Eternity Law International News EMI license in Belgium

EMI license in Belgium

September 13, 2023


The financial landscape is undergoing rapid transformation, with E-Money Institutions (EMIs) playing a pivotal role in reshaping our approach to financial transactions and sales. Belgium, frequently referred to as the “Fintech Epicenter of Europe,” stands as a symbol of innovation within the financial sector. One of the driving forces behind Belgium’s burgeoning fintech sector is the accessibility and appeal of EMI licenses. In this comprehensive article, we will take a closer look at the fundamental prerequisites, benefits, application process, capital considerations, tax implications, prices, and unique advantages linked to obtaining an EMI license in Belgium.

Prerequisites for Belgium’s EMI License

Before delving into the intricacies of securing an EMI license in Belgium, it is essential to comprehend the core requirements. To qualify for an electronic money license, aspiring applicants must satisfy specific conditions:

To be considered eligible, applicants must:

  • Establish a Legal Entity: Create a registered legal entity within Belgium, commonly in the form of a limited liability company (UAB).
  • Meet Minimum Capital Criteria: Ensure that your bank account has a minimum initial capital available.
  • Undergo a “Fit and Proper” Evaluation: Key individuals involved in your registered business must undergo a comprehensive “fit and proper” assessment. This evaluation ensures their qualifications and integrity align with the established regulatory standards.
  • Safeguard Client Funds: Separate client funds from your operational funds to guarantee the security of customer electronic money.

Advantages of Belgium’s EMI Licenses

Belgium’s EMI licenses come with an array of appealing benefits that make them highly sought after:

  • EU Passporting Privilege: Upon approval, an EMI license in Belgium grants the valuable advantage of providing services across the entire European Union under the EU passporting framework. This simplifies market access and expansion.
  • Fintech-Friendly Regulatory Environment: Belgium’s regulatory framework is exceptionally conducive to fintech innovation. It nurtures an environment where EMI companies can thrive, innovate, and introduce novel financial services.
  • Access to SEPA: Belgian EMIs benefit from access to the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). This integration streamlines cross-border transactions, sales and purchases, reducing complexity in capital operations within a bank account.

Comprehensive Services for License Acquisition

Navigating the intricate e-money licensing process can be a complex endeavor. To simplify this journey, many firms offer professional services tailored to assist companies in securing their licenses. These comprehensive services encompass:

  • Consultation and Guidance: Drawing from their extensive experience, seasoned consultants provide invaluable insights into Belgium’s regulatory landscape, helping you understand the requirements and prepare a robust application.
  • Documentation Assistance: Professionals can assist you in compiling, organizing, and structuring the necessary documentation to ensure compliance with regulatory standards.
  • Fit and Proper Assessments: These services help you conduct rigorous fit and proper assessments, ensuring that key personnel meet the stringent criteria set by regulators.
  • AML/KYC Framework Development: Consultants assist in crafting comprehensive Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) policies and procedures to meet regulatory obligations.
  • Risk Management Strategy: Consultants work with you to develop a robust risk management strategy that addresses potential issues proactively.
  • Application Submission Support: Experts guide you through the application submission process, ensuring that it is complete, accurate, and stands the best chance of approval.

Taxation of EMI Companies in Belgium

Understanding the tax law implications of operating an EMI company in Belgium is crucial for effective financial planning. Several key tax considerations come into play:

  • Corporate Income Tax (CIT): Belgium imposes a standard corporate income tax rate, which, as of my last knowledge update in September 2021, was 25%. However, certain companies, such as SMEs, may benefit from reduced tax rates on a portion of their taxable income, potentially offering tax advantages.
  • Value Added Tax (VAT): EMI services provided in Belgium are generally subject to Value Added Tax (VAT) based on the standard VAT rates, which can range from 6% to 21%, depending on the nature of the services. Understanding the VAT implications is crucial for financial planning.
  • Withholding Tax: Belgium has an extensive network of double taxation treaties with many countries, which can impact withholding tax rates on payments made to non-residents. These treaties may provide for reduced or exempt withholding tax on dividends, interest, and royalties.
  • Personal Income Tax: Salaries and benefits provided to employees of EMI companies in Belgium are subject to personal income tax. The tax rates for individuals in Belgium can vary, with progressive rates ranging from 25% to 50% on their income, including employment income.

Cost Considerations for Obtaining an EMI License

The cost of securing an EMI license in Belgium can vary significantly, depending on a multitude of factors. These include the complexity of your business model, the extent of professional assistance required, and government fees. On average, the total price, inclusive of professional services and regulatory fees, may range from €25,000 to €50,000 or even higher. It is imperative to conduct thorough budgeting and seek professional advice to determine the precise costs aligned with your unique circumstances.

Our Distinctive Advantages

When contemplating the path to acquiring an e-money license in Belgium, you may wonder why you should choose our services. Our unique advantages distinguish us from the competition:

Proven Experience: Our team boasts a proven track record of successfully assisting clients in obtaining EMI licenses in Belgium.

Tailored Solutions: We understand that every business is unique. Our services are personalized to provide guidance and support tailored to your specific needs.

Efficiency: Our in-depth knowledge of the Belgian regulatory landscape allows us to expedite the licensing process, saving you time and money.

Compliance Assurance: We ensure that your application and operations are fully compliant with Belgian and EU law standards, minimizing the risk of regulatory issues.

Ongoing Support: Beyond license acquisition, we provide ongoing support and consultancy to help your EMI business not only survive but thrive in Belgium’s burgeoning fintech sector.

In conclusion

Belgium’s  E-Money Institution licenses offer an exceptional opportunity to access the European fintech market. With the right guidance, a keen understanding of the requirements, and prudent financial planning, businesses can tap into this vibrant ecosystem and contribute to the ongoing evolution of the capital services industry. If you’re contemplating embarking on this journey, our expert services can pave the way for your success in Belgium’s dynamic and rapidly expanding fintech landscape.

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