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Belgium to lift secrecy on 250,000 foreign bank accounts

Belgium’s tax authorities are set to lift the veil of secrecy on some 250,000 savings accounts held by foreigners, around 100,000 of them French, the finance ministry said Wednesday.

“The plan is to transmit this banking information between now and July 1 to fiscal authorities in the countries of origin,” a ministry official told AFP.

The quarter-million non-resident Europeans targeted by the move come from 26 nations but the largest proportion hail from across the border in France, where taxation is generally higher, and unlike Belgium includes a wealth tax and a tax on stocks held by private shareholders.

Foreign residents are not specifically targeted, however, the ministry said.

The second biggest group of foreigners to hold savings accounts in Belgium are 50,000 Dutch, followed by 22,500 Germans, 15,000 Britons and 15,000 Spaniards.

The plan follows last year’s adoption in Belgium of a European directive on taxation of savings.