PM presents balanced budget in policy speech

11th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

11 October 2005, BRUSSELS — Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt presented the federal government's policy statement to Parliament on Tuesday.

11 October 2005

BRUSSELS — Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt presented the federal government's policy statement to Parliament on Tuesday.

Earlier, the Cabinet had officially approved the policy document and the 2006 Budget after the three regional governments agreed to contribute EUR 250 million to the federal treasury.

Budget Minister Johan vande Lanotte was thus able to draw up a balanced budget, the 6th in succession. An extra EUR 4.7 billion had to be found to balance the books.

In terms of income, there will be two new fiscal measures: an advance levy of 15 percent on the surplus values of bonds, which will yield the government EUR 235 million.

A tax of 1.1 percent will also be imposed on premiums paid on investments in insurance products. This will earn the government EUR 220 million.

Insurance firms will be liable for part of the costs, while the government will draw up a legal initiative aimed at preventing the sector from passing the costs onto consumers.

Similar to last year, the government aims to effectuate debts. But instead of income and company tax, the treasury aims to recoup VAT debts sold to financial firms. The scheme is designed to earn EUR 600 million.

A fiscal amnesty is designed to earn the State an additional EUR 400 million. The first two parts of the amnesty will allow companies or members of the public to lodge a request to regularise taxes they have not yet paid. They will not be fined.

For individuals, it will involve professional income and legal proceedings must not have been initiated.

A third part of the amnesty involves individuals who have 'forgotten' to pay taxes. They will also be allowed to regularise their taxes and will pay EUR 15 percent of the total sum.

That tariff will only apply for the first months of 2006. In the six months after that, they will pay an extra 5 percent and an extra 5 percent in the first six months of 2007. The operation will end mid-2007.

People who report the unpaid taxes cannot remain anonymous, but confidentiality is guaranteed. The amnesty does not apply to professional income, but is aimed at foreign and domestic investments.

The government will also accrue an extra EUR 130 million from the fight against fiscal fraud, while EUR 140 million will be earned by the sale of the Belgian embassy in Tokyo. The sale of buildings will yield a further EUR 500 million.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news 

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