Government’s tax amnesty could raise €100 million


The government of Flanders is offering to waive penalties on the non-payment of inheritance and mortgage registration taxes

One shot only

The government of Flanders is offering a partial tax amnesty, which it hopes will bring in €100 million in unpaid taxes this year alone.

The federal government already allows anyone who has unpaid taxes from previous years to come forward and pay off their arrears in order to avoid prosecution. That system is permanently in place.

Flanders also collects some taxes, such as inheritance tax and registration taxes on mortgages. These will also now be subject to a similar scheme.

The tariffs vary: For inheritance tax, for example, direct heirs of the deceased pay up to 27% tax while others pay up to 65%. For registration tax the tariff is 20%.

Unusually, the government will also charge a tariff of 37% on both taxes that have passed the statute of limitations, despite the advice from tax experts that the government has no right to claim anything in such cases.

Only voluntary declarations are covered by the amnesty; in cases where the tax or legal authorities discover unpaid back-taxes, no amnesty will be allowed. In addition, offenders only have one chance to regularise. If they make a declaration, and it is later discovered there are other unpaid taxes, the immunity is used up.

“Previous fiscal reforms have demonstrated that the Flemish are prepared to pay their taxes if the tariffs are reasonable,” finance minister Bart Tommelein said, noting that the recent lowering of the tax paid on gifts of property was an example. “The lower tariffs led to a doubling of the number of gifts.”

Photo: Ingimage