The Act of 24 December 2002 has modified provisions of the 1999 Belgian tax regime for stock options granted under an employee stock option plan. These modifications were necessary because the new tax regime did not account for the possibility that the economic climate might deteriorate as much as it has in recent years.
Since the new tax regime was introduced by the Act of 26 March 1999, numerous stock option plans have been set up; over 60 percent of all listed Belgian companies have set up ESOPs for their employees. To minimise the income tax due, most of these plans were drafted so that the options were limited to five years and the beneficiaries would be unable to exercise their stock options before the end of the third calendar year following the year of the grant. (Read the article …)