650 Belgians face tax probe over Luxembourg accounts
14 September 2005
BRUSSELS – Around 650 Belgian residents with bank accounts in Luxembourg are under investigation for tax evasion, it was revealed on Wednesday.
Finance Minister Didier Reynders told the daily newspaper La Libre Belgique that the customers had been tracked down through phonecalls they had made to one particular bank.
A court order required the phone company Belgacom to provide a list of households who had contacted a freephone number run by the bank between 2001 and 2003.
That allowed the authorities to find customers who are believed to have stashed away money in Luxembourg, thereby withholding tax on it from the Belgian tax man.
The name of the bank has not been revealed.
The investigation into the tax evasion is the first to be announced since the government closed its so-called ‘foreign tax dodge’ amnesty. Last year, the government gave Belgian residents 12 months to return money kept abroad in return for payment of a minimal fine.
The amnesty saw almost EUR 500 million (precise figure EUR 496,240,916) returned to Belgium from overseas bank accounts.
At the time, Reynders warned that those who didn’t make a One Time Voluntary Declaration during the amnesty would face serious consequences if they were later found to have undeclared assets.
On Wednesday, he reiterated that warning. “Those who didn’t take advantage of the offer of regularisation which was made to them will be investigated,” he said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news