Dramatic drop in the number of Walloons who receive the cheque-habitat
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    Dramatic drop in the number of Walloons who receive the cheque-habitat

    The number of people who received a tax rebate to help them buy their own home dropped dramatically between 2016 and 2017. It went from 48,893 tax-payers to 30,790 (a 37% drop), L’Echo reported on Saturday. At the same time, the average amount each person received as part of the housing-bonus increased by 70%, going from 714 euros to 1,215 euros. 

    This is all due to a change in system, as Belgium has moved away from housing-bonuses and now uses cheque-habitats. 

    The idea behind the cheque-habitat is to reserve tax-rebates for those that need it most: completely different to the housing-bonus. The cheque-habitat is for people who take out a mortgage to buy their own home. Every Walloon that fit the criteria above was eligible for the housing-bonus, no matter how much they earned. However, the amount awarded as part of a cheque-habitat is based on how much the person earns. Those that earn more than 81,000 euros net a year (professional revenue, furnishings, property) are excluded, explains L’Echo. 

    This new maximum limit is not the only thing that explains the drop in the number of people receiving a rebate. “Contrary to the housing-bonus, you will longer receive regional aid when you renew the original loan. This also applies if you renew it to finance building extensions or any other work on the original house. This fundamental difference can also help explain the drop in the number of rebates given and the difference in the amounts received”, says Walloon Budget minister Jean-Luc Crucke. 

    The figures provided by the Finance SPF are for loans received in 2015 (2016 tax returns with the old housing-bonus) and 2016 (2017 tax returns with the new cheque-habitat).

    Andy Sanchez 
    The Brussels Times