News from Panis

€ 119 million on dormant accounts

Money in bank accounts that have shown no activity for five years will be transferred by the banks to the Deposit and Consignment Office (Deposito- en Consignatiekas).

For a balance of more than € 20.00, the bank is obliged to notify the owner in writing.  If the bank  is not able to inform the owner, the balance in the account is transferred to the State Treasury.  The owner, however, may reclaim the money during a period of 30 years.

Balances of less than € 20, which were transferred to the State Treasury, cannot be reclaimed by the owner.

New IFRS requirements for sightholder of mining companies

In the near future, the most important mining companies will demand more transparant and comparable financial reports. As a result, sightholders or future applicants are requested to provide financial information in IFRS standards (International Financial Reporting Standards).

Panis will be happy to assist sightholders or applicants in the preparation of IFRS statements and assistance with the audit. We are confident that we have an added value through our expertise in the diamond industry and excellent connections with the mining companies.


Obligation to declare new liquid assets: new sanction

Any person entering or leaving the European Union via Belgium and who is carrying 10,000 EUR or more must declare this to the Customs Authorities on his own initiative. The Customs will draw up a written and electronic statement which is made available to the Financial Intelligence Processing Unit (the so-called “Money-Laundering Unit”).

For the movement of liquid assets of 10,000 € or more within the European Union a declaration is only required if the authorities demand to do so.

Foreign constructions must be mentioned on the personal income tax statement

Taxpayers with an interest in a legal construction must declare this in their personal income tax statement from now on.

Legal constructions are private equity structures such as trusts or foundations and foreign constructions in tax havens.

The taxpayer must indicate whether s/he, the partner or children are founder-member or beneficiary of such private equity structure. The name of the founder-member or beneficiary must also be mentioned on the tax statement.

Belgian government seeks to introduce a carat tax for diamond traders

The following article was published in the financial newspaper De Tijd, dated 3 April, on the possible introduction of the so-called ‘carat tax’, on the basis of which companies would no longer be taxed on the basis of their profit but on a percentage of their turnover.

The intended tax regime must still be submitted to the European Commission for approval. No fixed date has been given for its introduction. Panis will keep you informed of the further developments regarding this subject.

Meet Panis Dubai in Antwerp

Our partner from Panis Dubai, Mr. Shah Hitesh will be in Antwerp the 23rd, 24th and 25th of January 2014. If you wish to meet Mr. Shah concerning the start-up of a company in Dubai or other relevant information, please contact Panis to arrange a meeting.

Important: new threshold for cash payments (at most 3,000 EUR)

As of 1 January 2014, cash payments of more than 3,000 Euro, reduced from maximally 5,000 Euro up to then, are forbidden in Belgium.

Since 1 January 2014 it is also forbidden to pay cash for real estate.

AML controls & training

Dear customers,

Last year different anti-money laundering controls were carried out in the diamond industry.

This week and the next few weeks a number of thorough controls will follow to check whether the anti-money laundering legislation is correctly applied by diamond dealers. In case of a possible control you will be notified in time by the competent authorities.

Last year Panis informed you already about the planned controls and organised group training on anti-money laundering legislation.

Withholding tax on liquidation payments increases from 10% to 25%

The retained profits distributed among the shareholders upon the liquidation of a company are now subject to 10% withholding tax.

From 1 October 2014 onwards, the tax rate will be 25%.

There are two ways to avoid this increase of the withholding tax:

1/ By liquidating your company before 1 October 2014.

2/ By converting the reserves of the company approved by the general meeting at the latest on 31 March 2013 by notarial deed into capital during the most recent full taxable period befor 1 October 2014.

Invoice details with respect to synthetic diamonds

From now on, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses obliges its members to mention on all invoices and consignment documents that the invoiced diamonds have a natural origin and are not synthetic diamonds.

In case of synthetic diamonds, it should be mentioned explicitly.

The following text should be mentioned on all invoices and consignments documents:

1/ With respect to invoices: