Le nouveau POZ est arrivé !

After a lot of ink being spilled and after a long wait, the text of the law concerning the Pension Agreement for the Self-Employed (Pensioenovereenkomst voor Zelfstandigen - POZ) has now appeared in the Belgian Official Gazette on 30 March 2018. To be precise, a self-employed private individual can now take out these pension policies starting from 1 July 2018, three months following the publication. But is this really that helpful?

Whereas a self-employed person not in the form of a company could only build up a limited supplementary pension via the VAPZ, the POZ fills this gap. However, the calculation of the maximum premium turns out not to be that simple and extensive due to the changed interpretation of the 80% rule.

The maximum working years that can be made up is 10 years, but these can only be charged from 1 January 2018. Therefore, there is no scope for back service payments at the start. There is also a restriction as regards calculating the reference income: the calculation is not based on the “normal remuneration” but on the three-year average taxable income. This is moreover not that easy to find out and only available late in the year. Also a tax of 4.4% is payable on the POZ premium, unlike the VAPZ.

Tax-wise the maximum premium entitles you to a personal tax deduction of 30% (plus the municipal tax). A 10% deduction (+municipal tax) applies in the event of a pay-out due to retirement or death, in addition to the other deductions that form part of the 2nd pillar (3.55% ZIV and 0-2% solidarity).

In practice it turns out that self-employed persons with lower reference incomes would be best advised to optimise the existing possibilities offered by the VAPZ and pension savings in the first instance. Self-employed persons with higher incomes can build up significant additional pension capital via the POZ, but then the question arises whether it might not be more useful to set up a company in that case.

On the basis of the foregoing comments, we assume that the POZ may be mainly interesting in practice for taxable incomes between EUR 50,000 and 75,000.