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Belgium Answers FAQs On Tax Amnesty Scheme

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

15 November 2013

The Belgian Finance Ministry has published a list of succinct responses to frequently asked questions on the Government's tax regularization scheme, provided for within the framework of the Law of July 11, 2013.

In its communiqué, the Finance Ministry provides clarification on a range of technical issues, as well as more practical information concerning which boxes to complete and the specific supporting documentation to enclose with the regularization declaration.

Furthermore, the Finance Ministry makes clear that Belgium's Regularization Contact Point (PCR), competent for the voluntary disclosure procedures on structured off-shore accounts and non-compliance, is not tasked with determining whether or not the individual's qualification of the infraction as either a simple or serious tax offence is valid, based on the information provided. Similarly, the PCR has no criminal jurisdiction, the Ministry states.

Highlighting the fact that all founders or beneficiaries of transparent foreign wealth structures covered by the law have until December 31 to regularize their situation, the Ministry notes that in principle, taxpayers must provide two certificates from the bank. Individuals require confirmation of ownership and evidence that they are the effective economic beneficiaries of the assets held in one or several foreign transparent structures, together with a statement of fiscal transparency. A statement supplied by an intermediary or agent will not be accepted.

Finally, the Ministry emphasizes that it is up to the individual concerned and their responsibility to decide whether or not it is necessary to regularize assets held at home, for example gold, cash, works of art, or jewellery.

Belgium's new, temporary tax regularization regime entered into force on July 15, 2013, and ends on December 31, 2013. The provisions replaced regulations dating from 2004.

The new regime enables Belgian taxpayers to regularize hitherto untaxed capital and income "concealed" either abroad or in Belgium, without criminal prosecution. Similarly, cases of serious and organized tax fraud may also be regulated under the scheme, which is available to both individuals and corporations, as well as to common law companies and foundations.

Under the new provisions, tax offences will be sanctioned depending on whether the capital is prescribed or non-prescribed. In tax fraud cases where the prescription or statute of limitations period has not expired, a fine of 15 percent will be imposed for minor tax offences, rising to 20 percent for more major tax offences. In cases where the prescription period has elapsed, a fine of 35 percent will be levied. For evaded social contributions, a fine of 15 percent applies.

TAGS: individuals | compliance | Finance | tax | tax compliance | Belgium | tax avoidance | mining | law | corporation tax | tax credits | tax rates | regulation | individual income tax

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