Belgacom slated for rates arrears

5th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

5 March 2004, BRUSSELS - Belgium's state-backed telephone operator, which this week announced plans for a multi-million euro share offer, is seriously behind on rates payments for its Brussels headquarters, Belgium's La Derniere Heure reported on Friday.

5 March 2004

BRUSSELS - Belgium's state-backed telephone operator, which this week announced plans for a multi-million euro share offer, is seriously behind on rates payments for its Brussels headquarters, Belgium's La Derniere Heure reported on Friday.

According to Bernard Clerfayt, the mayor of the Brussels commune of Schaerbeek, where the Belgacom HQ is located, the telephone giant owes a staggering EUR 7.4 million in unpaid rates and other local taxes.

Belgacom disputes the bill, saying it has the right to be exempted from the charges because it is a company that provides a public service.

But Clerfayt insists that as the firm is now half owned by the private sector it should pay the same rates and local taxes as any other company. 
 
It looks as though the mayor will have a long fight ahead if he wants to get his commune's money back, however.

Belgacom was in fighting form over the issue this week and certainly did not seem to be preparing to get out its corporate chequebook any time soon.

"Belgacom will never accept the retroactive effects of a piece of taxation legislation," La Derniere Heure reported company spokesman Piet Van Speybroek as saying.

"The exemption is linked to the fact that we provide a service to the public, for which we bear the cost without any subsidy," he added.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Belgian news

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