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Collecting taxes is not cheap

Published on 14/08/2015

Taxation is of course a major source of income for the state.

However, collecting taxes also costs the Belgian Exchequer a pretty penny. Each year the Belgian Finance Ministry spends 0.304% of GDP on the collection of taxes. Only in Norway (0.423%) and the Netherlands (0.322%) is the percentage of GDP spent on tax collection higher than in Belgium.

The figures also reveal that the amount it costs to collect taxes is relatively high compared to the amount of revenue collected.

The cost of collecting taxation in Belgium is 1.17% of the revenue collected. Only Japan (1.74%), Poland (1.6%), Slovakia (1.43%), Germany (1.35) and the Czech Republic (1.31%) do worse. Sweden is top of the class with tax collection costing just 0.39% of revenue collected there. Norway is second (0.41%).

Complex laws and too many older civil servants

The cost of personnel is one of the most important reasons why it costs so much to collect our taxes. In 2013 there were 24,708 people working for the Finance Ministry.

Moreover, around half of those working for the Finance Ministry are over 50. Generally older civil servants have more years’ experience working in the job and are paid more than those with less experience.

The OECD recommends that the Finance Ministry invests more in IT. The OECD believes that fewer, but better equipped tax collectors, would do a better job. The complexity of Belgian fiscal law also serves to reduce efficiency at the Inland Revenue.


Flandersnews.be / Expatica