One-time exoneration declaration (DLU) should bring in over €800 million
According to the latest figures from SPF Finances, between 1 January and 31 July, the administration dealt with 1,260 cases of “repentant cheaters” keen to regularize their tax situation.
These requests involved €284 million, on which the taxpayers in question have paid €84 million in fines.
But the total sums brought in this year should end up being much greater.
As Flemish daily De Morgen revealed, between the start of January and the end of July, Belgian tax authorities received 16,234 regularization requests with a total value of €2.9 billion! June (4,051 cases; €553 million) and July (9,232 cases; €1.8 billion) in particular saw an extraordinary level of activity, according to authorities. During the first two weeks of July, more regularization requests were received than in the previous six years. Reformed tax cheats hurried to get their requests in before mid-July, when the third and much stricter version of the amnesty came into effect. This influx of funds has not yet been taken into account, because cases can obviously take months to process.
However, it is already quite clear how much this flood of capital will bring into the state coffers. The rate at which taxpayers have been fined over the last few years sits at around 29 %. From €2.9 billion, that corresponds to €840 million approximately. It is a considerable amount, which even surpasses the sum collected in fines by the treasury since 2006, which currently stands at just over €624 million.
This is therefore good news for the public purse. However, it is not known when the money will be officially added to the balance sheet, because the tax agents still need to handle this huge number of incoming cases. One can grasp an idea of the time lag by noting that last year, authorities received 2,351 cases with a value of €538 million. But during this period they were only able to sort out 1,299 cases (representing €284 million of regularized funds), which brought in €83 million in fines.
"We're only now getting feedback on requests sent in back in December 2012," points out Sabrina Scarna, a tax attorney with TetraLaw. "We've already added more staff to the Ruling Commission [Editor's note: the service that processes the files]," says SPF Finances spokeswoman Florence Angelici, who notes that in six months, the department has already dealt with as many cases (1,260) than it did for all of last year. All of the files sent in will not be able to be processed this year, but the government objective - earning €490 million from regularized capital in 2013 - looks likely to be met, if not surpassed.