As a homeowner, you may have to pay various taxes, including the “précompte immobilier”, a local property tax.

The “précompte immobilier”: a tax based on cadastral income

The “précompte immobilier” is a tax which every owner of property and real estate, such as land, a house or a flat, must pay every year.
This tax is calculated by the Belgian Measurements & Assessments Administration, based on your indexed cadastral income (or CI).

The “précompte immobilier” property tax to be paid is a percentage of the CI, which is simply the average normal income which an owner should receive each year from his/her flat or house.
This percentage and the amount of tax to be paid vary because they depend on various criteria, including the property and its geographical location.

Contrary to popular belief, cadastral income is not assessed on the basis of the real value of a property.
A new house with a significant value may have a lower CI than old commercial premises in the city centre, if it doesn’t generate any income.

The cadastral income enables the authorities to calculate the “précompte immobilier” property tax and serves as a basis for estimating other property taxes you must pay.
It is calculated using a particular date of reference: 1st January 1975.

The “précompte immobilier” is a regional tax. In other words, each region collects the tax directly from the real estate in the area.

You should therefore contact the relevant regional authorities with any questions about your “précompte immobilier” property tax. If your home is in Wallonia, you must contact the Walloon tax authorities or SPW Fiscalité.

If your property is located in the Brussels-Capital Region, you should contact Bruxelles-Fiscalité.

If your home is located in the Flemish Region, all “précompte immobilier” property tax applications and questions are handled by the Vlaamse Belastingdienst.

Calculating the “précompte immobilier” property tax by region

As mentioned above, a property’s geographical location plays an important role in the calculation of the “précompte immobilier” property tax.

The percentage of cadastral income taken into account in the calculation varies from region to region.

In addition, provinces, municipalities and urban areas can increase the basic rate by applying additional centimes to the calculation. These additional centimes are a kind of percentage increase which is applied to the property tax.

If a municipality decides to apply one hundred additional cents, this means that you have to pay an additional tax of €1 for every euro of tax.

Reductions in the “précompte immobilier” property tax

Although the “précompte immobilier” property tax can have a negative impact on your household income, you can benefit from a reduction in certain cases:

  • Low cadastral income
  • Two or more dependent children
  • Unoccupied property
  • Subsidy
  • Disability or handicap, etc.

In all three Belgian regions, you can claim a 25% reduction on your “précompte immobilier” property tax if the cadastral income of your home is less than €745. This reduction can be up to 50% for a period of 5 years, if your property is new and if the construction work was carried out without any subsidy.

In addition to a reduction for low-income households, a reduction in the “précompte immobilier” property tax is available in all three Belgian regions for households with two or more dependent children. In the Brussels Region, you can claim a 10% reduction per child.

In Wallonia, you can claim a flat-rate reduction of around €125 per child, while in the Flemish Region, the amount is not fixed and depends primarily on the number of children in your household.

Just as with households with two or more dependent children, households with a disabled person or a person recognised as a severely injured war veteran can claim a reduction in the “précompte immobilier” property tax.

In the Brussels Region, the reduction is set at 20%, while in the Walloon Region, it can range from €125 to €325 for disabled occupants, with a reduction of €250 for married couples and €325 for disabled spouses. Severely injured war veterans can benefit from a reduction of €250.

In the Flemish Region, the reduction in the “précompte immobilier” property tax is equivalent to the reduction given to households with two dependent children.

You can claim a reduction in the “précompte immobilier” property tax if your property is unoccupied for at least 180 days; you must provide documents justifying the involuntary nature of the absence of an occupant.

In Flanders, the minimum period of non-productivity for which a reduced “précompte immobilier” property tax can be claimed is 90 days.

If your home is occupied and you don’t qualify for any reductions because of the make-up of your household (two or more dependent children), you can receive a flat-rate subsidy of €131 (the amount granted in 2020) in the Brussels Region. This subsidy, called the “Be Home” subsidy, is available to all Brussels residents who are both owners and occupants of their homes.

Other ways to benefit from a reduction in the “précompte immobilier” property tax include renting out a property via a social real estate agency and building an energy-efficient house.

If you rent out your property via a social real estate agency, you can benefit from an exemption in the Walloon and Brussels Regions.

The reduction for building an energy-efficient house is only available in the Flemish Region. It is also available to owners of older properties who have carried out major renovation work to improve energy efficiency.

It’s important to note that if you benefit from a reduction because of your tenants, you must pass this amount on to them. This also applies in the event of a reduction because of the presence of two or more dependent children or a disabled occupant.