82 billion in 2016, 129 billion in 2017, 206 billion in 2018: according to figures, Belgian companies are making more and more payments to accounts in countries recognised as tax havens by Belgium.
Belgian law requires companies making payments of €10,000 and upwards into tax haven accounts to include them in their tax declarations, La Libre Belgique reported on Wednesday.
This transparency requirement is intended to enable the Belgian tax authorities to fight abusive optimisation arrangements and tax fraud more effectively.
“The obligation to declare has bearing on all kinds of payments: purchases of goods, rents, interest, charges, commission, loan repayments, (etc). It is therefore difficult to say with any certainty to what this sum of 206 billion euros corresponds,” Emmanuel Philippe, a lawyer at Bloom Law and professor at ULiège, commented.
“It is necessary to know that 80% of this flow (of funds) comes from the financial sector in a broad sense. Now, most of the money sent by Belgian banks to tax havens come back later. But as there is no obligation to declare the inflows, it is not known precisely what is going out of Belgium,” Yannic Hulot, General Councillor to the Special Tax Inspectorate, concluded.