Belgium’s 1,000 most profitable companies paid an average tax of 12.6% in 2017, amounting to 5.8 billion euros out of gross profits of 45.9 billion euros, according to the analysis bureau of the Belgian Workers Party (PTB). The bureau’s calculations, based on National Bank of Belgium (BNB) figures, are contained in the latest edition of its Top 50 tax eases and Top 1000 profits listings.
Belgium’s 50 top tax-evasive companies paid an average of 2.6% to the fisk, way below the 33.99% they are required to pay according to the country’s tax legislation, the PTB highlighted. In quantitative terms, they paid 444 million euros in taxes for a total of 16.87 billion euros in profits.
The 50 include many Belgian fortunes, according to the study’s author, PTB federal legislator Marco Van Hees. “These rich families are not subjected to income tax,” he wrote. “They avoid the new tax on trading accounts because their wealth is not held in trading accounts, and they amass their fortunes in these holding companies that pay practically no taxes.”
The PTB singled out for mention the families Boel (via its Sofina holding company), Solvay and Janssen, the families at the head of AB InBev, KBC shareholders such as Vlerick, Bosteels and Bostoen, and the Frère, Delhaize, Lhoist-Berghmans, Huts and D’Ieteren families.
“If the Top 50 companies had paid the normal taxes, the State of Belgium would have seen 5.19 billion euros flow into its coffers, and this figure jumps to 9.8 billion euros when the profits of the 1,000 most profitable companies are taken into account,” Van Hees said.
All this is happening “while the Michel-De Wever Government repeats that people have to work longer for less pension, that the public services must be privatized, that teachers who go off on retirement must no longer be replaced (…) because there is no money,” Van Hees added.