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Belgium Eyes Tax Amnesty

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

09 November 2012

The Belgium government is reportedly considering the idea of introducing a new – and final – tax amnesty as part of efforts to balance the country’s 2013 budget.

The idea is currently envisaged within the framework of ongoing and protracted budgetary discussions to find around EUR4.5bn (USD5.76bn) in additional fiscal revenues for next year. A tax amnesty could serve to generate a much-needed EUR500m for the state.

The government may rule out the possibility of launching any criminal proceedings against repentant individuals. It may also increase the tax rate from the 9% imposed on the value of undeclared assets back in 2004.

The measure reportedly has the backing of Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders. Yet opinion is divided. Certain parties favour this option instead of plans to increase the tax burden on either workers or on pensioners in Belgium.

Opponents insist that banking secrecy must be lifted on those who endeavour to conceal their hidden wealth from the state, however.

The Belgian parliament adopted a law at the end of 2003, allowing Belgian taxpayers to regularize any undeclared and untaxed assets held before June 1, 2003. At the time, taxpayers were able to submit a tax return anonymously and were then liable to pay a tax of either 6% or 9% on their undeclared savings.

Although a one-off tax of 9% was due when the tax return was filed, taxpayers were given the option of paying a 6% tax by investing their assets openly, for example in real property or corporate shares.

Budgetary deliberations are expected to conclude shortly.

TAGS: individuals | compliance | tax | tax compliance | Belgium | tax avoidance | law | banking | budget | banking secrecy

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