On 23 March 2017, the council of ministers approved a bill on additional measures against tax fraud. The bill contains mainly measures designed to ensure that Belgium meets the international standards as set by the World Forum for the exchange of information on request.
The bill contains more specific the following measures:
- The enlargement of the scope of information the Belgian tax administration can request from the Central Point of Contact (CPC), which is a register of the bank account numbers and all types of contracts held at financial institutions in Belgium by both resident and non-resident individuals or legal entities. Henceforth, also the identity of the holder of an unidentified account number can be made available;
- A reformulation of the notification requirement within a period of 90 days in case of a request for information by a foreign tax administration. A notification is not required if the foreign tax administration has already notified “the taxpayer under investigation” or if there are substantial indications of fraud in respect of the taxpayer under investigation;
- The extension of the regular three year audit term with an additional four years in case of an information request by a foreign tax administration of a country with which Belgian has an exchange of information agreement in place, and this solely for compliance purposes;
- A denial of access to the administrative file in (open government) if it concerns a request for information by a foreign tax administration. The information may not be revealed as long as the investigation is ongoing, unless access is granted by the foreign tax administration or the person under investigation explicitly requests access;
- A revision of the provision on conservatory seizure for VAT purposes. Goods can be seized as soon as there are indications of fraud, whether or not the identity of the holders, the origin of the goods, the quantity or value can be determined; and
- A tax increase upon a late filing of an income tax return.