Owners of vacation homes abroad are often overtaxed reported The Echo on Friday, based on a ruling made last week by the European Court of Justice. However, this judgment will have serious implications for the Belgians who own vacation homes within the European Union. Until now, owners of second homes paid taxes based on the "real value" of the homes in question. However, according to the decision of the European Court of Justice, such a situation cannot continue.
In Belgium, housing income - or the rent the owner saves by living in the house - is estimated via the cadastral income, which is usually less than the actual rental income.
For residences abroad, the Belgian tax authorities generally surf websites to check the rent amounts for similar houses. However, the European Court of Justice has ruled that as discrimination and requires that the Belgian tax authorities use the same criteria for all homes.
"That means a second home abroad can not be taxed because there are no parameters. Whoever receives a tax notice in the mail while being taxed on the basis of the real rental value may raise objections, "says Michel Maus, a tax law professor at the VUB, a Belgian university.