Changes in supplementary pensions for athletes

December 24, 2021

 #retirement #athletes #socialsecurity #pension

Previous regime

Friday, 24 December 2021 – In accordance with Belgian law supplementary pensions can only be distributed as of retirement. However, for athletes, an exception was foreseen. When athletes definitely and entirely ended their relevant professional activities, the supplementary pension could already be distributed as of the age of 35.

If distributed as a lump sum between the age of 35 and 61, the employer-funded pension was taxable at a flat tax rate of 20% (to be increased with communal tax). If distributed as of the age of 61 or ‘retirement’, the tax rate applicable to the employer-funded pension was lowered to 18%, 16,5% or even 10% (plus communal tax). The foregoing is of course only applicable when Belgium has the power to tax the pension in accordance with international tax law.

New regime

As part of the global revision of the Belgian tax and social security regime for clubs and athletes, the possibility of supplementary pension early withdrawal as of the age of 35 is eliminated. Hence, athletes will in principle now also need to wait until at least the age of 65 (being the current legal retirement age) to have their Belgian supplementary pension distributed. Athletes retiring early (possible as of 60, depending on the career length) would be able to have their supplementary pension distributed at that time.

The new regime will, nevertheless, only be applicable to affiliations to pension schemes as of 20 October 2021. Athletes employed by a Belgian employer and as such affiliated to a supplementary pension scheme before that date, will remain subject to the previous (legal and tax) regime.

For this article, the ATFIELD team was able to rely on the dedicated assistance of Sarah De Wilde (, Senior Associate at Tiberghien Lawyers.