10 January 2018 – Belgium’s first step in GDPR implementation

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.

October 2017 Update – Option to subject professional leasing to VAT initiative cancelled

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.

September 2017 – Option to subject professional leasing to VAT

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.

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Anouk De Graef appointed Chairman of the Georgia Business Club

Anouk De Graef, VW’s real estate partner, has been appointed Chairman of the Georgia Business Club. The Georgia Business Club is an Antwerp-based real estate platform for constructors, entrepreneurs and the liberal professions. For the time being, Georgia Business Club is composed of 56 members active in various sectors: developers, investors, architects, constructors, real estate brokers, architects, … For all Georgia Business Club’ events, please see https://lnkd.in/gCRT23Z.

Julie Borgerhoff & Koen Byttebier publish key legal guide on “Crowdfunding” in Belgium

Need crowdfunding for your ideas or projects? Crowdfunding to invest directly or through starter funds? Or crowdfunding to support not-for-profit initiatives? Our associate, Julie Borgerhoff, offers legal guidance in her book “Crowdfunding”, the first manual on the law related to Crowdfunding.

https://www.diekeure.be/nl-be/professional/7587/crowdfunding

VW’s Hospitality team assisted the Irish hotel management group PREM in the renewal of Holiday Inn Schuman

VW’s Hospitality team, consisting of partner Jacques Verhaegen and associate Florian De Rouck, assisted the Irish hotel management group PREM in the successful renewal of its management agreement with respect to the Brussels-based Holiday Inn Schuman. Prem Group manages over 40 hotels across Europe from city centre budget properties to serviced apartments and luxury country resorts.

June 2017 – Florian De Rouck co-organises international conference on ‘Moral Rights & New Technologies’

Florian De Rouck, member of VW’s IP/IT team, co-organised the international conference ‘Moral Rights & New Technologies: Creativity & Authorship in a Digital World’ with Intellectual Property and Moral Rights expert Prof. Mira T. Sundara Rajan at the University of Glasgow, U.K.. Florian participated on the conference’s panel on Information Technology and spoke about Authorship in Artificial Intelligence(AI)-type environments. For more information about the event, see https://lnkd.in/gu7TTmM and https://lnkd.in/gUd_wTh