The Office of Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt on Friday described reporting by Het Laatste Nieuws on the State’s approach to tax payment problems as based on “one-sided, very limited and selective information”, and stressed that some 300,000 repayment plans are worked out annually for taxpayers. Het Laatste Nieuws consulted hundreds of files from the MyTrustO platform of bailiffs of persons who do not manage to pay their taxes on time. For a year or two now, the “deadline” has been strictly followed and payment plans exceeding 12 months are systematically rejected, the paper said.
In its reaction, the Office of the Finance Minister explained that “when a reimbursement plan is first accepted, it is in fact limited to twelve months” but “since the notice of assessment comes back each year, that often leads to a longer time for big debt problems.”
“When the tax department observes that a taxpayer faces multiple debts, it refers him to collective debt settlement, where creditors – including the tax office – forgive part of their debt,” added the Finance Ministry. “There are also, but for very limited reasons, repayment plans of over 12 months, but they are authorized through a different procedure involving the director of the (taxation) centre.”
“With the tax office we work extremely hard to ensure correct tax collection; we do it firmly but equitably,” the Ministry added. “There is always room for consultation with taxpayers who experience financial problems and are ready for an agreement. All services and staff of the Finance Department are committed to this daily.”