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Foreign tax dodge law is here

Published on 15/01/2004

15 January 2004

BRUSSELS – A new law designed to crack down on people who ferret their money away in foreign bank accounts in order to avoid paying tax on it will enter into force on Friday.

Under the new legislation taxpayers registered in Belgium – and that includes expats who pay their taxes in the country – will have a year to declare any money or investments they have in foreign countries.

To do this they will have to fill in a form called a ‘Declaration Liberatoire Unique’ (DLU), which will grant them immunity from prosecution and from fines the tax or social security services could normally impose on them for not declaring earnings.

But this amnesty is being accompanied by a stern warning from the Belgian authorities that they will come down very hard indeed on anyone who doesn’t fill in a DLU and is subsequently found to have a foreign stash of money.

Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reyners this week warned of heavy new fines for tax fraud after the one-year grace period ends.

The law is designed to ‘repatriate’ the untold millions of euros that are spirited out of Belgium each year and either deposited in overseas bank accounts or clandestinely invested in things like property, stocks and bonds.

It is thought that much of this emigrating money ends up in banks in neighbouring Luxembourg, a country with some of the European Union’s most secretive banking laws.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Belgian news