Registering a Vessel in Belgium
Yesterday, Capt. Marc Nuytemans, MD at the Belgian Shipowners’ Association, gave a passionate presentation about the history and evolution of ship registration in Belgium. We therefor decided to refresh your collective memories by repeating some important facts about the Ship Registration Procedure in Belgium.
- The Belgian authorities gain control over shipping safety and working conditions on board.
- A number of measures taken by the Belgian authorities in the framework of the EU State Aid Guidelines have turned the Register is a competitive one vis-à-vis other registers.
a) Tax measures in support of business. The programme laws of 2 August 2002 and 27 December 2004 provide for a series of tax measures in support of companies running maritime operations. Among the provisions features the lump sum profit setting (i.e. the so-called tonnage tax system) already in force in several EU States. Ship owners who do not wish to take advantage of this system will be offered a relatively attractive alternative tax regime. The text of the programme laws (consolidated) and the explanatory statements are downloadable HERE.
b) The social security of seafaring EU residents will come under Belgian law. However ship owners shall be exempted from the employer’s part of social security charges as well as from part of the employee’s social security charges. If special conditions are met social security charges of non-EU residents may be paid in the country of origin.
c) For the seafarers employed on board of EU-registered ships, ship owners shall be exempted from the payment of the withholding tax on professional income levied on seafarer wages, on the condition that the seafarers concerned are Belgian tax-payers.
- It is expected that flying the Belgian flag will encourage youngsters to choose a career in the Merchant Marine.
To have your ship registered in Belgium’s ownership register or bareboat register, please contact us for assistance.
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