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Copyrights

These are regarded as professional income and taxed as such. The royalties are received either direct by authors or through special non-commercial associations (sociétés civiles) having no legal entity.

In 1928 the revenue authorities entered into negotiations with these companies and it was agreed that professional tax should be collected by them at the time of distributing royalties to authors or their assigns, whatever the nationality of the recipients. For purposes of simplicity, and in order to avoid adjusting the tax to the situation of the innumerable recipients of these royalties, it was decided that the tax should be at a uniform rate of 1 ½ per cent.

It is paid into the State Treasury at the end of each quarter.

As regards beneficiaries who are neither domiciled nor resident in Belgium, this payment is regarded as final.

Recipients, however, who are domiciled or resident in Belgium are treated like other taxpayers and must include in their annual declaration the amount they have received in royalties. In order to comply with the fiscal requirements, the persons or companies that collect and distribute royalties forward to the revenue authorities at the beginning of the year individual forms for the authors on whose behalf they have paid royalties during the previous year, with the Christian name, surname and domicile of each author and the total amount of royalties paid and tax withheld. On the strength of these forms, the authorities are able to adjust the fiscal position of all those who have to make the annual return. The latter, it should be added, must contain not only royalties paid in Belgium, but those received from abroad.

Royalties received by authors direct without the intermediary of any distributing organisation must, of course, also be included in the annual declaration.1

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