As a first step in Belgium’s privacy reform, a new law was published today setting up a Belgian Data Protection Authority (replacing the current Belgian Privacy Commission) in anticipation of the future applicability of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). With this law, the Belgian Data Protection Authority acquires substantial investigative and judiciary powers, as well as new bodies which will be able to impose the sanctions introduced under the GDPR.
While the GDPR will provide for a greater degree of harmonization than the current regime , there are approximately 50 possibilities for Member States exceptions, additional requirements or specifications to the GDPR (e.g. in terms of processing of HR data, minimum age of children for consent, situations where a DPO is mandatory). These will be the subject of a separate piece of legislation, for which no draft is currently available.
Following up on our earlier post in September, we have meanwhile been informed that the Federal Government has ultimately decided past weekend to cancel the proposed introduction of an optional mechanism to subject professional leasing to VAT for notably budgetary reasons.
We believe this is highly unfortunate. The introduction of such a system could have drastically improved the competitivity of professional tenants towards foreign competitors and could have affected the real estate market on various fronts. Importantly, the system would have eliminated the need for complex structures to make the VAT-system applicable to a priori exempted transactions.
Notwithstanding the above, it cannot be excluded that the Federal Government may still introduce more minor changes to the existing real estate VAT regimes such as regarding the putting at the disposal of storage facilities. The discussions regarding these matters is still ongoing and other initiatives may still be developed.
Our Tax practice will keep you up date regarding these evolutions via our News section.
On 13 October 2017, the Brussels Parliament voted the ordinance which will substantially modify the Brussels zoning and town planning rules (the so-called Code bruxellois de l’Aménagement du Territoire, in short “COBAT” / Brussels Wetboek Ruimtelijke Ordening, in short “BWRO”).
The text will be published in the Belgian State Gazette in the coming weeks and will probably enter into force in the course of 2018.
More news to come regarding this important reform.
Bruno De Duve, who leads our Tax practice group, & Helene Mulier, summer intern, discuss in depth the recent legislative initiative of the Belgian Federal Government to allow the possibility to subject to VAT the mere letting of an immovable property to a business subject to VAT as of 1 January 2018. This draft bill may drastically improve the competitivity of professional tenants towards foreign competitors and may effect the real estate market on various fronts.
Emmanuel Szafran and Florian De Rouck going in depth on GDPR implementation with Verhaegen Walravens’ partner Approach during a lunch seminar. Our strong legal expertise in personal data protection and GDPR compliance combined with Approach cyber security and risk management expertise makes it a unique value proposition for our clients.
Jacques Verhaegen & Daria Likhatcheva assisted cybersecurity specialist Approach with the acquisition of TInSys (Total Integration Systems), a Belgian software development company specialising in mobile apps and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Verhaegen Walravens has been referenced in Tibbie McIntyre‘s Conference Report – ‘Moral Rights and New Technologies: Authorship, Attribution and Integrity in a Digital World‘, posted on today’s 1709 blog in relation to authorship and new technologies:
“Florian De Rouck from Verhaegen Walraevens, discussed artificial intelligence. He presented on the moral rights repercussions regarding artificial intelligence, from the 1960’s software Aaron to the cutting edge Google Magenta project, which is designed to ‘advance the state of the art in machine intelligence for music and art generation’. As it develops to greater and greater complexity, artificial intelligence will surely destabilise our current understanding of the concept of the author and the creative product.”
Catherine Wijnants, VW’s partner in Administrative Law, gave a presentation in Antwerp on the major reform of the Flemish permitting scheme, the “Omgevingsvergunning” before the KMLPA, the Royal Association of Land Surveyors of Antwerp. The new scheme introduces a new single permit, which integrates the previously distinct building, environmental and allotment permits. As of 1 January 2018, the integrated permit will also cover the retail activity of certain projects. The new regime partly entered into force on 23 February 2017 and will be fully operational as of 1 June 2017.
Verhaegen Walravens co-sponsored Flagey and Marie-Jo Lafontaine’s newest film “Brussels Swings ! A Road Movie of Sound”. The inaugural private viewing of the film at Flagey on April 26 was a huge success and received highly positive acclaim.
Project manager Daria Likhatcheva, Brussels based Russian speaking corporate lawyer, will accompany Benelux located entrepreneurs doing business in Russia, as well as Russian entrepreneurs doing business in the Benelux countries.
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.