After 3 years, I’m leaving the country ! Was I a good citizen ? How much did I cost/earn during my stay ?
Belgium is one of the country with the highest taxes rate in the world. Only a handful of countries have a higher rate. Income taxes rate is at 50%, VAT (sales taxes) is 21% for most product. And we have an expensive socialized health insurance
I have a very good salary for the country (but nothing crazy, just an experienced IT guy, I’m not a banker or politician). My wife has also a salary above average.
So let’s get in the numbers, how much did I pay to the Kingdom of Belgium ?
50% of my income is going to the King of Belgium ! (ok, maybe first to the federal government :))
21% VAT (sales tax) goes on every purchase (a few basic foods are at “only” 12%)
In total, over 3 years, I paid 80.000€ of taxes (directly & indirectly)
Social security, unemployment & co
Before being taxed, 13% of the gross salary is sent to social security
- 7.5% for pension
- 3.55% for healthcare
- 1.15% for sickness compensation (when you don’t work because of sickness you get paid)
- 0.87% for unemployement
But the employer has also to pay a measly 34% of the gross salary in social security taxes.
- 8.86% for pension
- 3.8% for healthcare
- 2.35% compensating lack of salary during sickness
- 7% for family allocation
- 3% for unemployement
- 7.48% for “salary moderation”, it’s plainly to make more expensive higher salaries
- a bunch of other small 0.x% for training, work accident & co to reach 34%
Between my employer & my taxes, I paid 100.000€ of social security related taxes. So in total, over 3 years I paid 180.000€ to Belgium.
What did I get
Ok, I paid a lot, but in exchange I have received some services:
It costed us nothing to get a child (between insurance & family allocation), the allocation we received probably covered everything (except daycare) until her 1st birthday.
Speaking of daycare, the waiting list for public daycare was…… 2.5 years (around the time when she’s supposed to start kinder garden). Awesome, isn’t it ? So we had to pay a 500€ per month private daycare.
I got 7 days for parental leave, my wife got 15 weeks . The ridiculous part is that her “compensating salary” was higher than her usual salary as it was taxed at 11% instead of 50% for regular work.
Our out-of-pocket healthcare costs ended up at around 1500€ for 2 years
- We lived in a relatively safe country (except that my bike got stolen from a closed parking :()
- Pension : by default everybody save 17% of salary for pension. What do you get for pension is ((averaged income adjusted for inflation) / 45) * family rate (0.65 or 0.7 depending if you are in couple or single)
It’s a pretty simple system, if you work less or longer than the mandatory 45 years, your average income change.
- Socialized healthcare: it looks relatively cheap, but there are a lot of hidden costs (nearly 11% of gross salary is allocated to it)
Have you ever tried to calculate how much you are paying to your country ?