In the past year, the tax authorities examined a record number of taxpayers’ bank accounts. The intention is to find out if people with tax debts are still hiding an account somewhere and then to confiscate it, writes De Tijd Friday.
As early as 2014, a register with all Belgian bank account numbers of individuals, companies and other legal entities was opened at the Belgian National Bank. The tax authorities can use this database, the single point of contact, to investigate tax fraud and collect taxes. In the first year, the tax authorities did this only 2,722 times, 9,946 times in 2015 and 41,280 times last year. This happened 26,219 times in the first half of this year.
Especially “Collection in Recovery”, not a scam
However, this has nothing to do with combating (serious) tax fraud. The Special Tax Inspectorate, which deals with the major fraud, crashed bank accounts 927 times in the past year. That is less than in previous years: 1,016 times in 2018 and even 1,828 times in 2017. The regular tax auditors of the tax administration “only” did this 2,187 times in the past year, compared to 2,139 times in the previous year.
It is mainly Collection and Collection Management that searched the register of bank account numbers 38,161 times in the past year. That was less than half as much in 2016: only 15,360 times. This administration is empowered to quickly collect taxes and take action against tax losses with tax debts. It sent an additional 51,338 inquiries to financial institutions last year.