Set Up Business in Belgium

Belgium Expansion Guide

Global Upside helps companies set up, hire, and operate in Belgium. Set up a legal entity quickly and easily with our solutions for branch, subsidiary, and rep office. Looking for an alternative to permanent establishment? Hire and pay employees in Belgium without a legal entity by using our PEO & employer of record services. Once your business is set up, our teams can support with recruitment and staffing, human resources, employee benefits, payroll, accounting, and tax.

Capital City



Euro (€)


Dutch, German, French


Federal Constitutional Monarchy with a Parliamentary System

Country Overview

Belgium is a free-enterprise economy, with the majority of the GDP generated by its service sector. The nation has a modern transportation facility, excellent infrastructure, and is focused on international connections.

  • Belgium ranks as the 25th largest economy in the world in terms of the nominal GDP.
  • Belgium ranks as the 12th largest economy in Europe.
  • Belgium is one of the top exporters of chemical products.
  • Belgium has relatively low rates of corruption.

Options for setting up a legal entity in Belgium include:

Public Limited Company (société anonyme/naamloze vennootschap)

Public Limited Company (société anonyme/naamloze vennootschap) is an independent and distinctive legal establishment and is similar to a corporation in the US. It is a form of business entity that sets up an organization as a legitimate individual that can claim and move property, enter contracts, and can be held obligated for violations. One of its key advantages is that it restricts the proprietors’ very own risk for the organization’s activities.

Limited Company (société à responsabilité limitée/besloten vennootschap)

Limited Company (société à responsabilité limitée/besloten vennootschap) is a kind of establishment that is formed by at least one individual whose responsibility is restricted to their commitment. The privileges of accomplices are just transferrable under specific conditions.

Belgian branch office of a foreign company

A Belgian branch office of a foreign company is not an independent and distinctive legal establishment from the foreign company. The legal delegate will have to represent the foreign organization concerning the exercises of its Belgian branch office.

It takes a minimum of two to three weeks to incorporate a legal establishment in Belgium.

The Belgian employment law applies to any employee working in Belgium. Even though parties are allowed to decide the law material to the employment relationship, obligatory arrangements of Belgian law must consistently be consented to. Most provisions for the security of workers are required and are essentially accommodated by rule or by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Due to the multilingual characteristic of the Belgian market, the provisions in the employment agreements must be stated in either Dutch, German, or French – spoken in the region where the business headquarters are located.

  • Job description
  • Working hours
  • Job location
  • Vacations
  • Remuneration
  • Trial clauses or non-competition and privacy

Payroll frequency in Belgium is monthly and the pay date is usually the last day of the month but can extend till the 15th of each following month. The Joint Labor Committee decides whether a 13th-month salary is applicable.

The annual records of Belgian organizations must be drafted as per Belgian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The utilization of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is compulsory for consolidated accounts of recorded organizations and discretionary for consolidated accounts of others however may not be utilized for the annual accounts.

Corporate Tax

The corporate tax rate in Belgium is 29%.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

The VAT rate in Belgium is 21%.

Employers must notify the employees of the personal data processing and also, in some cases, may require their consent. Registrations with the Privacy Commission are required in specific cases. Special instructions apply to transfer the data outside the EEA. Substantial limitations on monitoring email and internet usage including the use of cameras at the workplace. Belgium has been subject to the General Data Protection Regulation, since May 2018, which has presented noteworthy new obligations and onerous approvals for employers.

Anti-Bribery & Anti-Corruption Law

Bribery of public officials, in Belgium, is governed under Articles 246 to 252 of the Belgian Criminal Code.
The Belgian Law differentiates between bribing a public official and private officials.

Bribery of Public Officials

For Individuals: Principal Sanctions
i) Imprisonment for a minimum of 6 months to 15 years.
ii) A monetary fine of € 600 up to € 600,000.

For Individuals: Accessory Sanctions
i) Ban on operating any public function for a specific timeframe.
ii) Loss of civil and political rights for a specified period.
iii) Special expropriation.
iv) Prohibition from practicing certain duties, professions, or activities in the commercial area.
v) Disciplinary authorizations for state representatives.
vi) Tax penalties.

For Legal Entities: Principal Sanctions
i) Imprisonment is transformed to a fine of € 18,000 up to € 2.16M.
ii) A monetary fine of EUR600 up to EUR600,000.

For Legal Entities: Accessory Sanctions
i) Prohibition from civic procurement dealings.
ii) Elimination from the list of official corporations for public procurement.
iii) Disbanding of the firm.
iv) Tax penalties.
v) Reputational damages following the publication of the circumstances surrounding the offense in the press.

Private or commercial bribery is monitored under Article 504 bis and 504 ter of the Private Bribery Statute.

Bribery of Private Officials

For Individuals: Principal Sanctions
i) Imprisonment for a minimum of 6 months to 3 years.
ii) A monetary fine of € 600 up to € 300,000.

For Individuals: Accessory Sanctions
i) Sanctions such as elimination from certain activities are applicable.