Belgium announces more favourable tax rates for top athletes

Belgium announces more favourable tax rates for top athletes
The new tax rate will apply to Nina Derwael, who won an Olympic gold medal. Credit: Belga

Belgian athletes will have to pay 33.5% less tax on premiums they receive after top performances during competitions including the Olympic Games and World Championships.

Currently, professional competitors have to pay the normal rate of 50% on their profit premiums. However, the Belgian Government announced on Tuesday that this will decrease to 16.5% tax on premiums up to €50,040.

"The performances of our Belgian athletes inspire the whole country. When they win medals and earn bonuses it is normal that we provide them with clarity on how these are treated for tax purposes," Vincent Van Peteghem, Federal Minister of Finance, stated in a press release.

He explained that Belgian athletes not only help put Belgium on the sports map but that they are also "an inspiration and example for thousands of young people in Belgium."

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A single standardised tax level was set across all sports and all prizes, whether a medal is awarded or not, to avoid any discrepancy between athletic achievements for the "favourable regime."

The legal framework will only apply to premiums awarded under the following conditions:

  • At Olympic or Paralympic Games
  • At European or world championships by national or international sports federations
  • By national Olympic Committees
  • By public powers or public non-profit institutions (including the National Lottery) which financed premiums at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

During the previous Olympic Games in London and Rio de Janeiro, Belgian athletes who had won prizes did not have to pay taxes on their premiums. But this exemption did not apply to this year's games in Tokyo.

It was later reported a high tax rate was levied on the prize money won by Belgian athletes. During the Tokyo games, Belgian athletes managed to secure 26 top-eight places, seven of which were medals. Prize money totalled more than €570,000.

After this revelation, Van Peteghem announced in September that he would draw up a legal framework for the fiscal treatment of premiums and prize money of Belgian top athletes. This has become the newly-announced favourable tax rate.

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