Until 2008 Belgium applied its beneficial tax system for sportsmen (and women) only to incoming foreign sportsmen: their income was taxed at a special rate of 18%. This special rate could not be enjoyed by Belgian resident sportsmen, and led to a certain preference to contract foreign sportsmen.
A solution against this bias was found by on the one hand limiting the period during which incoming foreign sportsmen are taxed against 18%. On the other hand, the employers of Belgian resident sportsmen (and of longer present incoming foreign sportsmen) became entitled to an 80% reduction of the withholding tax which they need to pay-through to the Belgian tax authorities. Many sportsmen have apparently been contracted on a net income basis, so that the costs for an employing club of the change from the 18% to the new system has remained limited. In fact, the tax burden has even been slightly reduced and this beneficial tax system has in fact become available for Belgian origin sportsmen as well!
In addition there is a new tax regime for young sportspersons (a special 16.5% tax rate), indirect sports income derived by older sportsmen (which will be taxed at 33%) and last but least the income of trainers and coaches has also become eligible for the 33% tax rate.