More than two years after the passage of legislation requiring restaurants, bars and hotels selling more than 25,000 euros in meals per year to install certified cash registers, many have not complied with the measure, the Belgian Restaurants Association (BRA) said on Wednesday. As a result, 62% of the compliant establishments feel they face unfair competition, according to the BRA, which represents about 500 restaurants. “The Government’s laxism only serves to encourage those that are cheating”, it said.
While most BRA members are compliant, the association said, that is not the case in general. Data from the sector shows that, out of 4,500 establishments monitored, 70% were non-compliant, the BRA explained, quoting Finance Department figures.
As a result, while they enjoy benefits such as “greater peace of mind” and “ better oversight of their results”, compliant restaurant owners complain of unfair competition.
“In Sweden, the introduction of certified cash registers with a fiscal module had a healthy effect on the sector, with increased turnover and jobs, but that can only work when everyone applies it”, argued BRA Secretary-General Miguel Van Kiersbilck.
This, in fact, is the crux of the matter. For the BRA, the reason many are not implementing the system is that contrary, and even incorrect, information is being spread by the sector’s federations, mainly in Wallonia and Brussels. “Even if their petition to the Council of State is upheld, that will not call the blackbox obligation into question”, the association argues.
The association also blames the social secretariats and the Government, accusing both of poor communication. The secretariats have not been explaining correctly the compensatory measures that exist, the BRA says, while the Government lacks the courage to enforce the measure.
“You must be coherent and stop accepting the deductions withheld on a VAT ticket that was not issued by a certified cash register”, Van Kiersbilck said.