Tax rebates delayed due to technical problems
17 November 2005
BRUSSELS — Internet tax returns have failed to accelerate the processing of annual assessments, meaning that taxpayers will need to wait at least an extra three months before they are paid their rebates.
The tax office has encountered a series of problems and has not processed one personal income tax return, despite the fact most Belgian residents had to submit their tax returns for 2004 by 31 August 2005.
Due to the fact most people will receive money, the delay is to the government’s advantage, with almost EUR 4.2 billion temporarily remaining interest-free in the hands of the treasury. The government will receive EUR 1.45 billion in additional payments.
One tax official told newspaper ‘Het Nieuwsblad’ that 2005 was a “disaster year”, pointing out that in years past, the treasury had finalised returns in September.
State Secretary for the Modernisation of Finance, Hervé Jamar, admitted on Tuesday to Christian Democrat CD&V MP Carl Devlies that there had been problems.
He said further that the treasury hopes to start finalising tax returns by the end of the year. However that date could also be January, meaning that taxpayers will not receive their rebates until February, newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported.
A host of technical issues are causing headaches with the government’s Tax-on-web internet tax return programme have been reported. In particular, the programme which calculates how much people will need to pay or receive does not yet work properly.
The government previously promised to recruit 110 computer technicians to resolve the problems, but the recruiting process has not been completed. Moreover, those recruits will need to be trained.
However, computer problems are not the only cause. Changes to the separation of incomes for married couples have also caused problems.
In particular, a letter explaining the changes that affect more than a million taxpayers has not yet been distributed among tax officials.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news