Thursday, June 23, 2011

Belgian move towards tax transparency causing a ripple of panic

Belgium is preparing to share tax information on non-resident account holders with their countries of residence, doubtlessly raising the blood pressures of those infamous French and German dentists who allegedly motor across the border to deposit their tax evading Euros in Bruges, Brussels and Ghent. Up to a quarter of a million account holders are involved according to media reports.

Although a long-standing member of the European Union (and the preceding European Economic Community), Belgium aligned with Austria and Luxembourg in not signing up to automatic information exchange when this became the EU standard in 2005. This largely explains why we ranked Belgium ninth overall in the 2009 Financial Secrecy Index. Despite having a far smaller share of the market for offshore financial services than (say) Luxembourg, the opacity score we awarded Belgium reflected its lack of commitment to automatic information exchange. We confidently expect the Belgian opacity score will drop significantly as a result of this very positive step towards enhanced international cooperation.

And as for the fabled dentists, well perhaps they'll quit their tax evading habits, exchange the Mercs for a bicycle, and enjoy being good citizens without the fat cat trappings. We can live in hope.


Blogger Bob Irving said...

If I was a Belgian Tax legislator, I might check the nationality of my dentist..

7:58 am  

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