Belgian working remotely for a German company in Portugal/Spain

Hi All,

  • I’m a webdeveloper, currently working and living in Berlin for a german company as a full time employee
  • the german company has no subsidiaries anywhere else in the world
  • german company is letting me go full remote next year (still employed as FTE)
  • so german company will keep on paying me in Portugal as a regular employee (they also would want to hire me as a freelancer , if that would be more beneficial for me)
  • my girlfriend and I still own a house in Belgium
  • we are planning to move to Portugal, and keep the (Belgian) house (empty) for now (so we still have “a legal residency” in Belgium - we’ll be coming back every now and then, but most of the time will be spent in either Spain or Portugal)

I read somewhere that since 2015 the Beckham Law in Spain no longer demands you to work for a spanish company.
Not sure how the NHR in Portugal works with foreign salaries.
I’ve been googling for 2 days straight and read a lot of similar stories, but either:

  • there is no final result (people don’t come back to report when they figured everything out)
  • the case presented is different from my case, so most of it is not applicable

Hello Bart,

I don’t think that you qualify for the Beckham Law as your employer will not be a Spanish company or entity (please confirm).

Keeping a home in Belgium hurts you regardless of what you decide to do. Having Spain or Portugal as your registered home or tax base also brings no joy. You have an EU passport and will not loose it by moving roots. Consider selling the home in Belgium and cutting all ties with Belgium, Portugal and Spain. Open a company in Tbilisi Georgia and have your German employer contract with you via your new company.

Georgia is a territorial country, so will not tax earning from outside. Your passport gives you 12 months to live and work there without a visa. Starting a company there helps get you residency and can lead to getting their passport.

You don’t have to live in Georgia. Remember that as a nomad, you are free to go where pleases your heart and wallet. Have a look at Serbia (Belgrade for full effects and Novi Sad for a chilled lifestyle), Malaysia, Montenegro, Chiang Mai, Ho Chin Ming and Armenia. For less than 900 euros a month, you can live very comfortably with some accommodation having a pool, gym, internet and cleaning service included in your rent. From January 2020, Serbia will be giving visas to digital nomads to come, live and work tax free. A studio in the city center of Novi Sad can be as low as 130 euros per month. Any home you buy in Serbia gets you residence permit. Your annual tax will buy a flat in the city of Belgrade. For 6,000 euros you can get a house on an acre of land about a hour from Novi Sad. Primary school is free and compulsory, Secondary school is free but not mandatory in Serbia.

Regardless of what you choose, your tax burden in Belgium, Portugal and Spain would be the same or more than the cost of living in these other locations. Your entire earnings and assets are now free and available to you to invest in low/no tax passive investments. You can still visit Belgium, Spain and Portugal anytime you want (but have to keep it under 183 days a year). Get an international health insurance cover and travel insurance.

I will be the first to admit that cutting ties with a country you know and love will be hard. Also, some/all of theses locations are not to everyone’s liking. What I am saying is that you consider these types of options that give you the chance to keep more of what you earn, save more, invest more, spend less but live a full fulfilled life with less burden.


Thanks for the elaborate response.

This is obviously not my first day of research, so I have gathered quite a bit of info , but nothing final/conclusive yet.
What I DO know is that people in a similar situation to mine have actually been able to get very beneficial taxrates in both Spain and Portugal - much more beneficial than Belgium (or Germany).

I also understood that I will be taxes in the country where I will have my main taxable residency (generally the country where I spend >183 days per year). Unsure how my property in Belgium would change anything there.

So - one can start a company in Georgia and not actually live there ? Pretty similar to the e-citizenship of Estonia than, I guess.

I know that Portugal has some nice benefits for foreigners moving there. I think google can help.

I moved to Thailand. I have a UK limited that pays me salary. Income in Thailand from foreign sources is not taxed if you do not bring it into the country in the same year you earned it.

In my situation it was very important to cut all ties with my home country. To prevent that the tax authority in my home country still sees me as a resident for paying tax. Still owning a house in your home country will not help.

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Hey where can I read more about that new law? Looks really interesting.

As the articles say the tax free period is for stays up to 90 days. So not much change as I wouldn’t think many nomads staying less than 90 days were paying tax to Serbia.

Anyone with a passports from Europe, Canada or America etc, would not require a visa to Serbia for less than 90 days. So if you hear that Spain for example is waving visa costs for under 30 days stay, its not for people with your passport.

This community is made up of people from so many countries that don’t have the privileges your passport gives you. It takes some of us months of planning, embassy visits, paper work, submitting bank statements from as little as 6 months to as much as 5 years to get a single visa. In some cases, I need to get a visa to go to another country that is the nearest country with the closest embassy I can submit my application and show that I have enough money to cover my next 12 months and prove that I will leave in some cases. On getting to these locations, we are charged 3-5 times more for some services that the locals enjoy normally.

Everyone’s choices are determined by the passport(s) they have, resources available to them and most importantly their heart’s desire. So please, when you see or hear of a visa or program that is not relevant or of interest to you, remember that not everyone has the same passport as you and respect the fact that the information, while useless to you, is useful/helpful to someone else.

I was referring to the tax matter, I understand the visa might be useful (although this thread is about a Belgium). The article doesn’t really say much about the visa except that it will be easier to apply and liberal policies.