Expatica news

Taxes increased under current government

20 March 2007

BRUSSELS – The latest figures from Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistical bureau, show that Belgium’s tax revenue increased to 47.7 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) in 2005.

This puts Belgium in third place in the EU in terms of highest tax-to-GDP ratio. It is also interesting that fiscal pressure has not decreased since 1999, when the social democrat-liberal coalition first came into power. There has even been a net increase of 0.1 percent in the 1999-2005 period.

The most recent Eurostat figures seem to belie this coalition’s claim that it has lowered the fiscal pressure. The free electoral pamphlet on “8 years of Verhofstadt” even stresses that federal taxes have been lowered by a total of EUR 10.4 billion since 1999.

The figures from Eurostat paint a somewhat different picture. At least when it comes to the total fiscal revenues (taxes and social contributions) as a percentage of GDP. This came to 47.6 percent of GDP in 1999, went as low as 47.1 percent in 2003, was up to 47.4 percent in 2004, and then up to 47.7 percent in 2005 – an increase of 0.3 percent from the previous year.

For the whole stretch since the social democrat-liberal coalition came into power there has been a net increase of 0.1 percent. What is striking is that under the Catholic-Socialist coalition of Jean-Luc Dehaene in 1995 the tax revenues came to “only” 45.9 percent of GDP.

The 47.7 percent in 2005 gives Belgium one of the highest tax-to-GDP ratios in the EU. Only Sweden and Denmark had higher percentages, with 52.1 and 51.2 percent respectively. France came in 4th place with 45.8 percent. Germany (40.2 percent) was just under the EU average (40.8 percent). Even the euro-zone average – 41.2 percent – was significantly under the Belgian result.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news