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    Union lauds most of the Government’s socio-economic measures

    © Belga
    © Belga

    Most of the socio-economic reforms adopted by the Government “are positive for the self-employed and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),” the Syndicat Neutre pour Indépendants (SNI – Neutral Union for Independents) said on Wednesday in a press release. The SNI, which represents mostly self-employed persons and small businesses, welcomed in particular the reduction of corporate tax, the expansion of flexible jobs, and reforms to the trial-period regime.

    Under the agreement reached by the Government on Wednesday night, corporate taxes on SMEs will be reduced from 25% to 20% on the first 100,000-euro tranche of their earnings. “The current corporate tax is very high and holds back investment,” noted the SNI. “This will give a bit more oxygen to the SMEs in our country.  Offsetting this tax reduction with a minimal tax of 7.5% on multinationals is also “fair and equitable,” it added.

    The union further welcomed the move to stimulate share purchases. “It will no longer be necessary to pay a 30%-withholding tax on the first tranche of 627 euros in profits. The enormous contingent of savings accounts in our country should thus be used more often to buy shares and, in so doing, to invest in businesses.”

    Regarding flexible jobs (for which there is no difference between gross and net earnings) the union had been calling for a long time now for the expansion of the horeca sector (hotels, cafés and restaurants) to include small shops and stores. The Government’s decision to do so should enable retailers to find staff more easily, according to the union.

    The SNI also reacted enthusiastically to the reform of the trial period and welcomed the fact that the period of notice for new employees has been reduced from two weeks to one.

    The lowering of salary costs in construction is another strong signal, as is the reimbursement of a number of psychological consultations, according to the SNI. “Given the strong increase in the number of burnouts and depressions, it’s a good thing that therapies will be partially reimbursed from next year,” it said.

    On the other hand, the union pinpointed some negative aspects such as the tax on securities accounts of 500,000 euros or more. “It’s even less smart to reduce the savings-account exemption,” the SNI said. “As it stands, a savings-account holder who earns 1,880 euros in interest does not have to pay any withholding tax,” it said. “Soon, this exemption will only apply up to 940 euros in interest. In this way, persons who just have a small pension and savings accumulated during their careers will be sanctioned.”  

    Finally, the introduction of mystery calls “makes no sense” and will mainly cost businesses additional money and time, the SNI said.

    Maria Novak
    The Brussels Times