Friday, 13 February 2015
The Order of Flemish Bars filed a motion for a summary hearing against the Belgian state. Just like avocats.be, the Order of French- and German-speaking Bars, they claim they are being asked to breach client-solicitor confidentiality if they are made to give a list of clients paying VAT. Avocats.be had already announced they were bringing a legal action for summary proceedings against the Belgian state at the beginning of February, in order to spare their members the obligation to give such a list. The motion was filed at the French-speaking lower court in Brussels. The court hearing is scheduled for March 9th, with a ruling expected for March 23rd.
Flemish attorneys have decided to follow suit. “Publishing this information is a breach of confidentiality, because ethics dictate that an attorney should not reveal whom he works for,” points out the Flemish Order of Bars in a press release on Friday.
From this coming March 31st, Belgian attorneys will for the first time be asked to give authorities a list of their clients paying VAT, including their turnover and how much VAT they paid in the last year. This obligation results from article 53/5 of the VAT code and from a 2009 royal decree establishing the rules of application for this article.
Flemish-, French- and German-speaking bars chose summary proceedings after unsuccessfully asking Finance Minister Johan Overtveldt for a suspension of the measure while waiting for a ruling from the Constitutional Court in the case of their appeal against attorneys’ obligation to pay VAT, revealed the Flemish Order of Bars.