneficial reduced tax valuation rules for the purposes of the Belgian stock option law. Interestingly, this position only applies to options that were offered after the date of publication of the circular letter (13 April 2017). This seems to imply that direct grants that were made before (or even on) this date may still benefit from the former practice of the tax administration whereby the more beneficial valuation for tax purposes was accepted under certain circumstances.
The Belgian stock option law of 26 March 1999 provides that, subject to certain conditions, the grant of stock options to physical persons can benefit from a special tax regime.