Approval confers advantages on approved cooperative societies, arising from various tax and social legislation.
Exemption of part of the dividends paid to associates
Every company is, in principle, liable for tax on the total amount of its profits, including on the dividends distributed (Article 185, § 1, ITC 1992).
Since the entry into force of the Programme Law of 25 December 2017, which has amended Article 185 of the Income Tax Code 1992, cooperative societies have benefited from an exception to this rule whereby the dividends distributed have formed part of the taxable base of the distributing society.
The exception applies specifically to the part of the dividends paid to individual associates of cooperative societies approved for the National Council for Cooperation that does not exceed the (indexed) amount per individual of EUR 190 (tax year 2019) or EUR 200 (tax year 2020).
No reclassification of interest as dividends
Interest on advances loaned by associates of a society to that society is normally reclassified as dividends if the interest rate is higher than the market rate or if the amount of the advances exceeds the paid-up capital.
By way of exception, claims on approved cooperative societies are not reclassified as dividends by the Income Tax Code (Art. 18, 4°, of the Income Tax Code).
Extended application of the reduced rate to corporate tax
There is a reduced rate applicable to corporate tax for companies whose taxable income does not exceed 322,500 euros.
Under several assumptions, companies are excluded from the benefit of this reduced corporate tax rate.
Cooperative societies approved for the National Council for Cooperation benefit in all cases from the reduced rate even if they fall within the scope of one of the exclusions provided for (Art. 215, paragraph 2, 1°, 2° and 4° of the Income Tax Code).
Workers' social security for directors
Persons who, in their capacity as agents and for remuneration other than housing and food, devote their main activity to the management or day-to-day running of approved cooperative societies, may benefit from workers' social security.
The application of the law on social security for workers is in fact extended to persons who, in their capacity as agents and for remuneration other than housing and food, devote their main activity to the day-to-day management or running of associations and organisations which are not involved in industrial or commercial operations and which do not seek to provide their associates with material gain, as well as to such associations and organisations.
Approved cooperative societies are specifically covered by this provision (Article 3, 1°, of the royal decree of 28 November 1969 in implementation of the Act of 27 June 1969 revising the legislative decree of 28 December 1944 concerning social security for workers).
Participation in the formation of the National Council for Cooperation
Approved cooperative societies may participate in the formation of the National Council for Cooperation (CNC in French).
Indeed, the general assembly, the bureau and the commissions of the CNC are made up of representatives of approved cooperative societies (not affiliated to a grouping) as well as representatives of groupings of approved cooperative societies.
Each representative has one vote both at the General Assembly and in the Bureau.
Logo for approved cooperative societies
Approved cooperative societies may use this logo for their publications.