The tax authorities have so far this year received applications for the regularisation of €130 million in money on which tax has never been paid.
In 2016 the government announced a fourth round of regularisations, in which those who possess money that has never been taxed – much of it held in offshore accounts – can declare the money in order to be able to bring it back into the country and into use.
In the whole of 2019, €400 million was declared, but the two years cannot be compared. In 2019, the major share of the total was declared in December by those wishing to avoid a tariff rise due to take place in January 2020.
The tariff is the penalty paid by anyone declaring unpaid taxes. In the case of funds that are no longer subject to Belgian income tax, because of the time elapsed since they were received, regularisation involves paying a fine of 40% of the value of the capital concerned – up from 39% last year.
For funds that were received within the statue of limitations for tax fraud, the person declaring must pay the full amount of the tax due, as well as a penalty of 25% of that sum.
This year’s total so far relates to 189 cases, most of which (132) concern money that was subject to federal taxes, such as investment income. Those cases are worth €114 million.
The other dossiers concern regional taxation matters, such as inheritance tax.
The latest round of regularisations, the fourth beginning in 2016, has so far taken in €1.6 billion in declared black money, bringing €549 million for the treasury – €70 million of it this year.
Previous rounds in 2004, 2006 and 2013 brought in a total of €13.6 billion, with €3 billion for the public purse.
Last month, a senior official with the finance ministry said there are billions of euros lying untouched in Belgian bank accounts on which tax was never paid. The deposits date from a time when it was still relatively easy to bring money into the country from tax havens abroad undetected – something which is now virtually impossible.
But the money brought in at that time can still not be used without being declared. As the tariff paid on regularisation has a tendency to increase as time goes by, those owners have an interest in declaring their illicit holdings sooner rather than later.