The directive saw countries like Switzerland and other EU countries ramp up the exchange of their residents’ and account holders’ information.
The data exchange allows federal tax authorities to detect discrepancies between what residents declare in Belgium and what they own abroad, which can lead to the opening of an investigation.
Following the EU directive’s entry into force, the number of Belgian residents who declared owning assets abroad skyrocketed, nearly doubling in the space of a single year.
In 2018, 173,048 taxpayers in Belgium declared owning assets abroad, a figure which rose to 321,175 in 2019, according to the figures obtained by De Tijd. By contrast, the declared earnings in foreign accounts rose only from €174 billion in 2018 to €186 billion in 2019.
In 2020, Belgian tax authorities said they plan to carry out 11,350 checks on foreign assets owned by taxpayers in Belgium.