The Startup Plan: investing in Belgian companies has never been this easy

— Investment tips — 2 minutes read

Following the example of French legislation, Belgian legislation offers since recently a fiscal advantage that encourages the support of young companies. By facilitating fundraisings and loans via crowdfunding platforms, the "Startup Plan" creates a big advantage for investors.

From all measures that were called to life during 2015 by the Michel Government, there is one that attracts entrepreneurs in particular: the Startup Plan. This reformation of tax legislation affecting the total income allows for a tax reduction for investments in Belgian startups and SME's. The advantage, that took effect from July 1st, is valid for both direct investments and investments via a crowdfunding platform. The goal is to encourage people to invest in the real economy and to simplify access to the financing of startups. This is an ambitious system, which exists already several years in French legislation: "le dispositif IR PME." This law allows tax payers to deduct the capital invested in French SME's (via a crowdfunding platform) from their taxes. A system that seems similar to the Belgian one, but proves to be less interesting after a closer look, as the numbers below indicate.

France: dispositif IR PME Belgium: Startup Plan Maximum invested capital €50.000 per year €100.000 per year Fiscally deductible percentage 18% 30% or 45%, depending on the size of the company Mandatory term to retain the shares minimum 4 to 5 years.

With deposits of a maximum of €50.000 per year for each person and a deductible percentage of 18%, The French "dispositif IR PME" 2015 is a lot less interesting than the investments (€100.000) and the fiscally deductible percentage (30% or 45%) proposed in the Startup Plan.

Tax payers will have to provide proof of their investment in the capital of a company via a crowdfunding platform to benefit from the tax reduction. This proof needs to be included with their tax declaration as a 'physical person' covering the period during which the financing took place. 

More specifically: 

  • a proof of investment issued by the platform, or
  • a proof of ownership of shares..

In addition to a fiscal advantage related to the capital invested, the Startup Plan provides yet another measure to encourage investments. Each person who gives a loan via a crowdfunding platform benefits from the fiscal advantage of an exemption of withholding taxes on the interests of loans for the first tranche of €9965. To benefit from this exemption for loans, the legislation imposes a few important conditions: the loans need to have a duration of minimum 4 years and they need to be made to startups and SME's of an age of maximum 48 months.